Don't you just love pizza!
I'm not a girl who skimps on her carbs and now I'm training for autumn marathons carbs are back on the agenda! And there's nothing better than a really good pizza. The trick to making pizza is to rollout and stretch your dough as thinly as possible. That way you'll get a thin and crusty base, rather than an uncooked slab of dough!
I made this from scratch using regular strong flour, but you could use a pizza or cibatta bread mix for the base too.
I topped my pizza with salami, sun dried tomatoes and spinach, but choose your favourite toppings. Even ham and pineapple is fine (I can't believe when we were in Italy last weekend my mother ordered a ham and pineapple pizza ... #tourists!)
Weigh out 450g strong bread flour into a mixing bowl and add 1tsp salt, 1tsp dried fast acting yeast, 1 tbs olive oil and 300ml warm water. Mix together in the mixer with a dough hook attachment until the dough forms together. Then turn out onto a floured board and knead for a few minutes until the dough is elastic. The kneading forms the structure of the dough, so is really important for the texture of your bread.
Return the dough to the bowl and leave in a warm place to rise for about 1 hour.
Whilst the dough is proving it's time to make up a tomato sauce. I chopped half an onion very very finely, with 1 clove of garlic (you can use more!) and sweated them off until the onion was translucent in a drizzle of olive oil. Once the onion was cooked and before it turned golden, tip in a tin of chopped tomatoes. e too spicy). Grind in black pepper and a twist of sale and add 1tsp chilli flakes (I like a little warmth in my sauce, but you an leave out chilli if you think this'll be too much! Give everything a stir and allow the sauce to cook down until thick.
After the dough has risen, firstly turn on your oven to heat up (you'll need it to reach 220C, so best to turn on how), then tip it out onto the board and knock back the air and give it a brief knead.
This is enough dough to make 2 large pizzas, so using a sharp knife cut the dough in two. One at a time shape the dough into a round and then roll out the dough into a rough circle as thin as you can get it.
Place the dough circles on greased baking sheets. Now's the fun part!
Spoon the tomato sauce over the pizzas and spread thinly to the edges. Then add on your toppings (I added a few slices of salami and chopped up sun dried tomatoes) evenly over the pizza finishing with thin slices of mozzarella.
Grate over black pepper and bake in a very hot oven (220C) for 15 - 20 minutes, until the top of the pizza is golden and beginning to char and the base crisp.
As soon as the pizza is out of the oven I threw on handfuls of spinach and allowed them to wilt for a few minutes, before tucking in!
This dough makes 2 large pizzas, that will feed 4 hungry people.