Who doesn’t love a good pizza? Come on, don’t raise your hand. Everybody likes pizza. Not everybody likes my pizza though, and the only reason why it is so is that nobody has actually tasted it before, except my husband and a tiny bunch of friends, long long time ago. It’s really good, I must say, although the crust has something a bit different from the ones found in pizzerias or other pizza shops, but it does taste nice. Besides, I don’t have a wood-burning oven, so there’s no possible comparison with professional pizzas. I prefer warning you right now, ahead of your reading, that my tomato sauce has something really special in it this time, and that I had never tried before today. I replaced one of the ingredients, the tomato purée, with red wine, when I found out (the gas-stove was already on) that I had no more tomato purée in my pantry. But hey, I’m French, so I’m allowed. You, just pick what you think is best!
Homemade pizza really is something I’ve learnt from my mother. I’ve improved her recipe to my own taste in time, but what’s important here is that she taught me how easy it is to make a pizza by myself, and that I should not be afraid of trying, instead of always opting for the ones from the pizza shop. When we were younger, and still living at our parents’s, my sister, my brother and myself really enjoyed seeing our mom preparing the family pizza. Preparing this dish was a way for her to please us with a meal we’d like, but it was as well a way to feed us with a healthier version of the original pizza (more control over the ingredients needed in the preparation). It also was for her a chance for serving reasonable portions to all of us, and then there was always some room for a fresh mixed salad on the side, so that she could make sure we all had gotten our daily veggies too. Today, I don’t always do this, but very often I like to serve my pizza topped with arugula salad, same as the Italians do (and I just looooooove it). The bitter taste of these greens adds something really special to the flavors of this pizza.
This pizza has a thin crust, and nicely melting gooey cheese. The advantage of making a pizza by yourself at home is that you can decide how thin or thick you’ll bake your crust, and how far you’ll melt your cheese. I don’t know whether it’s the same for you, but personally speaking, I’m often disappointed by delivery pizzas, because the cheese never is as I like it by the time it reaches my house. And since the pizza place downstairs my apartment has shut down a few weeks ago, I now see one more good reason to getting back to homemade pizza. So here it goes. A very simple vegetarian recipe, and a pizza you can basically top with any ingredient of your liking, veggie, meat, you name it.
For the Crust / your own pizza dough:
- 300 grams of all purpose flour (adjust if needed when kneading)
- 180 ml of water (adjust if needed)
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tsp salt
- (a bag of dry yeast if you want a thick crust)
For the Sauce:
- 1 cup of tomato purée (I hadn’t got any, so I replaced it by red wine. If you’re French, try that. If you’re not, just pick what you think is best! –> red wine)
- 1 tbsp of olive oil
- 90 grams of tomato paste
- hot pepper ( I used the Italian ground Pepperoncino)
- a few basil leaves, minced
- 250 ml of water
For the Toppings:
- Red bell pepper slices
- Grated Emmenthal cheese
- 2 Fresh Mozzarella balls
- Niçoises olives with pit (or if you can’t find them, Kalamata olives, the Greek ones)
- Basil leaves, whole.
- Prepare the dough by combining all ingredients, and knead for a good 10 to 15 minutes. Leave at rest under a clean dry kitchen towel for an hour.
- In the meantime, prepare the tomato sauce.Mince the basil leaves. Combine all ingredients in a saucepan, and keep an eye on the mixture. You might want to stir regularly and adjust the level of heat several times to avoid burning in the bottom while keeping an honest heat so the sauce can slightly thicken at some point. The expected result still is liquid, but not as thin as water. Prep time is around 30 minutes.
- While the dough is resting and while the sauce is simmering, get all your toppings slices and ready.
- Preheat the oven at 190 degrees Celsius.
- Flour the surface of your table and roll the dough with a roller pin, flipping it over from time to time. I like to make my pizza the rectangular shape of the oven baking tray instead of making a round one (there will be more to share in the end!).
- Transfer the pizza crust onto the oven baking tray then. Make holes with a fork.
- Bake it in the oven for 5 solid minutes.
- Take the tray out, and start preparing the pizza.
- Spread some tomato sauce over the crust (you might have extra sauce left after that, so just keep it in a mason jar for another recipe, or another pizza tomorrow?!)
- Spread the grated Emmenthal cheese to lightly cover the whole pizza. Do not put a thick layer of this cheese.
- Display the red bell pepper slices.
- Set the slices of Mozzarella same as I did on the middle picture of the post.
- Add a few olives here and there.
- Put back in the oven and bake for about 10 to 15 minutes depending on your oven and how gooey you like your cheese. Applying these two conditions only are worth it if the pre-baking of the crust has been done long enough in order to guarantee the pizza will be cooked whether you bake it 10 or 15 minutes.
- Take the pizza out of the oven, and display basil leaves over. It’s ready!
Created and Written by Sophie Rebibo-Halimi. © 2017 All Rights Reserved.