I was at a film festival in Florence and that visit was food paradise! Pizza, pasta, risotto, sinful desserts, olive oil, fresh ingredients, minimum cooking and fantastic wine were my daily indulgences. I picked up hints of this pizza recipe from there and even began making pasta at home.
So here it is! Kids love pizza and so do we. Here is a recipe that uses minimum ingredients, is easily made at home and is much healthier than what we get delivered. The preparation time also doesn’t kill you.
For the pizza dough
3 cups wholewheat flour
1 tbsp Honey (I picked up the beautiful ‘Under The Mango Tree’ honey)
1 tbsp Active dry yeast
1 tsp Sugar
1-1/2 cups Lukewarm water
1 tsp Salt
1 tbsp Olive Oil
- Put the yeast and sugar in the lukewarm water in a large bowl. Keep this aside for around 5-7 minutes.
- Add the honey, olive oil and salt. Mix. The yeast should have dissolved completely.
- Add the wholewheat flour. Mix and knead thoroughly for at least 5-6 minutes.
- Oil the bowl and rub the dough around in this.
- Cover with cling wrap (or just cover it) and keep in a warm place for at least 30-40 minutes. The dough will rise to nearly twice its size.
The Pizza Base
This is simple and does not require cooking. Best base is fresh base.
4-5 medium tomatoes diced
1 can tomatoes with paste or a pack of tomato puree
1 tbsp Dried oregano
2 tbsp Olive oil
4 cloves of garlic
1 tsp Red Chilli powder
1 tsp Black pepper, freshly gound
3-4 leaves of fresh basil (optional)
1 tsp salt (or more to taste)
1 tsp sugar/honey
- Mix all the ingredients and pulse in a blender/mixer.
- This is the pizza base. Thats it!
- This base can refrigerated for at least 2-3 days.
Many people have their own pizza base recipes. Many Indian recipes involve cooking (and sometimes overcooking). I prefer the fresh sauce – it makes the pizza come alive.
Putting it all together
- Pre-heat oven at 250-300 degrees.
- Dust a rolling surface with flour. Divide the dough into small balls and roll out into discs.
- Put the discs in the over for 5-7 minutes.
- Take the discs out.
- Spoon and spread the pizza base over the discs.
- Cut some fresh buffalo mozzarella (or packaged pizza cheese if you can’t find it close by) and spread over the base. I’ve also replaced mozzarella with lovely parmesan that I brought from Italy. The results were interesting.
- Top with each or a combination of – herbs, pepperoni, shredded and cooked chicken, salami, sausages, cooked prawns, capsicum, onion, mushrooms, paneer, cherry tomatoes or nothing at all. I prefer just simple herbs. Toppings can be combined based on individual tastes and can be a different creative pursuit.
- Put the discs back in the over for 3-5 minutes until you see the cheese melt and sizzle.
- Take the pizza out, top with fresh rocket leaves, blanched spinach, fresh herbs and some beautiful infused olive oil. Serve hot.
- (For adults) Pair with a good Chianti Classico or any good medium bodied red wine.
Last night I topped the pizzas with pepperoni and fresh herbs that my daughters grow in our kitchen garden. Yes, we have a kitchen garden in our Mumbai apartment where we grow chillies, basil, thyme, curry leaves, coriander, mint, tomatoes. And there was some fantastic new extra virgin olive oil that I’d picked up from a farmer in Florence.
Pizza is comfort food at its best and if made at home with fresh ingredients it need not be junk food! Try it…