Monday, 26 April 2010

Meat-Free Monday - home made pizza

For a few years after I left university, I lived in the Inner West of Sydney. Not a lot of public transport, very high insurance premiums because of the rate of car thefts, and really excellent pizza. The Inner West - Balmain, Leichhardt, Annandale, Haberfield, Five Dock - is the area that traditionally had a high level of Italian immigration, which means you can get amazing gelato, fantastic espresso, pre-soaked baccala and have the trauma of someone calling you Signora instead of Signorina for the first time.

Our favourite pizza places were both in Haberfield. La Disfida and Napoli in Bocca. Both produced wafer thin, flavoursome pizza crusts, with the merest suggestion of a topping, dripping-fresh mozzarella blistered by the heat, anointed with a drizzle of olive oil just before it came to the table. Napoli in Bocca won for me, because it was a lot bigger, so you were more likely to get a table.

Since we left Sydney, I have pined for pizza. We do actually have 3 pizza places that deliver to us, but one of those is Dominos, and it isn't the worst, so I think that is all you need to know on that score.

Then, for Easter, Paul bought me a Weber pizza stone for the barbecue and the ball, as it were, was in my court.

I started with youtube. I came across this tutorial on how to toss pizzas. I figured that if the man had the skills to show ambidextrous pizza tossing, he was the go-to guy for pizza crust recipes. And so he is. I mixed and kneaded by hand, but otherwise followed the recipe. It's a lovely dough to work with! Really silky and elastic. We didn't want big pizzas, so I divided the dough into 4 balls.

I happen to think that the true test of a pizza is a margarita. Plain, simple, tomato, basil and mozzarella. If you get those right you can see the true beauty of a pizza, and maybe progress to a slice of mushroom or a bit of sausage. Or better yet - Quattro Formaggi! On no account should pineapple EVER feature. Same goes for sweetcorn. Blergh. So I made a really simple sauce - a couple of cloves of garlic, finely sliced, sauteed in olive oil until beginning to brown, then a can of chopped tomatoes and a slosh of balsamic vinegar, and I just simmered it slowly, crushing it to a smooth sauce with a fork, until it was thick and rich. Seasoned with salt and pepper and it was done.

Unfortunately, on this first attempt, it was too windy out to light the Weber. And then we discovered that the Weber pizza stone is too big for our oven. So we had to revert to my old aluminium pizza trays. Good thing I never throw anything away.

A smear of sauce, some torn buffalo mozzarella and some basil leaves soaked in oil. The oven preheated to 240C. In 10 minutes, the crust puffed up hugely, the base remained thin and crisp, the cheese ran and the sauce bubbled. It was the best pizza I have had in this country.

Stay tuned for further pizza adventures, as we actually get to use the pizza stone!


maybelle's mom said...

my husband grew up on the east coast of the States just outside New York City. That is the land of Italian Americans and pizza. It means that we often make homemade pizza. Once a week like clockwork. I can't give you tips, b/c it is all him and Belle. But, I think your attempt looks great.

HH said...

I shouldn't read your blog when I am hungry because now I want pizza very badly and have no means of satisfying my craving! It looks great. I use a Jamie recipie for my pizza bases at home, making a big batch so as to be able to freeze them raw and have pizza in a moment. I look forward to hearing more pizza adventures!

HH said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Alicia Foodycat said...

MM - I love the image of Belle making pizza!

HH - I'll have a look at Jamie's crust recipe. My sauce was based on his and it is brilliant!

kat said...

We love making homemade pizza too, so much better than anything else. We grill ours in the summer but right on the grill, no pizza stone needed, it really makes an amazing pizza

HH said...

Its really quick, no proving and comes out nice a thin. I think the one I use is from the naked chef and he has tweaked it in Jamie's italy.

hungryandfrozen said...

I love margherita pizza so much...Had a chuckle about you being called signora instead of signorina, it was laughing with you not at you though :) if Dominos isn't the worst pizza place around then I definitely hope you get to use that pizza stone soon!

Deb in Hawaii said...

Gorgeous pizza--it has me drooling and craving pizza right now. I need to make my own pizza dough more often. I get lazy and buy the whole wheat dough at whole Foods too often.

Alicia Foodycat said...

Kat - I am amazed that it doesn't fall through the bars of the grill!

HH - I'll have a look!

Laura - we've had 1 go with the pizza stone - it's excellent!

Deb - if I knew where to buy pizza dough I would!

Inspired by eRecipeCards said...

grilled pizza... what a treat!

aforkfulofspaghetti said...

Yay! Well done, you!

If you're in London, you really should follow my friend Dan on Twitter at @youngandfoodish (and his blog at He's a food writer and organises regular trips to the best pizza places in London (some of them world-acclaimed). Perhaps then you'll find a pizza that will prevent you from pining any further...

jenn said...

I like how you kind of rolled the crusts up like that!

I've been making homemade pizza for a while now, and once you get the hang of it, it's quicker than take out!

I use a no rise dough.

1 cup warm water
2 cups flour
1 tsp. yeast
1/2 tsp. salt.

I mix it together in my kitchen aid with the dough hook until it looks like dough (it will be a little moist) I will measure out 3 oz. of dough at about 150 calories.

My favorite on the weekends is a breakfast pizza.

Roll out the dough, or push out the dough with your fingers. Bake for 5 minutes, then I top it with pizza sauce, chopped turkey bacon, red onion, some spinach and crack and egg on top, add some cheese and cook for 10-12 minutes or until its nice and browned and bubbly!

I'll have to check out the You Tube tutorial you watched!


Alicia Foodycat said...

Dave - sure is!

Forkful - I will look at his site but I will NOT do Twitter!

Jenn - I love the sound of the breakfast pizza! Thanks for visiting my blog!

Sharon said...

Oh that looks sensational. :)~~

Esme said...

Did you find that the pizza stone made a difference?

Alicia Foodycat said...

Poppy - thanks!

Esme - Didn't get to use the pizza stone yet - the weather hasn't been up to it!

The Cat's Mother said...

Bit of progress here - our Italian deli gets great bread and we were recommended to try the pizza base. Really good. Our pizza intake has gone from twice per year to every couple of weeks.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...