Sorry but I’m having a lazy August blog-wise – this is mainly due to the children being off for the school holidays which means I just don’t have the head space for writing anything. Despite this though I just had to take the time to tell you about a new food revelation of mine.
I while ago, when searching for courgette recipes on the internet, I read about a type of Italian pizza with zucchini as a topping. I dismissed the idea at the time because I thought it sounded horrid. I imagined watery, anaemic looking courgettes making the dough go all soggy. But I recently made a griddled courgette salad to go with a margarita pizza (I had no other salad items in my fridge and was drowning in a sea of them) and realised that if you piled the courgettes on top of the cooked pizza it actually tasted very, very nice indeed.
So for anyone with a glut of courgettes, I urge you to try this.
Cut several medium courgettes into slices length-ways as finely as you can without chopping off your fingers. Season with salt and pepper and brush each slice on both sides with olive oil. Then place on a griddle pan over a very high heat for about 5 minutes each side (or until soft and slightly scorched).
When cooked place in a bowl and cover with cling film. When you are ready to serve drizzle over a little olive oil and lemon juice (you may also need a touch of extra salt and pepper), then toss around in the bowl so that the flavours mingle.
I wrote about homemade pizza nearly a year ago now in my post ‘Basic pizza dough and two ways to use it for a Saturday night tea‘ but if you missed it here’s a recap.
Basic pizza dough
Makes two square pizzas that fill a 33cm square tray
- 350g strong plain flour (but bog standard plain flour will do if that’s all you have in the cupboard)
- 2 teaspoons dried instant action yeast (I use Allinson’s which comes in a small green tin)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- Warm water – 200-250ml
- A sprinkle of semolina (to stop the pizza sticking to the baking tray)
Put the flour, salt, yeast and olive oil in a mixing bowl and add the water gradually mixing with your fingers. You want to bring the mixture together into a fairly wet dough – you may not need the whole 250ml. If you add too much, and the dough is too sticky to work with just sprinkle on a little more flour.
Tip the dough on to the work surface and knead until the dough is smooth and elastic. Ideally you should knead for at least 10 minutes but I have little patience and am usually in a rush so it tends to be more like three and the results are just fine.
Put the dough back in the bowl, cover with cling film, and rest for at least 1 ½ hours (although 2 hours is better).
After this time take off the cling film and give the dough a good punch to knock out the air. Transfer to the work surface, knead lightly for a few seconds and divide into two (as this recipe is enough for two bases).
Assembling and cooking the pizza
Set your oven to its highest temperature (mine goes up to 270oC) and place two flat, square trays in the oven to heat up.
Rolling out the base can be tricky as pizza dough is very elastic. It resists being stretched and wants to spring back so this part can feel like treading water. My technique (which seems to work) is to stretch the dough carefully with my hands first before using the rolling pin. When you have made a round of about 20 cm by pulling in all directions with your hands, liberally flour your work surface and a rolling pin and roll the disk until the dough is really thin and large enough to fill your baking tray. Repeat the process with the second portion so that you have two bases.
Place the rolled out pizza bases onto two heated baking trays.
Smear the bases with some tomato passata (I sometimes make my own, but when lazy use the ready-made stuff in a carton). Tear up some basil leaves or drizzle over some pesto, then slice two packets of mozzarella cheese (170g balls) thinly and place evenly on top. Bake in the oven for about 10 minutes or until the base is crisp and the cheese is melted and browned.
Serve the pizza with the griddled courgettes on the side but eat together as below.