If there was one thing I could eat almost every day and not get tired of, it would probably be pizza. A thin, crisp base topped with almost anything you can imagine, what could be better than that? It helps too, that it is so easy to make from scratch. If you’ve never cooked with yeast before, this is a great way to start. They are a far cry from the oily, sloppy and seriously unhealthy chain fast food alternatives. At home we make pizzas at least once a month, quite often more. I’ve even taught the boyfriend how to make this recipe, and he does a spectacular job!
I’ve wanted to share my favourite pizza base recipe here for so long, but somehow I never managed to snap a photo of the finished product before we dug in and demolished it. The recipe comes from John Lanzafame’s ‘Pizza Modo Mio’, which I’ve been using for nearly three years. It’s one of the easiest yeasted doughs in the world to work with and can be kneaded by hand or in a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook. The hardest part is waiting patiently for it to rise! Hopefully in the next couple of weeks I can put together a step-by-step video of how to make this awesome pizza dough.
As for toppings, you can put almost any combination of meat, vegetables and cheese that you fancy, but here are some of my favourites:
• Eggplant Margherita: grilled eggplant, tomato, mozzarella and basil on a homemade tomato sauce base.
• Duck Pizza: inspired by the Australian Heritage Hotel, we’ve tried recreating this at home with great success. BBQ duck (bought pre-made), bok choy and sesame seeds on a plum sauce base.
The recipe I’m sharing today is another of my all-time favourites, and is very popular with everyone who’s tried it. Thin slices of potato are par-cooked and then layered onto the base, scattered with fresh rosemary and cheese, then sprinkled liberally with salt and cracked black pepper. It’s a carbohydrate overload, and it’s seriously delicious. It also works really well with thyme if you don’t have rosemary available and is lovely with a rocket and Parmesan side salad for a delicious dinner. And like all good pizzas, the leftovers taste awesome the next day.
So tell me, what is your favourite pizza topping?
Plain Pizza Dough
Recipe from ‘Pizza Modo Mio’ by John Lanzafame
Makes 1 30cm pizza (multiply recipe as desired)
• 1 teaspoon dried yeast
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 100ml warm water
• 2 teaspoons olive oil, plus extra for greasing
• 160g plain flour, sifted
Put the yeast, salt and warm water in a bowl and whisk until just combined. Gradually whisk in the olive oil and leave in a warm place for 10 minutes or until the mixture starts to bubble. Add the flour and knead for 10-15 minutes or until the dough is smooth and elastic.
Rub the inside of a large bowl with olive oil. Roll the dough around in the bowl to coat it with olive oil, then place in the bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and leave in a draught-free spot for 1 – 1 ½ hours or until doubled in size.
Punch the dough down to expel trapped air. At this stage the dough can be covered in plastic wrap and refrigerated overnight or frozen, bring back to room temperature before continuing. Place the dough on a baking tray lined with baking paper. Cover and leave in a draught-free spot for 15 minutes or until risen by half again. The dough is now ready to use.
Potato and Rosemary Pizza
Makes 1 pizza
• 1 quantity pizza dough (recipe above)
• 2 medium potatoes, thinly sliced
• 2 sprigs rosemary, leaves removed
• Mozzarella cheese, torn
• Salt & cracked black pepper
Preheat the oven to 220°C (430°F) and place pizza stone inside to heat.
Roll out pizza dough on a sheet of baking paper into a 30cm circle. I like to roll mine out to about 5-8mm thick. Place sliced potatoes on a plate. Cover with another inverted plate and place in the microwave for 5-6 minutes or until potatoes are tender.
Sprinkle base with mozzarella cheese. Arrange potato slices evenly on pizza base. Sprinkle with rosemary and top with the remaining mozzarella cheese. Sprinkle with salt and cracked black pepper. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until cheese is melted and base is golden brown. Serve hot, cut into slices.