Mmmm....Pizza

Gourmet Pizza with savoury tomato sauce, chorizo sausage, cherry tomatoes, baby spinach, field mushrooms, ricotta cheese and sweet basil leaves

I was pretty knackered yesterday after class but summoned up enough strength to churn out a gourmet-licious pizza for two. As usual, it was more a case of rummaging through the fridge to decide what yum yums will satisfy our tum tums. So I gathered the chorizo sausage I bought a few days prior, some lovely field mushrooms, sweet basil leaves, a tub of ricotta cheese I had bought a few weeks ago; unopened but still good, J bought some cherry tomatoes, spinach leaves and a bottle of  tomato passata. I do not own a pizza stone so I made do with the unglazed back of a ceramic casserole dish which explains the non-round shape of my pizza; anything goes I guess, as long as we get fed…hehe

I just made the pizza dough using the recipe from my Kenwood Major recipe book and was surprised that it didn’t include the knock-back stage of bread making i.e. punching down the dough after it has been allowed to rise during the first proofing stage but we were getting hungry so didn’t think too much about it at that time. On hindsight I should have knocked back down the dough, roll it out then let it proof again as my dough was immensely puffy with trapped air bubbles when I placed the toppings on it. For flavour, I added some slightly caramelised onions to sweeten the tomato passata and a little tomato ketchup to round up the flavour of the sauce (just to balance out the acidity), chucked all the mentioned toppings, baked the pizza for 18 minutes, drizzled it with extra virgin olive oil and boy-o- boy it was yummy. J & I had the pizza in front of the TV and it was a nice night in.

Pizza Dough
(adapted from Kenwood: Recipes for the Kenwood Chef & Major)

225 g strong (high-protein) plain white flour
5 ml (1 tsp) salt
5 ml (1 tsp) fast action dried yeast
150 ml ( 1/4 pint) tepid (lukewarm) water
15 ml (1 tbsp) olive oil  

  1. Fit the dough hook. Place the flour, salt, yeast in the Kenwood Bowl. With the machine running at minimum, gradually add the water and olive oil. Knead for 5 minutes, until smooth and elastic (Note: If you don’t have an electric mixer with a dough hook attachment, you can do this by hand too; just knead until dough is smooth and elastic. I found that even with the machine, I actually had to knead my dough for a total of 10 minutes to get the right dough elasticity)
  2. Transfer dough to a lightly floured surface and shape into a smooth ball. Roll out into a 30 cm (12 inch) round and place in a lightly oiled pizza pan (stone would be better)  or a baking sheet, pressing up the edges.
  3. Cover the dough with lightly oiled clear film and leave in a warm place for 30-40 minutes, or until slightly risen and puffy. (I placed mine in a slightly warm oven with a pan of steaming hot water sitting at the base-just  some humidity to help the dough rise)
  4. Prepare your toppings (I used my own toppings, you can refer below)
  5. Preheat the oven to 220oC/425oF/Gas 7
  6. Spread pizza base with sauce first, followed with some cheese of your choice (mozarella and cheddar works well – nice and gooey) then add the remaining toppings, finish off with a sprinkling of more cheese (I opted for ricotta instead so I just dropped spoonfuls of ricotta on the rest of the toppings before baking)
  7. Bake pizza for 16 – 20 minutes or until bread dough looks golden brown on the edges.

Last Night’s Pizza Topping

1 medium to large brown onion, sliced
150 ml tomato passata,
1 tablespoon tomato ketchup
1 tablespoon water
pinch of salt, to taste
2 tbsp olive oil for cooking
1 chorizo sausage, sliced
125 g cherry tomatoes, halved
125 g ricotta cheese
1 – 2 field mushrooms, thinly sliced
a handful of spinach leaves,
a handful of sweet basil leaves,
cracked black pepper, to taste
light drizzle of extra virgin olive oil

  1. Heat up the olive oil and cook the onions for 10 minutes until slightly caramelised and light golden.
  2. Add the tomato passata, water and ketchup and cook for about a minute; season with pinch of salt and leave to cool slightly; use this sauce to spread over pizza base.
  3. Pour boiling water onto the spinach leaves to wilt; refresh in cold water, drain and squeeze out excess water.
  4. Top pizza with remaining ingredients and bake as above.

 nice pillowy elastic dough

 before baking

 EAT!

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