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Margherita

Photography © Andrea Federici and Giorgia Nofrini

Margherita

Margherita

MAKES 4 PIZZAS

1 quantity Basic pizza dough (see below)

1 quantity Basic tomato sauce (see below)

500 g (1 lb 2 oz) fresh mozzarella, chopped

basil leaves, to garnish

Preheat the oven to 240°C (465°F).

 

Top each pizza with the tomato sauce, then the mozzarella.

 

Bake for 10–15 minutes, until the dough starts turning lightly golden.

 

Garnish with basil leaves and serve.

 

BASIC PIZZA DOUGH AND TOMATO SAUCE

MAKES 4 PIZZAS

 

Basic pizza dough

500 g (1 lb 2 oz/3⅓ cups) plain (all-purpose) flour

2 teaspoons dried yeast

1 teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon sugar

400 ml (13½ fl oz) tepid water

extra virgin olive oil, for greasing

 

Basic tomato sauce

500 g (1 lb 2 oz) tomato passata (puréed tomatoes)

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

pinch of dried oregano or shredded basil

 

To make the dough, sift the flour into a large bowl, or the bowl of an electric stand mixer. Add the yeast, salt and sugar. Pour in the water and, if you are using a mixer, start to mix using the dough hook. If working by hand, start mixing with a fork, then use your hands to start bringing the ingredients together. If the dough is too wet, add a little extra flour.

 

When the dough is well mixed, turn it out onto a clean, floured surface and knead gently to form a ball. Place in a lightly greased bowl and cover with greased plastic wrap to stop the dough sticking when it rises.

 

The dough should take about 2 hours to rise. If the weather is warm it will rise easily; if it is cold, leave it in a warm spot near the oven or over a heater.

 

Once risen, turn the dough out onto a clean, floured surface and knead gently. Divide the dough into four portions. Cover with a damp tea towel (dish towel) and leave to rest while you prepare the toppings.

 

Preheat the oven to 240°C (465°F).

 

Each piece of dough can be rolled or hand stretched, depending on your preferred base. Rolling will create a thinner crust, while pulling the dough into shape by hand will maintain the air pockets and create a thicker crust.

 

Mix the passata and olive oil together in a small bowl. Add the herbs and a pinch of salt. Spread over the pizza bases, leaving a 2 cm (¾ inch) border around the edge.

 

Add your chosen toppings and bake for 10–15 minutes, until the dough starts turning lightly golden.

 

Authors note: Alice Kiandra Adams is a good friend, fellow Melbourne girl, and has been living in Rome for over a decade. She is an extremely talented cook and food stylist and worked on this book with me. She was given this recipe by the father of one of her Roman friends, who was a baker in Trastevere for many years. She says he still directs the pizza-making at family get togethers in the countryside where they have a wood-fired oven, the key to wonderful pizza.

 

This is a very basic recipe, with easy-to-use dried yeast and a rising time of only 2 hours.

Edited extract from I Heart Rome by Maria Pasquale, published by Smith Street Books $49.99

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