I’ve always found online pizza recipes off-putting. Why? Because of that “oh” moment when you reach the ‘let rise for 24 hours’. That’s when I navigate away from the page onto some nearby restaurant’s menu, and my warm, steaming, delicious pizza arrives in 40 minutes tops.
So what made me try this at home? Well, I’ve made quite a few bases now – quiches, cakes, loafs and many more, and so I’ve decided to get a little creative. I mean, after all, it is just a base you need; you’ll be focusing on the toppings a lot more anyway. Don’t get me wrong, I adore frozen pizzas as much as the next person, meaning I seriously appreciate it if someone promises to cook me dinner and bakes me a Ristorante pollo pizza (chicken, spinach, cheese, thin crust, oh my I just came from the gym). They’ll have me at pollo. But I had time on my hands and a portion of lardons that needed a use, not to mention I wasn’t going to spend money on food when I just did a big shopping the day before – all in all, I had good reason to scrape up everything I had at home and create something.
That baby took me less than 40 minutes, and it actually turned out delicious. It is so easy – kind of like a cheat’s pizza base, and you don’t even have to let it rest. You can just raid your cupboard and produce something outstanding from anything you have at home. So here’s what you need.
For the dough:
4 tbsp olive oil
Big pinch of salt
For the topping:
2 whole tomatoes, chopped up roughly
4 tbsp tomato paste
2 cloves of garlic
A generous amount of pancetta or lardons or salami or…
Lots and lots of grated cheese (and when you think you’ve got enough, grate more)
So first off, make the base. Sift your flour into a mixing bowl. Add your salt, olive oil, water and combine well. Roll it into a ball – if you find it too sticky, add some flour or if too dry, add some more water. (I had to do both to get it right!)
Preheat your oven to 180 degrees. Flour the surface you’re going to use and roll out your base into a thin circle (or something similar like I tried). Don’t keep it thick – this dough is tough either way, and I promise it will hold your toppings. When ready, cover a big baking sheet that can hold the base with tin foil and splash it with a lug of oil so that your dough doesn’t stick to it in the oven. Now pop in your base and bake for about 5-10 minutes; it doesn’t need colour, just heat it through a little to start the process. Take it out.
Now onto the topping: preheat your pan with some olive oil. Mince two garlic cloves and add it to the pan for extra flavour. Fry for a minute, then add your chopped tomatoes, tomato paste, salt and pepper, and on a low heat, cook until your tomatoes have broken down completely (don’t worry about the rough remaining parts, you can just discard them later).
Spoon the topping onto the base and spread it evenly – and then you’re free to go crazy. I added my lardons and my insane amount of cheese. I was really missing some basil but I’ll keep that in mind next time. When you’re done with this, just pop your pizza back into the oven and bake for about 40 minutes or until the bacon is cooked all over and the base turned a little brown and crunchy.