Midweek Meals – Pizza Post

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It is widely known that I have a pretty serious pizza addiction. I’m not kidding it’s really bad, Dominos can vouch for that.

Basically, pizza is Bae.

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I’m all for making healthier choices and thinking more about what I put in my body, but I simply refuse to give up my favourite food because what is life without the food you love? For this reason, this weeks mid week meal comes in the form of homemade pizza.

Now I’m not saying that this meal is super healthy but its certainly better for you than ordering a takeaway and I may be biased but I think tastes just as good!

So what makes this pizza a healthier option? Well for one it’s completely homemade (not by me unfortunately, I’m gonna have to give Jamie credit for this one), the base is wholewheat, the cheese is light and the toppings are all fresh vegetables.

Making a pizza from scratch can be daunting. Inevitably, the base always ends up soggy and the topping falls off. However, it can be done! I promise. We make these all the time and they turn out great! well… 90% of the time. Just remember these 3 golden rules (if nothing else!): First, KEEP YOUR OVEN HOT. Seriously, your average pizza oven is about 500 degrees, so the higher the better. Second, stretch your dough as thin as you can without it splitting. Your favourite pizza might be a Chicago style deep dish, but leave that to the experts. It’s tough. Last, but maybe most important, go easy on the toppings. Less is more and it’s easy to get carried away.

Got all that? OK. Let’s get cracking…

Ingredients (makes 2-4 pizzas depending on size)

Base:

500g Wholewheat Flour
325 ml of lukewarm water
1 teaspoon sugar (optional)
Pinch of salt
2 tablespoon olive oil
7g sachet of yeast

Tomato sauce:

300g pasata or 1 tin of chopped tomatoes
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
Handful of fresh basil
1 finely sliced chilli (optional)

Toppings:

250g mixed cherry tomatoes, roughly chopped
150g mushroom, finely sliced
1 red bell pepper, diced
Grated parmesan
1 or 2 balls of light mozzarella (depending on how many pizzas you are making), torn into chunks
Handful of basil leaves
Swig of olive oil

We decided to go for all veggie toppings but you have complete freedom to chuck on whatever your heart desires. Just remember the third golden rule: less is more.

To make the dough, empty the yeast sachet into the lukewarm water along with the sugar and the oil. Leave this for a couple of minutes to activate the yeast. Mix the flour and salt in a bowl and make a well in the middle. Pour your water mixture into the middle of the well and, using one hand, start to swirl the water while slowly incorporating the flour. Once this has almost all come together, tip the mixture onto a floured surface and begin to knead for 3-4 minutes. Put the dough back into an oiled bowl, cover with a tea towel and leave to prove for two hours.

This is the perfect time to make your tomato sauce. On a medium heat, fry the garlic and the chilli for a couple of minutes ensuring that the garlic doesn’t burn. Add the pasata/chopped tomatoes and let simmer for five minutes. Add the basil and cook for a further minute before removing from the heat and allowing to cool fully.

Turn your oven up full blast and place your tray inside to preheat. Take a fist sized ball of dough and roll out on a floured surface until it is about 1mm thick. Once the tray is fully heated, take from the oven, lightly dust with flour and pop on your dough. Spoon on your tomato sauce (sparingly) and chuck on your toppings! We finished with some grated parmesan cheese and a glug of olive oil.
And in the oven they go! Place on the top shelf and cook for between 10-15 minutes. Exactly how long will depend on the oven so keep checking! We set the timer for 12 minutes.

When it looks like a pizza (come on, we all know what a pizza looks like), take it out and enjoy!

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I’m going to be hones here, I sat on the couch with a glass of wine while all this was going on in my kitchen. So a big thanks to my boyfriend Jamie for this post and most importantly, the delicious pizza!

PS. Unsurprisingly, we didn’t make this recipe up… well, not entirely. For inspiration we turned to the Italian Stallion himself, Gennaro Contaldo!! You can find a YouTube video of the master at work here.

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