By CJ | August 25, 2009
First off, I make this pizza all the time at home and I refine the sauce recipe every time I make it. For me a good pizza must have a great sauce because, let’s face it, you can get great toppings and cheese just about anywhere. I use Jamie Oliver’s pizza dough recipe as it’s very good and makes plenty of dough which you can freeze.
Here’s the link: Jamie Oliver’s Pizza Dough
I must stress that you should add semolina flour and try and find a good Italian Tipo ’00’ flour, although strong white bread flour will do and you can use normal caster sugar, it does not have to be golden. Make sure you follow Jamie’s recipe to the T and you will have perfect pizza dough.
Right the sauce… OK, some of you out there will know I’m not Italian and I do not follow recipes when it comes to making most of my dishes. My sauce recipe has been worked on for a long time now and I will show you how to make a basic sauce – but I add different ingredients all the time. Try adding different spices and tweak it until it tastes right for you. I love chilli on everything so I add this to the sauce to make it extra spicy… experiment; you’ll be surprised at what you can come up with.
CJ’s Basic Pizza Sauce (enough sauce for two medium/large pizzas)
1 Tin chopped tomatoes – 400g
3 Cloves garlic
1 Medium red onion
1 Vegetable stock cube
2 Bay leaves
1 teaspoon Italian herb seasoning
1 tablespoon butter
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
A good pinch of sea salt
Garlic salt to taste (be careful, it’s very strong)
1/2 teaspoon black cracked pepper
A dash of balsamic vinegar
1. Roughly chop the onion and garlic, and blend in a food processor to a paste.
2. Put 4 tablespoons of olive oil in a large pan and heat gently. Add the garlic and onion paste and fry gently for a couple of minutes – stir occasionally and make sure it doesn’t burn. Make sure the garlic and onion paste is almost cooked before adding other ingredients.
3. Add a large knob of butter and the vegetable stock cube to the pan and stir well.
4. Blitz half the can of tomatoes in a food processor and add this, plus the rest of the can, to the pan and heat gently (save the empty can for the next steps).
5. Add the bay leaves, pepper, salt, garlic salt and Italian herb seasoning to the pan.
6. Using the empty tomato can – fill with water, and add to the pan. Add a dash of balsamic vinegar at this point too. **you may also want to add red chilli or BBQ spice**
7. Taste the sauce, but remember you will need to simmer it for 10 to 15 minutes – until the sauce is of a thick consistency and the flavours are intensified. Add extra seasoning if required.
8. Remember the sauce must be of a thick consistency and must have a strong flavor, you want your pizza to taste good, and as I said before it’s all about the sauce.
9. Remove bay leaves and leave sauce to cool to room temperature.
OK… So you have your dough and you have your sauce …now the fun bit.
Pizza Toppings (for one medium/large pizza)
2 Portobello mushrooms
One ball of mozzarella – approx 125grams
Mature cheddar – as much as you want, but don’t overdo it!
Italian herbs or oregano
Cracked Black pepper, or chilli flakes
Right, there are many ways to cook pizza and I’m cooking mine in a normal home oven. Pizza joints have ovens that heat up to a much higher temperature than your standard domestic oven but that doesn’t mean you can’t cook great pizza at home. I cook my pizza on a rectangle oven chip tray with holes. You can get these at any supermarket for around a fiver. You must cook the pizza on this type of tray with holes or you’ll end up with raw dough in the middle of your pizza. You could use a pizza stone but they are expensive I always end up with perfect pizza using my chip tray.
Turn your oven on full and heat up your tray (or trays if you are cooking more than one pizza) on the top shelf of your oven. I heat my oven for about 30 minutes – do not be alarmed if you tray buckles a bit, remember you have to get maximum heat from your oven.
I don’t make my pizzas round; I flatten out my dough by hand and then finish off with a rolling pin. Make sure you dust whatever surface you are rolling your dough on with plenty of semolina flour. Every pizza I make has a different shape and they look very rustic, which I think adds to the flavor as the first bite is always with the eye. You do not want to have the base too thick, so keep it thin and even, and make sure that it will fit in your tray. Coat the pizza dough with semolina flour to add a little crunch.
Once the oven is hot enough take out your pre-heated tray and be careful not to burn yourself. Put the rolled out dough onto the hot tray. Spread on a thick coating of pizza sauce, don’t be shy here, lots of sauce means lots of flavor, and work quickly as you do not want the tray to get too cool. Break up the mozzarella and place on top of the sauce making sure it’s an even covering. Then add sliced portobella mushrooms, be generous and then grate mature cheddar over the whole pizza and finish off with a good sprinkling of Italian spice or oregano, and cracked black pepper.
Place pizza on to the top shelf of the oven and cook for about 10 minutes. If you are cooking more than one pizza swap them around after 5 minutes. The pizza should not need longer than 10 minutes. The cheese should be melted and have some colour – be careful not to burn the cheese. Gently slide the pizza onto a chopping board. Grate a little or a lot of parmesan and add black cracked pepper or chilli flakes to taste. And that’s it! Enjoy either on your own or with friends and family.
Please let me know how your pizza comes out… All the best and good luck, CJ.