. Difficulty: Medium
. Serves: 4 people
. Preparation time: 2 hours
. Variety: Pizza and flat bread
IngredientsFor the pizza base:
350g ’00’ flour (you can also use plain flour or strong bread flour if ’00’ is not available, but I find ’00’ gives a lighter, crisper base)
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp fast-action dried yeast
1 tsp salt
240 ml water (cold-lukewarm, not hot)
For the sun-dried tomato pesto:
8-9 sun-dried tomatoes (+ some of the oil they’re stored in)
1 clove of garlic
A handful of fresh basil leaves
1 tbsp toasted pine nuts
30g grated Grana Padano cheese
Salt and pepper
For the other toppings:
150g of grated Grana Padano cheese
A few cherry or baby plum tomatoes
A few olives
1 fresh red chilli (use more or less depending on how spicy you’d like your pizza to be)
A few slices of Prosciutto di San Daniele
A handful of fresh rocket
PreparationMake the pizza dough:
Put the flour, yeast and salt into a large bowl – Put the salt and yeast on opposite sides of the bowl to prevent the salt killing the yeast before it’s had a chance to work. Make a well in the centre and add half the water, mix well with your hands. Keep adding water a little bit at a time until all of the flour has been incorporated into the dough. The dough should be slightly sticky but not sloppy – If you accidentally add too much water add a sprinkle of flour and combine until you have the right consistency.
Spread a little of the olive oil onto a clear work surface and knead the dough in the oil. Keep adding a little oil until the full 2 tbsp have been incorporated. The dough can sometimes get sticky while kneading, keep persevering, it will improve, and don’t be tempted to add more flour or you’ll end up with a dry, heavy pizza base. Keep kneading the dough until it is smooth and springy. Put the dough into a lightly oiled bowl and cover with cling film. Leave to prove for 1-1½ hours (or overnight in the fridge) until the dough has doubled in size. Once the dough has doubled in size, remove it from the bowl and knead a couple of times to knock out all of the air.
While the pizza is proving make the pesto:
Add all of the pesto ingredients (minus the salt and pepper) into a small blender. If the pesto is a little thick then blend in a little of the oil from the sun-dried tomatoes until you have your desired consistency. Blend until there are no large lumps remaining. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Make your pizza:
Pre-heat the oven to 220°C/200°C fan. Divide your pizza dough in two and shape it into two circles about ½ cm thick. Spread the sun-dried tomato pesto onto the pizza base then sprinkle with the grated Grana Padano cheese. Top with the tomatoes (halved or cut into 3 for the larger ones), olives (sliced) and red chilli (sliced). Bake in the oven for roughly 12 minutes, until the crust is golden brown. Once cooked remove the pizzas from the oven and top with slices of Prosciutto di San Daniele and a few fresh rocket leaves. Enjoy!