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.
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….