The other day when my hubby was travelling, the little fellow at home insisted on having pizza for dinner. Generally, I'm super lazy to plan to go out for dinner on a weekday and that too without the hubby. Instead, I usually prefer to order in the food. However, pizzas here are not the best when delivered home and worse, they're barely warm soggy sops by the time they get here. And if there's one thing I can't stand, it's a soggy pizza! Highly Unappetising!
Since the little boy refused to eat anything else that day, I thought I'd give pizza-making a try. Even if the crust wasn't as crispy or yummy as it's supposed to be, atleast it'll be hot and have cheese melting over meat and veggies over a sauce I know we like. :) I mean it can't be as bad as the soggy stuff we would otherwise end up paying thrice as much for, right! So out came trusty ol' Google and a few key strokes later, I had a recipe I was happy to try out. It didn't involve large waiting times for the dough to rise etc so it looked perfect to me. Besides, mamma and son had fun deciding on favourite topping combinations and the whole house smelled like pizza hut! In all, a satisfying meal and a super evening.
We're waiting to do this with Daddy now! :)
Mini Pizzas (Makes about 4 medium sized pizzas)
For the pizza base
250 gms all purpose flour (or strong bread flour)
20 gms semolina
1 tsp superfine sugar
1/2-3/4 tsp salt
1.5 tbsp olive oil
5 gms dried yeast
150 ml warm water
For the sauce
1 can tomato pulp or 2 cups freshly made tomato puree
1 large onion, chopped fine (optional)
3-4 garlic cloves, sliced fine
1 tsp oregano or italian seasoning
6-8 fresh basil leaves (optional) or dried basil
1 tsp sugar
salt and pepper to taste
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp of tomato ketchup
To make the base:
Mix all the dry ingredients together and slowly stir in the water to form a soft dough. The dough should not be sticky so stop adding water once all the flour has come together.
Knead the dough on your counter for a good 10 minutes making sure to press the dough down with the heel of your and hand and pulling it back together. This will help the gluten get working. Knead till the dough turns soft a smooth to touch.
Smear oil all over a bowl and place the dough in it. Cover with cling film and let the dough rise for 45 minutes. And in the meanwhile, make the sauce.
Once the dough has almost doubled in volume, punch it back down and knead again on a lightly floured counter top for another few minutes and then cut into 4-5 equal chunks.
Roll out chunks into smooth balls and press into disk shapes. Then roll out with a rolling pin into 1/2 inch thick disks and set aside on a floured baking sheet for another 10-12 minutes to rise again while you organize all your toppings and preheat the oven to 230 C.
To make the sauce:
Add oil and garlic in a pan and let it heat up slowly together so that the oil is infused with the garlic flavour.
Add the chopped onions once the garlic starts turning a light golden shade.
Add the tomatoes once the onions are soft. Add your choice of fresh or dried herbs and condiments, salt and pepper. Let the tomatoes cook on a medium-low flame for 15-20 mins. till the sauce thickens nicely.
Add the tomato ketchup and check for taste. Add sugar if the sauce feels too tart/sour. Your sauce is now ready to be spread out on pizzas or use as a base for any of the tomato-based pasta sauces.
To assemble the pizza:
Spread a thick layer of the sauce.
Sprinkle a little bit of cheese as a base.
Arrange your choice of veggie and meat toppings.
Sprinkle some oregano and/or chilli flakes.
Sprinkle more cheese to seal it all in.
Bake in oven for 20 minutes or till the edges of the pizza base have started turning golden.
Enjoy your hot and crisp home-made pizza with a tall glass of lemonade!
Stir fried slides mushrooms
Sweet corn nuggets
Chopped bell peppers in different colours
Fresh tomato slices
Red kidney beans, cooked
Smoked cheddar cheese, shredded
Leftover grilled chicken breast
Italian sausage chunks
Shrimps coated in butter, garlic and basil
Note2: The whole process took me about 1.5 hours from start to popping things in the oven - including the time to let the dough rise, making the sauce and cutting up the veggies. I started around 6:30 p.m. and by 8:30 p.m. we were biting into our first crispy slice. So even though it looks like many steps, don't get put off by it. It really doesn't take too long, even if like me, you're making the sauce and prepping the veggies at the same time.