I was intending to use spianata piccante for this pizza, keeping it Italian as it were, but my local deli didn't have any, so I went with a few slices of cured chorizo instead.
This 23cm (9") pizza cost £3.12. It would be £2.50 without the chorizo. That's for everything except the sugar and salt, the cost of which I couldn't be arsed to work out. A small takeaway pizza will cost you around £12.99. You can buy cheaper pizzas at the supermarket (if you're partial to cardboard) but neither option will come anywhere near the glorious taste of a home-made pizza.
For this one I used 400g of tipo '00' flour and 100g of polenta. But you can use all '00', or all strong bread flour, or 50% strong bread flour and 50% plain flour.
Mary Contini (of Valvona & Crolla fame) suggests a water temperature of 30C in the summer and 40C in the winter. If you haven't got a thermometer then two parts tap water to one part boiling water gets you there or thereabouts.
You can, of course, make the dough in a processor. I always used to do so but have just gone back to making it by hand. It's somehow more satisfying.
You want to whack your oven up to its highest setting, which in my case is (almost) 250C fan, and, ideally, leave a pizza stone in there for 20-30 minutes to heat up. If you haven't got a stone use a large baking tray instead.
I keep meaning to buy a pizza paddle for transferring the assembled pizza into the oven but haven't got around to it yet. So I use an upturned baking tray.
In my oven, a pizza usually takes about 8-9 minutes to bake.
makes enough for four pizzas
500g flour (see above)
1 heaped tsp fine sea salt
1 7g sachet dried yeast
1 heaped tsp caster sugar
2 tbsps olive oil
325ml warm water (see above)
more flour for the kneading process, as required
polenta for dusting the pizza stone/baking tray
Mix the yeast, sugar, olive oil and water together and leave for a minute or two. Pour the flour and salt into a large bowl. Gradually pour in the yeast/water mixture into the the bowl and mix, dusting your hands and the dough with more flour as necessary, until all the yeast/water mixture is used up. Turn the dough onto a floured worktop. Knead by pushing it down and away from you with the palm of your hand, followed by a quarter turn of the dough, for about ten minutes - until you have a smooth and pliant dough. Form into a ball.
Clean out the bowl and dust with more flour. Place the dough in it and dust the top. Cover with a damp cloth and leave until the dough has doubled in size. Dough needs a warm, draught-free room in order to rise - I left the bowl on a chair near to a radiator for an hour and a half.
Clean your worktop and dust again with flour. Turn out the dough onto the worktop and knead a couple of times to knock out the air from the dough. Divide into four balls. Use straight away, or wrap in cling film and keep in the fridge or the freezer for later.
You need a really good quality tin of tomatoes for this. Cheap tins contain too much juice and their tomatoes are watery. I used a tin of pomodorini di Collina - cherry tomatoes with their skin still on.
2 tbsps olive oil
1 400g tin of tomatoes, drained of their juices
2 garlic cloves, crushed.
a splash of balsamic vinegar
a pinch of salt
a pinch of black pepper
a pinch of thyme leaves
Mix all the ingredients together in a roasting tray and roast in a 180C/160C fan oven for 30 minutes or so or until the tomatoes are just beginning to caramelise and the juices are nicely concentrated. Blitz in a processor or mash by hand. You should end up with about 6-8 tablespoons of concentrated tomatoey, garlicky deliciousness.
1 individual portion of pizza dough
2 tbsps tomato sauce
100g baby spinach, wilted
½ roasted red pepper, cut into strips
50-60g mozzarella (½ a ball)
8 slices of cured chorizo
salt + black pepper
On a floured worktop roll out the dough to about 23cm in diameter (about 4-5mm thick). Transfer onto an upturned baking tray or similar flat surface which you have dusted with polenta. Smear the sauce onto the base, then arrange the rest of the ingredients on top. Drizzle with a little olive oil. Transfer onto your heated stone/tray as quickly as possible. Check after 7-8 minutes to see if it's done. When it is baked to your liking, remove from the oven, season, and serve straight away.
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