i make pizza about every other week using a techinque i’m happy with, dough that behaves itself and a simple sauce that tastes really good. pizza at my place is good fun, with everyone throwing on what they want. it’s delicious, but it ain’t exactly pretty.
i like the idea of a composed pizza. like a composed salad, you can taste each ingredient on its own. usually each piece winds up having 1 or 1 ingredients on it. the next piece is something completely different.
this antipasto pizza is topped with sundried and fresh tomatoes, red onion, kalamata olives, fresh basil, zucchini sliced on the mandoline, and some marinated mushrooms from a recipe i posted on the blog. cheese goes on the bottom to you can see the patterns and colours of the ingredients.
i didn’t take too much time arranging it all. i’d love to see someone go really nuts with this idea and make the world’s most beautiful pizza. the angelina jolie of pizza. today we’ll go with pretty, and that’ll do just fine.
make it pretty and compose your ingredients, or just throw them on there.
the starter for the dough needs to be made the night before, but if you want to be eating pizza in the evening, start in the morning and you’ll be fine.
salt and pepper
1/4 tsp. dried basil
1/4 tsp. dried oregano
easy and flavourful pizza sauce (recipe follows)
rustic pizza dough (recipe follows)
toppings of your choice
easy and flavourful pizza sauce
1 can plum tomatoes
2 cloves garlic, sliced
1/4 tsp. dried basil
1/4 cup olive oil
salt and pepper
preheat oven to 400F. dump tomatoes into a 9″ glass baking dish and squish them with your hands. stir in the garlic and the basil. roast in the oven for 1 hour, or until tomato juice is reduced and thickened. place in food processor, and process until smooth. drizzle in olive oil, and season with salt and pepper. makes 1 pint.
rustic pizza dough
makes enough for 4 12-inch pizzas. can be frozen after portioning. i’ve scaled it in grams for accuracy.
make the poolish (starter): in the bowl of a stand mixer, stir together 300g flour, 400mls of warm water, and 3g of instant yeast (about a teaspoon). Stir vigorously with a wooden spoon. cover bowl with plastic or a towel and allow to ferment overnight, or 8 hours, minimum.
for the dough: to the bowl, add 1 kg of flour, 23g of salt, and 20g yeast. pour in 600mls warm water. place in mixer with the dough hook attachment, and stir on medium-low speed until dough is smooth and elastic, about 7 minutes. remove bowl from mixer and cover with a clean towel. proof in the bowl for 1 hour.
turn onto floured board and divide into 4 equal pieces, shaping into round balls. each piece will be roughly 530g. allow the dough to rest 10 minutes. (if freezing, wrap each piece well in plastic wrap, then pop into a freezer bag)
tear off a piece of parchment to cover a 12-inch round pizza pan with an overhang. press the dough to cover the pan. brush with olive oil and sprinkle the edge with salt, pepper, the dried basil and the dried oregano. spread with about 1/4 cup of the sauce (or more, if you like lots of sauce). add your toppings of choice. trim the parchment close to the pan.
preheat your oven as hot as it will go. mine goes to 550f, but many only go up to 500f. this is fine. place pizza on the lowest rack.
bake for 10 minutes. rotate pan and move from low rack to the higher one. Reduce heat to 400F and bake another 5-10 minutes or until bottom of crust is browed and feels firm.
rest pizza for 5 minutes, then slice.
chef’s note: i’ve had success cooking these on the bbq. heat grill as hot as it will go. divide the dough into eighths, and roll out. brush rounds with oil and season as above. place un-topped on grill and cook for 3-4 minutes. flip over, add sauce and toppings, and grill another 3-4 minutes, closing lid to melt the cheese.