- For the dough:
- 250 g strong flour or Italian "00" flour
- 125 ml lukewarm water
- 20 g fresh yeast or a sacket of dry yeast
- 1 tsp salt
- olive oil
- 1 tsp caster sugar
- For the topping:
- 1 ball of fresh mozzarella
- a few leaves of basil or 1/2 tbsp of oregano
- tomato sauce
- cherry tomatoes
Why not spoil your Valentine with a homemade pizza this year. He/She will love you for it!
I must admit, it has taken me years in order to learn how to make a decent pizza.
At the beginning (and for a long time!) I was just making pizza which were as hard as rock: a real hazard to your teeth and with very little flavour.
It was only when I met a wise and experienced old lady from Naples that I really picked up a few tricks. The Neapolitans are the kings of pizza.
This was what she advised:
- Let the dough raise twice and give it plenty of time to rest: the longer the better.
- It needs to rest covered up with a tea towel in a warm place; some Italians use a woolly blanket like it was a baby!
- Work the dough energetically with your hands for at least 10-15 minutes (pretend you are washing clothes!)
- the dough has to be “wet looking” in other words it should never be too dry (that’s why I used to get very hard pizza).
- Put a small quantity of olive oil in your hands and shape the pizza. Put more olive oil in your hands if needed (since the dough is prone to stick on your hands)
- The oven has to be really hot when you put your pizza in.
After following this advice I began to get really nice soft and crispy dough with plenty of flavour more like the proper thing. Also I used to put too much mozzarella on the pizza and that made it really heavy. One mozzarella ball is plenty for 2 pizzas.
In any case you never stop learning. The more pizza you make the better you get. My dream is to have a proper stone oven one day… and who knows, one day it might turn into reality!
In a bowl melt the yeast with the lukewarm water and a tsp of sugar.
Add the flour, 1tbsp of olive oil and the salt and stir it all in. Mix well to form a soft dough.
Now put the dough out on to a floured work surface and knead for about ten minutes, until smooth and elastic.
Put it back on the bowl and let it rest in a warm place for a couple of hours covered with a tea towel until it has doubled in size
Knead the dough again on a floured surface for 5 minutes then divide it into two parts
Grease your hands with a little olive oil and shape both doughs like a heart onto a greased baking tray
Now let it rest for at least another couple of hours. I usually leave it even longer depending on when dinner time is!
Spread some tomato sauce over each heart, then the mozzarella, the halved cherry tomatoes, basil or oregano. Of course you can choose any of your favourite toppings!
Bake the hearts in the oven at 220C until the bases are crisp and golden-brown around the edges.