Pizza - the ultimate comfort food that tastes even more amazing when it's homemade. Food blogger Eat Like A Girl shares her favourite recipe below...
Let me dispel two pizza myths for you:
1. All pizza must have tomato sauce
2. Homemade pizza is difficult
With a little work but not much difficulty, you can make a frugal pizza night for a group of friends. A little money goes a long way, especially when you make the dough from scratch. All you need is time.
I am treating the vegetarians here. Vegetarian food does not need to be dull or lacking in flavour. There are many flavour bombs in the veggie world, one of my favourites is whole leaf sage crisped briefly in extra virgin olive oil. It's veggie bacon and goes so well with many things, but tomato and mushrooms are two.
So I have made two types of veggie pizza: one with mushroom, garlic and sage and the other with fresh tomato, chilli and sage, both using ricotta as base. The result is light and flavourful pizza that is super quick (once the dough is done).
This is super easy if you have a mixer with a dough hook, but more rewarding to actually do by hand yourself. I have a mixer these days but for my first 10 years in my rented London flat I had very little kit, and made these all the time.
Give them a try and then experiment with toppings yourself. Be the hero of your pizza party.
Recipe: Homemade Tomato Ricotta & Sage and Mushroom, Ricotta, Garlic & Sage Pizzas
Makes 4 - 6 pizzas depending on the size
450g strong bread flour
300ml tepid water - it should pretty much be body temperature and not hotter (to wake the yeast up)
10g active dried yeast
25ml extra virgin olive oil
Generous pinch of sea salt
100g small cherry tomatoes
100g mushrooms (I like chestnut as they have more flavour, splash out on some wild mushrooms if you can)
1 bulb of garlic, cloves removed but remaining in their skins
1 dried chilli or chilli flakes, if you can get Calabrian ones (in a good Italian deli) they are wonderful
5 sage leaves per pizza (or more if you love them, I can never get enough)
Make your dough by adding the yeast to the tepid water and leaving it to wake up for 10 minutes. You should be able to put your hand comfortably in the water, as per Goldilocks porridge.
Combine the flour, salt and olive oil. Create a well in the centre and add the water, bringing the flour in and mixing it as you do. Pull it all together to create a sticky dough. Knead it on a floured board for 10 minutes until it becomes more elastic - it will feel quite rough before turning stretchy and smooth.
Leave the dough to rest in a bowl covered with a tea towel or cling film, until it doubles in size. This will take an hour or two and will be fastest in the warmest part of your kitchen or airing cupboard.
Knock it back, but literally pushing it down and squeezing the air out, then leave it for a further five minutes.
Preheat your oven to its maximum temperature. You want it as hot as possible. While it is preheating put the garlic cloves in for 20 minutes drizzled in extra virgin olive oil to roast in their skins.
Divide the dough into handful size portions, then either roll it out with a rolling pin or with your hands and fingers, push the dough from the centre out to form a circle that is about 8 - 10 inches wide.
Create your pizzas by covering the dough first in a thin layer of ricotta, then covering in
- quartered cherry tomatoes, chopped chilli and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil
- thin sliced mushrooms, chopped roasted garlic, chopped chilli and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.
Put in your oven - they will cook quickly (8-10 minutes).
Cover your sage leaves in the extra virgin olive oil, then for the last 3 minutes place them on top of your pizza, allowing them to crisp. You can also crisp them separately and add them later, or crisp extra (you should - people will love them).
When the base is crisp and starting to brown on top, your pizza is cooked. Eat immediately with a sprinkle of sea salt and sage on top. Enjoy!
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