Pizza can be a really fun dish to prepare, especially when you have kids or friends around! You may just want to prepare the base ahead as it can be a bit messy, but let everyone pick their own topping! Capricciosa is my personal favourite, but you may want to be more adventurous!
Ingredients (serves 4 people – 2 medium pizzas)
1 ¼ cups warm water (not boiling)
2 tsp. (1 sachet) of active dry yeast
1 tsp. olive oil
2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. sugar
3 cups strong bread flour
1 tsp olive oil
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 handful Basil or Oregano, chopped
400g can Italian diced tomatoes
1/2 tsp. sugar
Salt & ground black pepper, to taste
2 tsp. pesto paste
1 onion, finely sliced
150g mozzarella or bocconcini, torn into medium pieces
1 red capsicum, halved, deseeded, thinly sliced
4 mushrooms, sliced
8-10 black olives, pitted
100g prosciutto ham, torn into bite size pieces
1 handful fresh basil or oregano, chopped
1 egg yolk (optional)
1. Start by pre-heating the oven to 100-150°C and then turn it off after 5 minutes so that it’s just warm enough for the dough ball to rise quickly.
2. Pull the warm water into a large mixing bowl, sprinkle on the yeast, let it dissolve and activate for 1 minute. Mix in the flour, oil, salt and sugar. Cover your hands with flour and knead for 5 minutes or until nice and smooth. If the dough looks too wet, add a bit more flour. Form a ball and coat with a little bit of oil. Cover with a wet kitchen towel and place in the warm (not hot) oven to rise for 30 mins or until it doubles in size.
3. In the meantime, get started on the sauce. Heat the olive oil in a small pan; fry the crushed garlic for 30 seconds before adding the fresh herbs and then the diced tomatoes and sugar. Let it simmer for 10 minutes, stirring regularly.
4. Grease two pizza trays with a little bit of oil and sprinkle with flour to make it non-stick.
5. Once the dough is ready, place it on a lightly floured surface and punch it down in the center. It feels good, doesn’t it?! Knead it again for another minute to get it back to its original size. Divide into two portions and flatten it down to a round shape using your hands.
6. Spoon on the tomato sauce and place your toppings on the pizza. Place in the oven and cook at 200°C for 15 mins. Place the egg yolk in the middle, a little bit more cheese and cook for another 5 minutes.
For an express pizza, you may prefer buying the base already made from the refrigerated Italian section of your local super market isn’t a bad option. But you could also prepare the base in advance and save it in the fridge wrapped as a ball in cling film. Save any leftovers for a great lunch at work!