In the past 50 years, Italian Pizza has become a phenomena around the globe- and why shouldn’t it? It’s got everything: carbs, dairy, veggies and meat. Pizza can be adjusted to suit anyone’s palette, from the pickiest of pickers to adventurous foodies. Rustic Italian Pizza Margherita scattered with fresh basil and cherry tomatoes is my preferable choice at a traditional Italian restaurant- prevalent in of course, Italy.
In Poland, my favorite Pizza Margherita can be found at Pomidoro, a neighborhood restaurant. I’m not a fan of their pasta, but Pizza? oh yes, please. The crust is crisp and soft, browned on the edges, the sauce is flavored with a mixture of herbs and tastes fresh. The mozzarella is not at all rubbery like at Pizza Hut, instead, it’s smooth and perfect, and the drizzle of olive oil adds a final panache. I always eat Pizza with chilly flakes- I like that burst of spice.
I love making and eating Pizza at home- I know exactly what goes into it, I use the best ingredients available, and it always tastes delicious no matter what you top it off with. My favorite is a greek style combination of basil, feta cheese, red peppers, sliced onions and rucola (arugula). My aunt’s brother-in-law is a pro when it comes to food- he makes pork ribs with THE best glaze. He too, makes pizza at home, and while I haven’t tried it yet, I imagine it’s delicious. He told me that placing tiles at the bottom of the oven gives the Pizza a wonderful crust. Next time I make Pizza, I’ll be sure to do that. Yum.
For the crust:
1 1/2 cups lukewarm water
1 sachet 2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast
3 1/2 cups bread or spelt flower
2 tsp salt
1 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp olive oil.
1 cup passata
1 tsp crushed garlic
1 tsp chopped parsley
1 tsp chopped basil
salt to taste
chilly flakes (optional)
8 oz (226 g) fresh Mozzarella cheese
Parmesan cheese – FRESHLY GRATED (around 1/2 cup)
Chopped green bell peppers (optional)
Sliced onions ( optional)
Sliced cherry tomatoes (optional)
Rucola (Rocket, Arugula- same thing) leaves (optional)
1. In a bowl, combine the sugar and water. Sprinkle over the yeast and let it activate.
2. In another bowl, whisk together the flour and salt.
3. Make a well in the center and pour in the olive oil and water.
4. Mix to combine, and place the dough on a flour service, adding as much flour as necessary so that the dough doesn’t stick. Knead the dough for 10 minutes or until it reaches an elastic texture.
5. Brush two glass bowls with olive oil and divide the dough into two portions.
6. Place the dough into the bowls and brush the surfaces with olive oil. Cover the bowls with cling wrap and place in a warm area for 1-1 1/2 hours, or until the dough has doubled in size.
7. In the meantime, combine all the ingredients to make the sauce into a bowl.
8. Take out 1 of the balls of dough and press it out with your fingers on a floured surface. Stretch out till it reaches 10 – 12 inches in diameter. Press around the edges to form a lip. Repeat with second ball of dough. Place both on a parchment lined baking sheet sprinkled with flour or cornmeal, and brush surface with olive oil to prevent dough from going soggy. Dent the dough with fingertips.
9. Divide the cheese and distribute between Pizzas, first the mozzarella and then the parmesan.
10. Place on desired toppings.
11. Bake in a 450 F or 230 C preheated oven for 10-15 minutes or until crusts are golden brown.