Makes 4 pizzas which feeds 4 people.
While it has traditionally been made with a simple mushroom topping (which is vegetarian), any good pizza combination will work – we’ve listed a few favourites below.
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The dough takes around 30 minutes to make, and then needs at least an hour to prove.
The sauce can be made in advance or while the dough is proving; it takes around 10 minutes to prepare and 20 minutes to cook.
Assembling the pizzas takes around 10 minutes if you’re doing all four at once, and they then take between 11 and 13 minutes to cook.
Ingredients & what you’ll need
From the Kitchen
- 4 pizza trays Sainsbury’s 14" trays are a great option, but Nonna’s trays work best if you can get your hands on some
- Large Mixing bowl
- Clean surface
- Chopping board and knife
- Rolling pin
- Flour shaker
For the dough
- 650g strong white flour preferably “00” grade flour, but any strong bread flour will do
- 7g sachet dried powdered bread yeast
- Pinch of salt
- Warm water
For the sauce
- ½ red onion and 2 sticks of celery Chopped as finely as possible
- Olive oil
- Pinch of salt and lots of ground black pepper
- 1 tbsp dried oregano
- 4 fat cloves of garlic
- 1 tsp pesto
- 1 tbsp tomato concentrate
- 450g tin of good quality chopped tomatoes
- 4–5 tbsp spoons of tomato passata
- 10 medium mushrooms sliced
- 400g mozzarella cheese
- Toppings of your choice
Making the dough
- Sift the flour, yeast and salt into a large mixing bowl.
- Add warm water a little at a time and manually mix into a dough. If it is too sticky add a a little more flour, if too dry add more water. It should have a pliable texture.
- Turn the dough onto a cold surface and continue to kneed for a few more minutes, dusting with flour from time to time to prevent it sticking to the surface.
- Fashion it into a ball.
- Put the dough back into the bowl and cover with Clingfilm (or a damp cloth).
- Place into a warm place and leave for at least 1 hour, preferably two.
Making the sauce
- Add a few glugs of olive oil to a pan on a low heat, and add the onions and celery.
- After a couple of minutes add the pressed garlic, pesto, tomato concentrate, and the salt and pepper.
- Allow to fry on a low heat for a few minutes until the mixture has softened and taken on the look of marmalade. If it is drying out, add a little more oil.
- The add the sliced mushrooms and stir together for 20 seconds. The mushrooms will absorb much of the oily juices.
- Now add the chopped tomatoes and the passata. Allow to warm for a minute or so and then remove form the heat.
Making your masterpiece
- Around 50 minutes before you plan to serve put on the oven to 240°F and allow it to heat up fully – it is important that the oven is very hot when you put the pizzas in.
- At the same time remove the dough from the mixing bowl – which should have trebled in size – and kneed it (adding more flour as necessary as it will now be stickier) on the cold surface.
- Divide the dough into four equal parts and then make each part into a ball and flatten it.
- Leave the dough discs to rest for at least 15 minutes. During this time they will rise again a a little.
- While you are waiting prepare the tins by lightly oiling and flouring them – it’ll stop the pizzas from sticking.
- Drain the mozzarella and chop into small pieces. Always prep more than you need as you might find a few rogue characters pinching the odd chunk if your back is turned!
- When the dough has rested, roll each disc (keep the flour shaker at hand!) into flat thin sheets and lay in the tins.
- Spread the tomato/mushroom topping (less is more) and add the mozzarella.
- Cook in the preheated oven for 13 minutes, but check after 11.
- Take the pizza out of the oven, slice, and enjoy!
This recipe covers the basic pizza, but if you’re looking to do it your way add your favourite topping(s) just before it goes in the oven. Here are a few tried and tested winners:
- Rob’s quattro formaggi A bit of blue, some lumps of goat’s cheese, and a creamy cheese like caciotta.
- Giorgio’s special Spicy chorizo and red chillies will add a kick to any pizza.
- Il Domenico Vero Black olives, onions, mushrooms, pepperoni and extra mozzarella
- Anna’s special Good quality bacon, black olives, and mushrooms.
- Hope’s veggie special Thinly peeled courgette, artichoke hearts, olives, goat’s cheese, and a sprinkling of basil.