I honestly struggle to come up with creative ideas for a different dinner everyday. I understand that sometimes one has to repeat himself and cook the same dish he cooked last week, but how many times a month can one eat pasta? Pasta, being the quickest possible dinner to make, had become the most popular 15-minute dinner at many households. The thing is, some don’t like pasta. Like my Granddad, for instance. Last year he went to Italy with my Nan.
He absolutely hated it.
I was like: how is that possible? I’d love to go to Italy! Nice weather, beautiful food, interesting ancient cities and wine, wine, wine all around me.
He said: everything would be fine if it wasn’t for pasta! Everyday pasta, pasta, pasta, how can they live like that? No diversity! How is that possible that a nation with such a long history wasn’t able to create an interesting cuisine?
I could try to explain to him that Italian cuisine is so much more than just pasta, but he simply wouldn’t listen. ‘I have never been more disappointed’, he said.
Anyway, I must admit that I got a bit bored of pasta myself. I work in hospitality, which means irregular shifts, late finishings, running around all day, coming back home after midnight. Who would have the strength to cook a sophisticated dinner that late at night? That’s why pasta had been on my menu often, sometimes even three times a week.
Trying to come up with something equally easy to make and fairly light and tasty, I thought about pizza. Apart from the dough making, it sure is a quick dinner idea. And how satisfying, eating my own homemade pizza!
I must admit, I always use Jamie Oliver’s recipe for a pizza dough. Well, what can I say, I’ve tried many and his is just the best.
BEAUTIFUL SUMMER PIZZA
for the dough
800g strong white bread flour
200g fine ground semolina
1tbsp sea salt
2x7g sachets dried yeast
1tbsp golden caster sugar
650ml lukewarm water
for the pizza topping
1 clove garlic
pepperoni or salami
fresh rocket leaves
HOW TO MAKE?
1. Add the flour and salt to your pastry board and make a well in the middle. Mix your yeast and sugar with lukewarm water and set aside for a few minutes. After that time, pour it slowly and delicately into the well.
2. With a fork, slowly start bringing the flour into the well filled with yeast water. It will be escaping everywhere, be careful not to let the water run off the pastry board. The mixture of flours and the yeast water should look like a thick porridge. When the mixture becomes too hard to mix with a fork, use your hands to knead the dough.
3. Knead the dough for about 10 minutes, this way it’ll become springy and smooth. Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl and cover it with a kitchen towel. Let it sit for about 45 minutes to double the size.
4. When the dough is resting, let’s make the pizza sauce. Peel and finely chop the garlic. Pick thyme leaves off the stalks. In a bowl, mix together the tomato puree, garlic, thyme, salt and freshly ground pepper. You can add a hint of oregano if you like. Taste and season more if needed. Set aside.
5. When the dough has doubled in size, time to make your pizzas. Divide the dough in two. If you don’t have many people to feed, it’s best to freeze one of the halves. To do so, wrap it in tin foil and simply put in the freezer. Done. The other half, divide it into 4 balls. Each ball needs to be covered with flour and wrapped in a cling film. Let it rest for another 15 minutes.
6. Take one piece of the dough and roll it out into a circle, about 0,5cm thick. Remember to dust your working surface with flour before rolling. Prepare a piece of tin foil, about the same size as your pizza circle, rub it with a bit of olive oil and dust with flour and place your rolled out pizza on top. Repeat with the rest of the dough. Once all the pizzas are ready, you can dust them with flour and stack one on another. This way it won’t take up much space in your fridge.
7. When you are ready to bake your pizzas, preheat your oven to 250 degrees Celsius.
8. Prepare the toppings for your pizzas. Spread the tomato sauce over the base. Add slices of salami or pepperoni and pieces of goats cheese.
9. Bake in the oven, middle shelf, for 7-10 minutes, until your pizza is nice and crispy. After taking out of the oven, add extra topping of fresh rocket leaves and (optional) drizzle with a little bit of olive oil. Voila! I’m sure your guests will be impressed with your healthy pizza idea.
Oh, and if your partner or some of your friends happened to be meat lovers, well – be creative. That’s what happened to one of my pizzas when I said to my partner to top it up with whatever he finds tasty….
The problem with tourists in Italy is that often they go to very touristic restaurants, where almost no italians enter, and where they cook what many foreigners think to be italian food, but it’s not :) Italy has probably the highest number of traditional recipes and protected products in the world, actually every italian know that an “Italian cuisine” doesn’t exist, but there are regional recipes, provincial recipes, and they can change even from village to village, and these real italian recipes and quality products usually are impossible to find in the restaurants of the tourisitc centers. And pasta everyday can be maybe boring for not italians, I can understand it, but only if you repeat the same recipes with the same pasta types: in the reality in Italy there are hundreds of pasta recipe, and more than hundred different traditional pasta types/shapes.
I’m very sorry that your grandparents had a bad experience, I hope they will have a second chance :)
Haha probably it’s because my Grandad haven’t travelled much and he is very used to Polish cuisine and Polish ingredients. As for me, i can’t wait to go to Italy! I love the freshness of Italian products, the simplicity of dishes, and – as you said – regional variety. I’m planning to visit Italy in September, I would like to learn how to cook traditionally Italian food. No other cuisine in the world is so focused on the simplicity and pleasure, believe me, can’t wait to try food in Italy!
My grandma loved Italy, the people, the food, the landscapes, it’s only my granddad :) i only told the story because i though it was funny, didn’t mean to offend Italy or Italians. Sorry if I accidentally did.
No no, don’t worry, any offense :) I just wanted to explain :)
As you said, most of italian recipes are based on few good quality ingredients balanced together, anything overwhelming other ingredients :) And from north to south and to the islands there is a lot of different food, but everything interesting :) the pizza for example: there is the Naples style, the Rome style, the pizza al metro, the pizza al taglio, the pizza al tegamino (Turin), and some others too :)
The problem with tourists in Italy is that often they go to very touristic restaurants, where almost no italians enter, and where they cook what many foreigners think to be italian food, but it’s not:) Italy has probably the highest number of traditional recipes and protected products in the world, actually every italian know that an “Italian cuisine” doesn’t exist, but there are regional recipes, provincial recipes, and they can change even from village to village, and these real italian recipes and quality products usually are impossible to find in the restaurants of the tourisitc centers. And pasta everyday can be maybe boring for not italians, I can understand it, but only if you repeat the same recipes with the same pasta types: in the reality in Italy there are hundreds of pasta recipe, and more than hundred different traditional pasta types/shapes.
I’m very sorry that your grandparents had a bad experience, I hope they will have a second chance:)
This is beautiful. Looks so yummy and earthy, thanks for sharing!
If I could dive into my computer screen and pull anything out to eat right now…it would be this! All the feels!
Tania @ http://www.thegammonkitchen.wordpress.com
That Pizza looks insane – definitely going on my to do list!
Ooo I love the idea of using rocket! I would’ve just automatically gone with basil, but I think I’ll try this next time!
Bardzo, Bardzo dobre ciasto. Polecam!