So, I got home from work a little late tonight: I was meeting a friend for hot chocolate, I had to nip into Tesco’s on the way home, the underground was delayed – the usual. It was twenty past seven when I finally got through the door to be greeted by the reproachful eyes of Mr Chilli, who’d nearly given up on the home-made pizza I’d promised for dinner.
It’s times like these that I’m really glad I made the dough the night before and left to slow rise in the fridge.
A little bit of teamwork had the pizzas in the oven within ten minutes. While the oven pre-heated, Mr Chilli rolled out the bases and grated the cheese and I wilted spinach and mixed up the tomato sauce. I’d forgotten to buy passata at Tesco’s and discovered at the last minute that we were out of chopped tomatoes as well – luckily I found a tin of tomato puree in the cupboard. We were also missing oregano – I think we need to get a weekly shop in soon!
In spite of the missing ingredients, the pizzas were delicious – and super cheap compared to takeaway or even shop-bought. Mr Chilli had wilted, chopped spinach, pepperoni and thinly sliced onion, and I had frozen sweetcorn rather than pepperoni.
Homemade pizzas (serves 2/3)
For the bases:
- 175g strong white flour
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tsp easy-blend dried yeast
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp sugar
Mix the flour with the other dried ingredients and stir in the olive oil. Add a small amount of lukewarm water, mixing with a wooden spoon until the dough sticks together.
Tip onto a floured surface and knead until the dough becomes springy and elastic – you’ll know when it feels right. You can either leave covered to rise at room temperature for an hour or so, or if you’re making in advance, oil the outside of the ball, pop into a food bag and refrigerate (for at least eight hours) or freeze. Starting with a pre-made ball of dough makes it much easier to get dinner on the table quickly mid-week!
For the tomato sauce:
- One small tin of tomato puree, or half a tub of passata
- A couple of large pinches of dried herbs – I usually use oregano, but basil and thyme work well too.
Mix the passata or puree with the herbs – if you’re using puree, you’ll need to water it down a bit. Puree will taste a bit stronger, so it really depends on your preference which you use.
Assembling the pizzas:
- Toppings of your choice – e.g. pepperoni, sliced onions, sliced olives, wilted spinach, cooked shredded chicken, sliced mushrooms
- 1 ball mozzarella, cut into slices – I use value for pizzas
- 60-80g cheddar, grated
Preheat the oven as high as it will go – my oven goes to 240C.
Roll out the bases on a floured surface as thin as you can (I use 2/3 of the dough for Mr Chilli’s and 1/3 for mine, but you can make two or three equal ones depending on appetite). Don’t worry if they aren’t perfect circles. I then transfer to round baking dishes as shown, but you can use a pizza stone, in which case you should heat it before you transfer the completed pizza, or a normal baking tray. If you want super thin pizzas, prick each base a few times with a fork to stop then rising in the oven.
Smear the sauce evenly over the base and spread your toppings out. You don’t want it overloaded, so I’d recommend no more that a handful each of two/three different toppings.
Arrange the mozzarella over the toppings and scatter over the cheddar. Bake for roughly 12-14 minutes and serve with a green salad.