Tonight’s Supper:The ultimate pizza recipe

PUBLISHED: 11:09 17 June 2020 | UPDATED: 11:37 17 June 2020

Classic pizza margherita

Classic pizza margherita

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The ultimate pizza recipe and the perfect sauce for a Margherita

Classic pizza doughClassic pizza dough

Sourdough, spelt, natural yeast, put in the fridge, put somewhere cool, put somewhere warm, put somewhere dark, wait for days, slowly add this, add that, now why would I want to go through all that hassle when I can make a simple, all-versatile bread. If you only make one bread recipe in your life: Choose Pizza!

The queen of all pizzas has to be the Margherita, so named after Princess Margherita of Savoy and encapsulating the colours of Italia: the green of the basil, the white of the mozzarella and the red of the tomato sauce.

I have a simple rule of thumb when eating pizza anywhere, if they can’t make a good Margherita, then they’ve no right making any pizza at all.

You don’t have to have a Margherita of course, the toppings for pizza are as wide and deep as an individual’s imagination: onions, peppers, mushrooms, olives, sweetcorn, capers, chillies, ham, salami, pepperoni, spicy beef, chicken and even - arrrggghhh - the dreaded pineapple, (a favourite in our house, though not with me).

You could even make a sweet pizza for dessert with some Nutella and pistachios for instance and serve a slice with a scoop of gelati on the side. How much more Italian is that.

Pizza dough is also great for dough balls, (watch the kids devour those with a side order of garlic butter). Grissini, those classic Italian bread sticks, pimp these with some sesame seeds or poppy seeds. Pizza dough is also great for making rosemary bread. Roll out some pizza dough and merely top with some fresh rosemary and olive oil.

Classic tomato sauceClassic tomato sauce

PIZZA DOUGH INGREDIENTS

1 Tablespoon of Olive Oil

500g Bread Flour

325ml Warm Water

10g Cornish Sea Salt

Doughballs for dippingDoughballs for dipping

5g Dried Yeast (the better the yeast the better the bread)

Dried Polenta/Semolina

METHOD OF COOKING

This should make enough dough for 8 small, individual pizzas or 6 large pizzas. Add the flour, olive oil, warm water, Cornish sea salt and dried yeast in a large mixing bowl together. Place in a mixer with a dough hook for around 4-5 minutes until all the ingredients come together and the dough is smooth.

If kneading by hand you should expect to double the kneading time. Simply mix the ingredients together by hand in a bowl until they come together then tip onto a smooth, floured surface and knead for around 10 minutes until the dough is smooth and elastic.

Classic pizza margheritaClassic pizza margherita

Next, place the dough into a clean, well oiled bowl, which has enough capacity for the dough to double in size. Cover the bowl with oiled cling film and leave to rise for at least 2 hours. It can be left overnight for use the following day.

When ready for use tip the dough out of the bowl onto a lightly floured smooth surface sprinkled with polenta or semolina. Use a dough knife to cut in half, then quarters and then eighths. Take one portion of dough and put in the palm of one hand and with your other hand pinch the dough to create a perfect sphere.

Place back down on the surface, pinch side down and begin to flatten (the less you use a rolling pin the better the pizza). Pull the pizza into a circular shape around 3mm thick. If you end up with a hole in the dough simply pinch it back together. When you achieve the desired shape and thickness place on a pre-heated tray and begin to add your tomato sauce (see below) and toppings.

Don’t over sauce your pizza, about a tablespoon should be suffice. Use about a third of a mozzarella ball on each pizza, tear it into smaller pieces instead of slicing it to give a better overall coverage.

Place the pizza in a pre-heated oven at the hottest temperature possible for around 10 -12 minutes, or to required standard. If you have a pizza stone use it and if you have some fancy pants, wood fired oven then saluti! to you.

Once the pizza is cooked to your particular taste, sprinkle with fresh basil leaves and serve immediately.

THE SAUCE

INGREDIENTS

1 Tablespoon of Olive oil

2 Teaspoons of Concentrated Tomato Puree

1 Pinch of Pimenton

1 Carton/Jar of Tomato Passata

1 Teaspoon of Sugar

Fresh Basil

Cornish Sea Salt

Pepper

METHOD OF COOKING

Pour the olive oil into a pan and heat gently before adding the tomato puree and the pinch of pimenton (Spanish smoked paprika) to the pan and fry very briefly. Don’t use a lot of paprika you just want the merest smoky, sweet hint.

Then add the passata, the teaspoon of sugar and the finely chopped, fresh basil. Cover and leave on a low heat until all the flavours have infused and the passata has become thick and unctuous. The add salt and pepper to taste.

The great thing about this sauce is, that it can be made at any time and left in a bowl to cool, or placed in the fridge overnight.

Any leftover sauce will never go to waste, just add it to some pasta, with some more fresh basil and a grating of parmesan and you’ve got a classic pasta al pomodoro for an instant lunch or supper dish. Buon Appetito!

Ewen MacDonald is a regular contributor to Cornwall Life Magazine

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