Deep-pan pizza

Our obsession with lockdown Friday night pizza continues, but as the BBQ is currently broken (where we make crispy thin based pizzas in the summer), we’ve switched to deep-pan pizzas cooked in the oven. As with all doughs this one takes a couple of hours to prove, and I always make a double batch of the sauce and freeze half for the next time around. The meatballs are entirely optional, because the list of things you can put on a pizza is both endless and also depends on what you like, but I’ve included the recipe here. They’d be great with the sauce and some spaghetti too. Serves 6.

Ingredients

Dough:

300ml milk

500g strong white flour

1.25 tsp salt

1.5 tsp caster sugar

1.5 tsp fast action dried yeast

4 tbsp olive oil

Sauce:

2 tbsp olive oil

2 onions, finely chopped

2 garlic cloves, crushed

2 x 400g tins chopped tomatoes

2 tbsp tomato puree

2 tsp caster sugar

2 bay leaves

2 tbsp dried oregano

Salt & Pepper

Meatballs:

500g pork mince

100g breadcrumbs

1 egg yolk

1 tsp fennel seeds

Toppings:

1 tbsp fine polenta

200g grated mozzarella

Parmesan shavings

Extra dried oregano

Method: Dough

  1. Put the flours, yeast & salt in a big bowl & mix. Make a well in the centre and add in the oil and 325ml warm water.
  2. Mix to a rough dough, then tip out onto a floured surface (flour your hands too!) and knead for 10-15 minutes until the dough is smooth. Or fling it into a freestanding mixer using the dough hook for 10 minutes.
  3. Grease a clean large bowl with a little olive oil, scrape in the dough, turn it over to cover with oil, cover with a tea towel and leave to prove somewhere warm for 1.5 hours minimum or until doubled in size.
  4. Turn out onto a floured surface and knock it back by pressing down until it collapses. That bit’s fun. You can now use the dough to make pizza bases, rolls, flatbreads, whatever you feel like.
  5. Pieces of dough around 130g seem to be the right size for a one-person pizza, so divide up the dough (you can freeze any leftover pieces) and start to roll/press them out onto well floured boards.
  6. This dough is very stretchy, but also likes to rest for a few minutes, so I press it out, leave (covered in a tea towel), then roll/press it out a bit more after it has relaxed.
  7. Place the dough on a well floured baking sheet or board – smooth over a couple of large spoonfuls of sauce, toppings of your choice, and a layer of both mozzarella + cheddar. Or use ball mozzarella ripped into chunks, basically add whatever takes your fancy.
  8. We cook our pizzas on pizza stones on a gas BBQ (lid down), heated to really high – they don’t take long, and several fish slices or a cake lifter are invaluable in removing the pizza after its cooked.
  9. I like a handful of rocket plonked on my pizza after its cooked, or a sprinkle of sumac, or some fresh basil leaves.

Method: Sauce

  1. Chop the onion finely and pop into a medium saucepan with 1 tbsp olive oil. Fry until softened but not coloured.
  2. Tip in the tinned tomatoes, bay & oregano, stir, bring to the boil, reduce to a simmer and leave to reduce for 30 minutes.
  3. Remove the bay leaves, then use a stick blender to whizz until smooth.
  4. Cool before spreading on your pizza dough or you’ll end up with a sticky mess.

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