Pablo's dad is the king of homemade pizza - I can easily mow through about three or four whole pizzas when he makes them, they are...so delicious. We thought we'd test how much we really need him (ha) by bravely going it alone this evening, and proved to ourselves once again that we are pretty awesome. But that we still need Konch, if just to make us perfect pizzas! Ok, ok.. he has a few more uses than that. Our fairly failsafe recipe, below, is Jamie Oliver's - I know it's not cool but I am crazy about him. Recipe below is enough dough for 6 to 8 pizzas.
1kg strong white bread flour, or 'Tipo 00' flour
(or 800g strong white bread flour + 200g finely ground semolina flour)
1 level tablespoon fine sea salt
2 x 7g sachets dried yeast
1 tablespoon golden caster sugar
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
650ml lukewarm water
Jamie's instructions (see link above) are to make the dough on a work surface, which is lovely and rustic, but for practicality (and, ok, laziness) we tend to use the trusty Kitchenaid, so these notes are slightly altered from Jamie's original recipe.
Sift flour and salt into mixer bowl and make a well in the middle. In a separate bowl, mix the warm water, sugar, yeast and oil and let stand a few minutes. Add liquid to the flour mix and knead via dough hook mixer attachment until the dough is smooth and springy (not sticky), about 6 mins on a medium setting. Plonk it into a flour dusted bowl, dust with yet more flour and cover with a damp tea towel. Leave somewhere warm to rise - about an hour, until the dough has doubled in size. Our dough was BANANAS. It became fairly giant and if we took our eyes off it for ten minutes it pretty much doubled again. I'm not sure why it was so keen!
For tomato sauce fry 4 cloves of garlic in 4 glugs of extra virgin olive oil until browning, then add 2 x 400g tins plum tomatoes (we actually used 1 x plum and 1 x chopped tomatoes, because I had forgotten to stock up on plum, and it was fine). Also add a fat handful of torn basil leaves and season with salt and pepper to taste. Bring to the boil, then immediately strain through a sieve. Use a spoon to really squish out all the juice, then simmer this strained sauce until it thickens a bit - 5-10 mins.
Once your dough has risen, tip it onto a floured board/surface and beat the air out of it. Pablo is very into the Avengers at the moment - especially Hulk - and this was a highlight for him. Get the oven heated up to 250C, and pop in your pizza stone or baking trays to preheat. Divide the dough into portions (6 to 8 for this recipe). Roll out a portion on a floured surface to about 5mm thick. This is where we realised we needed Konch - our dough was SO springy it seemed unlikely we'd ever get it thin enough, and our pizzas came out a bit fat and bread (but totally cooked, and totally yummy). It's possible we are just weaklings, however, as Konch came home later and promptly used up the rest of the dough to make some totally perfect thin pizzas*. (Don't tell Pablo I said he might be a weakling...)
Once rolled out, you should really pop it straight on a hot tray/stone and speedily decorate/top it there before popping it in the oven. This isn't very child friendly, though, so we decorated at the table and then I slid the ready-topped pizza onto the hot stone afterwards, which was a tiny bit awkward but worked. Obviously key is fat, milky balls of mozzarella - buffalo if you're feeling flush, though the cheaper cow-stuff works just fine. Cover the base with a couple of tablespoons of tomato sauce, spread it out with the back of a spoon and then scatter with torn mozzarella. The rest of the toppings are up to you - I am partial to a bit of pepperoni and a load of fresh basil. YUM!
Bake in the top of the oven for 8-10 minutes. DEVOUR.
* One of the pizzas Konch later made he topped with leftover fish and chips from the night before. With tomato, and mozzarella. Seriously, I married this person**.
** Yes, he is Scottish...