I love Italian food! I could eat pasta every day. I also love the principle of Italian cooking: Good ingredients prepared simply and with love. I make my own pizza at home, it’s easy to make and you can use the best ingredients available, as well as customising the base and toppings to suit your preference.
The dough can be prepared in less than 10 minutes, with 15-30 minutes proofing time to prepare everything else.
I made a traditional thin base but often I like a thick bready base, like my mother used to make.
When I make a sauce for pizza I make more than I need and portion and freeze the remainder for quicker future pizzas! I’ve probably never made the same sauce twice, sometimes I use fresh tomatoes and roast them with the onion and garlic (I might add red pepper or chillies), and then blend with fresh herbs but in my lazier (or hungrier!) moments I have been known to chuck a tin of tomatoes into the blender with a couple of cloves of garlic and a sprinkle of dried herbs and spread it straight on the dough. The basic formula is easy to remember if you think of Italy, or rather, the Italian flag colours: red, white and green. Red = tomato, white = allium (onion/garlic), green = herbs (basil/oregano), don’t forget salt and pepper to season!
Thankfully, on this occasion I had a portion of sauce already. I chopped and roasted a very small amount of Dandelion root that I had leftover from weeding the garden. I seasoned it with salt, pepper and a drizzle of olive oil and cooked in the oven on a medium temperature, adding some chopped mushrooms that were looking past their best in the fridge!
I gathered a handful each of nettle, cleavers and wild garlic. The nettles and cleavers I roughly chopped and blanched in boiling water for a few minutes before draining.
I also marinated some smoked tofu in soy sauce, siracha, olive oil and salt and pepper.
My recommendation is to make pizza from scratch, using organic ingredients, however if you are really lazy and insist on buying ready-made pizza’s, (don’t do it!) you can still add some wild greens as extra topping.
- Strong white flour -about 300g
- Polenta grain (optional) -1-2 tablespoons
- Salt – a few good pinches or half a teaspoon
- Instant yeast – 1 teaspoon or 7g
- Olive oil – a small glug or two
- Warm water – start with 300ml but just use enough to make a workable dough
- Tomatoes – 1 tin or equivalent amount of fresh quartered
- Onion 1 small to medium
- Garlic 2-3 cloves (or more if you like it a lot)
- Basil (and or Oregano) a few pinches or sprigs
- Salt and Pepper (to taste)
- Finely chopped Wild Garlic leaves and buds -about a handful
- Grated Violife mozzerella-style cheese -half a block
- Blanched Wild greens (nettles, cleavers) – a small handful of each
- Roasted Dandelion root with a few shrivelled mushrooms (optional)
- Marinated smoked tofu -not too much/not too little!
- Anything else you fancy!
Make the dough by mixing flour, salt, polenta and yeast and slowly adding enough water and a little olive oil to make a workable dough.
Knead it for as long as you can be bothered or at least until it has a smooth appearance. Place it into a bowl and cover with a damp tea towel, leave it somewhere warmish if possible to rise. I use the same bowl I used for mixing, you can rub a little oil around it to prevent sticking.
Make your tomato sauce. A good pizza sauce does benefit from a long slow cook to get a nice thick consistency but it’ll taste good either way.
Roughly chop an onion and gently fry in olive oil, crush the garlic cloves and add them to the pan. I like to add salt with the onions.
Dried herbs (Basil is best) can be added at this point, as well as freshly ground black pepper.
Once the garlic is soft, add tomatoes and simmer gently to reduce.Blend the sauce by whatever means available (stick blender, food processor, potato masher, repressed rage), adding fresh herbs and seasoning to taste.
When you have used what you need, freeze the rest in portions, I use small tubs but you could use a muffin or ice cube tray to freeze and then decant into bags or a large tub.
Assembling The Pizza:
(remember to preheat the oven to 200 °C)
Roll out your dough. I made a rectangular pizza (13×9 inches), my little girl made her own small round one (6inch).
I assembled the toppings in the following order:
- Tomato sauce
- Wild garlic
- A handful of grated cheese
- Nettles and Cleavers
- Grated cheese
- Other toppings (tofu, dandelion root mushrooms)
Bake the pizza in a hot oven for around 15 minutes or until desired crispness of crust is achieved.
Serve with homemade oven chips or salad. Or both!
Let me know what think of this recipe in the comments below and feel free to share your own suggestions or improvements.
Happy Foraging Foodies!