The Best Homemade Pizza

I have been making pizzas at home since I was a kid. My Mum would often cook pizzas, usually on the weekend, and it was the highlight of our week. I have the best memories of sitting in front of our fireplace in my pjs while watching Mum tend to her pizzas, darting back and forth from the bench to the stove, while a Disney movie was on TV. Eventually I moved from the fireplace to the kitchen, and I have been there ever since. It’s not just the nostalgic memories that have me wanting to cook pizza at home now for my own kids, but also to satisfy the cravings I have for a particular topping combination, or the pure satisfaction I get now that I have finally perfected pizza making at home. OK so I’m missing the smokey char of a wood-fired pizza, BUT that’s the only thing I’m missing. The dough is crispy with a slight chewiness and the toppings are endless. Two rules you must stick to when making these pizzas … Number 1 is that you really do need to knead the dough until it’s springy, otherwise you won’t achieve the right chewy texture, instead, the pizza will snap like a cracker. Number 2 is that you must preheat your pizza trays in the oven. This way the pizza base will being to cook as soon as it hits the oven and will ensure your base is crisp. The total cooking time is only 10-12 minutes so this is super important. If you skip this step, the pizza base will need to be in the oven way longer to crisp up and by that time your toppings will be way overcooked.  OK now you’re good to go.  I beg you to give this a try, it will no doubt get everyone excited and in the kitchen to help, which I love, and you will be so so proud of yourself.

Chilli Garlic Prawn & Nduja Pizza 

Pizza Dough

Makes 2 x 30cm pizzas

1 tsp dry yeast
½ tsp caster sugar
200ml warm water
1/2 tsp fine salt
300g Tippo OO flour
1 tbs olive oil

Add the yeast and sugar to the warm water and whisk to combine. Allow to stand for 5 minutes until the mixture becomes foamy. Add the salt and flour to the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook and mix to combine. Pour in the yeast mixture and mix on low until the dough comes together. If the dough is too sticky, add a little more flour. Increase the speed for about 10 minutes until you have a smooth and elastic dough that springs back when you poke it. Place the oil in a large bowl and coat the dough. Cover with a cloth and allow to prove in a warm place for 1 hour until doubled in size. Knock the air out of the dough and cut into 2 equal portions. Roll into balls, place in bowl and cover with the cloth again to prove for another 1 hour. At this stage, if you have time, place the dough in the fridge to prove overnight, or up to 24 hours. This will allow for a slower fermentation and for the dough to develop more flavour, but ignore this if you don’t have time and need your pizza now!  Your dough is now ready to use and adorn with toppings of your choice. If you need some inspiration to get you started, I have 2 of my fav combinations here …

Chilli Garlic Prawn & Nduja Pizza 

8 green prawns, peeled & deveined
1 clove garlic, finely grated
4 sprigs continental parsley, finely chopped, plus extra to garnish
1 long red chilli, half finely chopped & half thinly sliced
¼ tsp salt
2 tsp olive oil
50g Nduja (or spicy sausage), crumbled
100g fresh ricotta
Extra virgin olive oil, to serve
Sea salt and cracked black pepper

What to do:

Preheat oven to 220°C and place a baking tray in the oven to heat up.

Place the prawns, garlic, parsley, finely chopped chilli, salt and olive oil in a bowl and toss to combine.

Place one dough ball on a piece of baking paper and use your hands or a rolling pin to form a rough 30cm circle. Arrange prawn mixture over base and scatter over crumbled nduja. Transfer pizza with the baking paper onto hot tray and bake on the middle shelf for 10-12 minutes until the base is crispy and golden. If you are cooking two pizzas at a time, swap trays over halfway through the cooking time. Dot the ricotta over the cooked pizza and sprinkle with thinly sliced chilli and parsley. Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil, season, to taste, and serve hot.

Potato, Italian Sausage & Taleggio Pizza

Potato, Italian Sausage & Taleggio Pizza

1 medium desiree potato, thinly sliced on a mandolin
1 clove garlic, finely grated
½ sprig rosemary, leaves stripped & roughly chopped
¼ tsp salt
2 tsp olive oil
125g fresh mozzarella ball, sliced
1 Italian pork sausage, casing removed
50g taleggio cheese, torn
Freshly ground black pepper
Extra virgin olive oil, for serving

What to do:

Preheat oven to 220°C and place a baking tray in the oven to heat up.

Place the potato, garlic, rosemary, salt and olive oil in a bowl and toss to combine.

Place the dough on a piece of baking paper and use your hands or a rolling pin to form a rough 30cm circle. Arrange mozzarella over base, top with potato mixture and dot with pieces of pork sausage and taleggio. Season with cracked pepper. Transfer pizza with the baking paper onto a hot tray and bake on the middle shelf for 10-12 minutes until the potato is cooked and the base is crispy and golden. If you are cooking two pizzas at a time, swap trays over halfway through the cooking time. Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil, season, to taste, and serve hot.

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