I have been getting to grips with pizza for some time now, often unsuccessfully. Here is my latest attempt – no cheese and with plenty of leeway on the topping ingredients. Sardines would make a nice alternative to anchovies – black olives too (I don’t have any right now)
- Base: 500g plain flour, 30ml olive oil, 7g dried yeast, 1/2tsp sugar, 1/2tsp sea salt, 300 ml warm water, chopped herbs (thyme, marjoram and/or oregano)
- Filling: one large onion, one bell pepper, half a courgette, 300g tinned or fresh tomatoes, olive oil, one small tin of anchovies; garlic, chillies, chopped herbs, salt and pepper to taste.
- The dough: put the flour in a bowl with the yeast and sugar. Using your hands, stir in the olive oil and add to this the salt dissolved in most of water – enough so that you can make the dough into a ball. Dust a smooth surface with extra flour and begin kneading the dough, adding small amouts of flour or water if necessary.
After about 10 minutes it should be soft, springy and shiny. Place the ball back in the bowl, cover with a clean damp cloth and leave in a warm place to rise. (I usually turn the oven on to about 50°C for a few minutes while kneading and then turn it off again) Leave the dough to rise for 1-2 hours or until it has doubled in volume. Then knock the dough down, knead for a minute, and leave it to rise again for another hour.
When ready to cook, divide the dough in two and roll out on a flat surface to make a round or oval shap, then transfer to a baking sheet.
- The topping: stew tomatoes in a little olive oil with chopped garlic, chillies and herbs. You can use the oil from the tin of anchovies. Gently reduce the sauce until it has thickened. In a second pan sauté thin slices of onion, courgette and pepper in some oil until softened. Leave to cool.
- Assembly: spread each base with the tomato sauce. It is good to leave a few gaps – do not aim for even coverage. Then arrange the sliced vegetables on top, and interlace strips of anchovy. Leave for the dough to rise for 10 minutes before cooking
- Cooking Place each pizza on a baking sheet in a hot oven and keep an eye on it. This final stage only takes about 12-15minutes. Do not burn your mouth when eating – leave them to cool!