Whenever I think of romantic candlelit dinners, I always think of Italian food for some reason. Maybe it's because in The Lady and the Tramp the dogs eat spaghetti and meatballs, or because there was an advert for Ristorante pizzas on telly when I was a kid that showed a couple romantically eating pizza in a swanky Mediterranean open air restaurant, or because most of the high end restaurants in Limerick are Italian, I'm not sure. Although, it's not the most dignified or romantic thing to eat, and the fact it started life as peasant food makes it even more ironic.
However, I can tell you categorically, I love pizza. Especially Chicago style pizza with thick, fluffy bases.
I had promised in my bread rolls post that I'd do a pizza recipe, and I always deliver (well, sometimes)! So, I thought I'd try and do something nice and Valentine-y with pizza.
- Half a batch of dough, made with this recipe, with half the directed amount of sugar
- Sliced pepperoni, or salami
- 3½ ounces (100 grammes) grated mozzarella cheese
- 3 ounces (85 grammes) grated mild cheddar cheese
- Half a bell pepper, colour of your choice, cut into quarter inch (5 millimetre) cubes
- 5 ounces (140 grammes) passata with herbs and garlic, or plain pasta sauce
- Optional: Quarter of a red onion, thinly sliced
And this equipment:
- 2 large flat baking trays, or 12 inch (30 centimetre) pizza tray
- Deep casserole dish with a lid, or a large mixing bowl and clingfilm
- Rolling pin
- Small saucepan
- Prepare the dough according to the recipe, which will take roughly two hours.
- When it has finished its second proof, preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F, Gas Mk.6)
- Make the pizza sauce by cooking the passata, or pasta sauce, in a saucepan over medium high heat and reduce it by half the thicken it.
- Using a heart shaped cutter, cut hearts out of as many slices of pepperoni you want. Cut the scrap pepperoni into little pieces to sprinkle over the pizzas.
To make individual pizzas,
- Divide the dough into three (roughly 100 grammes per portion), roll into balls, and leave the other two balls covered while you work with the first one.
- Roll the dough ball out to about a quarter inch (5 millimetres) thick. Pick it up, and stretch it out a little: this will make the middle thinner and the edges thicker, to make a crust.
- Place the pizza bases onto the baking trays before putting on the toppings, because they are difficult to move once decorated.
- Spread a third of the sauce all over each pizza, leaving the crust clear, then sprinkle the mozzarella, chopped pepperoni, pepper, and onion, if using, all over the tops.
- Sprinkle the cheddar on top of the other toppings, and then decorate the tops with a pepperoni heart each.
- Cook in the oven for 15 minutes, swapping the trays half way through to allow each tray to get a trip near the top of the oven for extra crispiness.
To make one large pizza,
- Roll the full dough ball as above, then place on the round pizza tray.
- Put the toppings on as above, decorating finally with pepperoni hearts.
- Cook for 20 minutes, or until the bread is nicely browned, and the cheese is nice and crispy.
This recipe is quite adaptable and versatile, so you could put anything on the top. You could also make the pizzas heart shaped if you like, or use this recipe for any kind of celebration!
THIS TIME IN 2016: Yeast and Wheat Free Cinnanomnom (or just plain Cinnamon) Rolls
THIS TIME IN 2015: Experiment: Spelt Bagels (Wheat-, Dairy-, Egg-, and Yeast Free)
THIS TIME IN 2014: No blog