Saturday, 23 January 2010

Italian Style Pizza from scratch.

In May 2008 the Mrs and I had a touring holiday in Northern Italy. We stayed in a different town every couple of nights including Pisa, Firenze, Roma, Lido de Jesolo and Riva del Garda. The cost of eating out was very high so we went for peasant food most nights, mainly pasta or pizza. Almost every restaurant that we went into had this igloo shaped structure in the corner of the kitchen that we soon learned were wood fired ovens. Pizzaolo guy would kick off with this squash ball sized piece of dough which would be hand stretched and shaped, slapped on the worktop and covered with tomato sauce, meats, vegetables and mozzarella. This would then be placed on the floor of the oven for about two minutes before being retrieved puffed up, scorched, sizzling and absolutely delicious. Most pizzaolo dudes were quite friendly once I had bought them a beer and I managed to get a basic idea of how they were made.
First off, you need heat, lots of heat. These wood fired ovens can give a floor temp of anything up to 600c. For the sauce you need tomatoes, olive oil, garlic, salt, pepper, oregano and sugar.
For toppings, good mozzarella, cured meats, olives and various vegetables.
Most of us dont have the luxury of a wood fired pizza oven in our kitchens so tend to make do with shop bought. If you follow this recipe you can make something very similar to that of the Italian Pazzaolo.

For a evening pizza, best to start first thing in the morning.
In a large mixing bowl, put half a bag of strong white flour, 400ml warm water, a dessert spoon of salt, a tablespoon of good extra virgin olive oil and a satchet of yeast.
For the sauce you will need a can of chopped tomatoes, garlic, olive oil, oregano, salt, pepper and sugar.
Put all of the ingredients into a mixing bowl.
Using your hands, mix all of the ingredients together and knead, in the bowl, with your fist for about 5 minutes turning and folding regularly. Cover with cling film and put it in the fridge.
Yes the fridge.....
For the sauce, gently fry 3 or 4 cloves of chopped garlic for a couple of minutes, then add the tomatoes. Bring to the boil then turn the heat down and allow to reduce by a third. Season with salt, pepper, oregano and sugar until it tastes the way you like it. When cool put it in the fridge.

After 8 hours or so it should have risen to more than double its earlier size.

Using your fist, knock all of the air out and place on a floured board.

Cut the dough into 4 pieces. Take the first one and using your hands (or a rolling pin) flatten and stretch the dough until it's large enough to fit into the bottom of a large non-stick frying pan.
Put the pan on a medium heat for a few minutes until it starts to bubble and puff up.

Then put it under a hot grill for a couple of minutes until it just starts to brown.

The browning helps stop the sauce from soaking into the bread too quickly. Cover the base with sauce, then whatever toppings you may want, and lastly the mozzarella.

A few minutes under the grill and it should look like this.

This is the second one, see how it's puffed up like a football. Not a problem, just slap it down.

This one has pepperoni, ham, mushrooms, red onion, and fresh green chilli.

Thin crisp base, and all those flavours mingling. Nice with a chilled Asti Spumante.....

The dough mix can be used for chiabatta loaves, rolls, flatbreads etc.


Joke said...

that looks gid!!!!!!!!!

Booking Hotel Jesolo said...

It should be tasty. I will try it this evening. thank you very much for this article!