At it’s most basic, this recipe produces two “Neapolitan Pizzas” of dough + sauce + mozzarella for £1.80 and feeds 4. It takes 3 hours.
Start with the dough. This comes from an edition of Self magazine, that I purchased in (probably) 1992. It is so simple that it didn’t take me long to internalise the recipe. I have made this hundreds of times. Please read the notes at the bottom before proceeding.
Pizza Dough - makes 2, 12-inch pizzas (approximate cost 20p)
2.5 cups of flour (yes, two and a half measuring cups)
1 cup tap water
1 sachet or two teaspoons of easy bake yeast
1 teaspoon olive oil (can be left out)
2 pizza trays (or see note 5 below)
- Hand method: Take off your rings. Place your flour into a large bowl. Scatter over the yeast, then make a well in the centre and pour in the water. Coat your hands with the olive oil, allowing the excess to drip into the mixture. Using your fingers, fold the flour into the water. Continue until you have a smooth dough.
- Food processor method: combine all the ingredients in the bowl of the food processor and process until a ball of dough is formed. Turn the dough out into a large bowl.
- Both methods: if the dough is too sticky at this point, kneed in a little extra flour. If too dry, kneed in a tablespoon or two more water.
- Drape a clean tea towel over the bowl, and place it somewhere warm to rise for an hour. While waiting, make your tomato sauce.
- Take off your rings. Using your hands, knock back the dough. (Give it a good thump, then kneed for a minute or two.). Cover and leave in a warm place for another hour.
- Knock back your dough again then divide it into two halves. Form each half into a ball.
- Scatter flour over your work surface and rub into your rolling pin. Place the first ball of dough into the centre of your work surface and roll it out until it is a) circular, and b) fits your pizza tray. Carefully lift it onto your pizza tray. Repeat with the other ball.
- At this point, put your oven on to preheat at 240C. Allow the dough to rise for a further 20 minutes, before covering with toppings. Meanwhile, prepare your toppings.
- Top your pizzas and bake at 240C for 10-12 minutes. Serve.
- You might have noticed, that I keep telling you to take off your rings. Yeast dough can be incredibly sticky and hard to remove from your hands. You don’t want it caught up in your rings. If you do get coated in dough, soak your hands in water and wash well until the damn stuff comes off. Don’t be tempted to wipe if off on a towel, because it’ll harden to cement. (I learnt this the hard way.)
- To help stop the dough sticking to you hands, drizzle a small amount of olive oil into the palm of one hand and rub over both palms and your fingers. They will be greasy.
- Only baking for one or two? The dough freezes well. At the end of step 6, lightly grease the inside of a freezer bag, drop in one of the balls of dough and freeze. Remember to label the bag first.
- No rolling pin? Use an empty wine bottle or any similar shaped, tall, round, glass bottle. Remove the label first.
- No pizza tray? Or only one? You could use a flat cookie tray and form a lip around the edge of your pizza, to keep the toppings inside. Alternatively, if you only have one tray, you could leave the second half to rise again as a ball of dough, while the first one is cooking, but that will mean a two-part meal.
Now for the sauce. This is based on one from Delia Smith (aka St Delia of the Kitchen) but it’s not in the book that I thought it came from. The flour is to stop it separating and to help thicken it. (Tomato sauces have a tendency to separate and split.). It freezes well.
Tomato Sauce (approximate cost 65p)
1 onion, finely chopped (10p)
1-2 cloves garlic, crushed (5p)
2x400g cans chopped tomatoes (or the equivalent of home grown). (50p)
1 heaped teaspoon of flour
1 teaspoon dried basil
I-2 teaspoons muscovardo sugar
Possible splash lemon juice or vinegar
1 tablespoon oil
- In a decent sized saucepan, heat the oil over a low heat and gently fry the onion until it turns clear and glassy. Stir in the garlic and fry for a minute or two longer.
- Scatter over the flour. Stir well to ensure everything is covered.
- Pour in both tins of tomatoes, stirring continuously and bring to the boil. Turn down to a simmer and stir in the basil and one teaspoon of sugar.
- Simmer until very thick. (This may take 20-30 minutes.)
- Taste the sauce. Is it too sweet? Or too sour? If too sweet, stir in a splash of lemon juice (from a bottle). If too sour, stir in the second teaspoon of sugar.
- Allow to cool before spreading thinly on your pizza base.
Note: you may have sauce left over. Don’t be tempted to pour it onto the pizzas - it will make for a watery, soggy pizza and your toppings will slide off.
Scatter any combination of the following over your pizza:-
2 x Mozzarella balls, grated (90p)100g cheddar, grated (34p) - add to the mozzarella1 can anchovies, drained (70p)Sliced pepperoni or salami or chorizo or hamThinly sliced mushrooms and/or peppersThinly sliced olivesLeftover oven roasted sliced veg (peppers, mushrooms, onions)
Once, baked, the results should look like this.