Homemade Pizza 4 ways

Pizza 1

Hey everyone! I’m delighted to share this one with you. I’ve made this so many times, and constantly modified it slightly each time, to the point where I feel like its one of my signature dishes. I’ve given 4 of my favourite topping ideas down below. I’d suggest picking 2 or 3 of them, as all 4 can involve a fair deal of prep, but its certainly do-able if its variety you’re after. You can of course also top it with alternative ingredients – it’s all about making it personal to you. I’ve gone for are 1) Prawn and chorizo, 2) Charred broccoli and chilli honey, 3) N’duja and Mozzarella and 4) Butternut Squash and Parma Ham. In the ingredients, I’ve given enough measurements for 1 large pizza, so you can scale up/down accordingly if you want more/less. Before the recipe, please have a look at the section below – there’s some important principles to making the best pizzas that I learned about in Italy, and also through trialing this recipe numerous times.

Before you start cooking…

  1. Don’t worry about it looking perfect. I’ve never seen an authentic Italian pizza that is perfectly circular, or even all the way over. The beauty of pizza, and Italian cooking in general, is its rustic nature. Dont worry about the appearance, and instead focus on making your food with love and passion – it will taste all the better for it.
  2. Less is more. This goes for sauce and toppings. Don’t overload your pizza – if you do, the dough will become soggy, and the whole thing will be damp. Spread the sauce thinly and top your pizzas sparsely. They will cook much more evenly as a result, leaving you with a crisp bottom and perfect crunchy, doughy crusts.
  3. Add the mozzarella half way through cooking. If you add it at the start of cooking, it will lose the moisture (due to the very high oven temperature), and become rubbery and tough. Adding it half way through makes sure that you still get some of the lovely moisture that you get with raw mozzarella, whilst still getting the stringiness of the cooked stuff.
  4. Use a pizza stone (or oven if you have one) for best results. If you don’t have one, use a pizza tray (with holes in), or failing that, a large baking tray.
  5. Practise makes perfect. If this recipe doesn’t quite work perfectly first time, I’d urge you to continue with it. You’ll get to know exactly when a pizza is done by making it a few times, and looking at the ingredients. Again, this is quintessentially Italian – timings and measurements are replaced by gut instinct and feel. The end result is epic I promise you.

Ingredients (makes 3 large, or 4 individual pizzas)

  • For the dough:
    • 500g Strong white bread flour, plus extra for shaping
    • 325ml luke-warm water
    • 7g sachet of yeast
    • Very large pinch of salt
    • Small pinch of caster sugar
    • Olive oil
  • For the sauce (you can use passata if you like, but this is better!):
    • 1 tin of Chopped Tomatoes
    • 2 cloves garlic
    • 5-10 leaves of basil (optional)
  • For the toppings (per pizza):
    • Prawn and Chorizo
      • 2-3 tbsp sauce
      • Large handful of king prawns (4-7 prawns)
      • 20g Chorizo, sliced thinly
      • 1/2 – 2/3 of a ball of fresh buffalo mozzarella, torn into chunks
    • N’duja and mozzarella
      • 2-3 tbsp sauce
      • 5 tsp N’duja sausage
      • Pinch of oregano
      • 1/2 – 2/3 of a ball of fresh buffalo mozzarella, torn into chunks
    • Butternut Squash and Parma Ham
      • 2-3 tbsp sauce
      • 1/4 of a butternut squash, peeled and cut into thin slices
      • 4 slices of parma ham
      • Pinch of chilli flakes
      • Pinch of brown sugar
      • 1/2 – 2/3 of a ball of fresh buffalo mozzarella, torn into chunks
    • Broccoli and Chilli Honey
      • 2-3 tbsp sauce
      • 8 small heads of broccoli
      • 2 tbsp honey
      • 1 tsp chilli flakes
      • 1/2 – 2/3 of a ball of fresh buffalo mozzarella, torn into chunks

Pizza 2.JPG

Method:

  1. To make the dough, follow steps 1-6 in my homemade foccacia recipe
  2. Whilst the dough is proving, you can make the sauce. Add the olive oil into a saucepan on a medium/low heat. Thinly slice the garlic, and add to the saucepan. Fry until just they just start to turn golden and fragrant (do not let them burn). Then, add the tin of tomatoes, and a splash of water. Bring to the boil, and simmer for 20 minutes, until thicker. Tear the basil leaves, and add into the sauce. Season to taste, remove from heat, and place to one side.
  3. Prepare your ingredients
    1. Prawn and Chorizo
      1. If using frozen prawns, defrost them, and pat dry any excess liquid.
      2. Thinly slice the chorizo into circles (about 9-10). Add to a dry frying pan on a medium heat. Fry until it just starts to crisp, then remove from the pan and set aside, trying to catch as much of the oil as possible.
    2. Charred Broccoli and Chilli Honey
      1. Slice your broccoli heads in half lengthways, or into 3 if its a larger head. Place the slices on a baking tray, drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper, and bake at 200C for 5 or so minutes, until they start to change colour and go brown. Remove from oven and set aside.
      2. Add the honey and chilli flakes into a small saucepan. Just before serving, heat this mixture up, and drizzle over the finished pizza.Pizza 4.JPG
    3.  Butternut Squash and Parma Ham
      1. Place your peeled, thinly sliced butternut squash onto a baking tray, drizzle with olive oil and season with a few chilli flakes, a tiny pinch of brown sugar, salt and pepper. Bake in an oven at 200C for 10 minutes. Remove and set aside.
  4. Once the dough is proved, knock it back, and divide it into 3 or 4 pizzas. Using a lots of flour, shape the dough with your hands (not a rolling pin) into circles, moving from the inside out. You can toss the pizza if you like, but be careful of holes forming. This method should leave a pizza that is reasonably thin in the middle, with beautiful crusts.
  5. Preheat your oven to the highest setting (250C if possible). If using a pizza stone, preheat this also. Once the pizzas are shaped, throw a large handful of bread flour onto a pizza paddle (if you have one), or a large baking tray. Then, place the pizzas on top. This will become important later.
  6. Add on 2 tbsp or so of sauce onto the pizza, spreading it around so that all parts of the pizza have a thin coating. Be sparing, as too much will make the dough soggy. Add on your chosen toppings, scattering them around the pizza, again sparingly, for the same reason. Do not add the mozzarella at this stage.
    1. For the broccoli pizza, add the charred broccoli at this stage, and drizzle the chilli honey over once the pizza is cooked.
    2. For the N’Duja pizza, add small blobs of the sausage around the pizza.
  7. Slide the completed pizza onto either the heated pizza stone, or the pizza tray, and place in the oven for 4-5 minutes. Be careful to rotate your pizzas if your oven does not heat evenly (e.g. swap the pizzas on the top and bottom shelf) Once this is done, remove the pizza, add the mozzarella on top, and place back into the oven for a further 3-4 minutes.
    1. You are looking for the crusts on the outside to have risen, and to look crispy and brown. The toppings should be cooked, not burnt, and the mozzarella should remain moist and stringy. The dough is the real indicator however, so look for the golden brown, puffed up, crispy crusts as the sign to take the pizza out.
  8. Once the crusts are cooked, remove the pizza from the oven, slice up into 8ths, and serve.

Pizza 3

This does look like a long, slightly complicated recipe, but its mainly me trying to give as much detail as I can. Making pizzas is quite instinctive, and so its a bit difficult to describe some of the processes that are intuitive, and done by feel. There are also 4 different topping ideas here, so feel free to choose 1 or 2 to make it easier. Hopefully it all makes sense though, and if you need any clarification, hit me up on Instagram @OTCooks_Eats, and I’ll answer any questions you have as best I can. If you do make this for yourself, family or friends, then please tag me on Instagram with the results, as I’d love to see all your wonderful creations! Happy cooking everyone!

OT

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