Some basic thumb rules:
- If using mozzarella or other melting cheese, use about 75-80g per pizza. That’s enough. Don’t bake the pizza with mozzarella di bufala – that’s a real waste. If you want to use this cheese, it’s delicious put on right at the end and bake no longer than a minute.
- Best basic mozzarella for pizza is a block variety, which you can cut into cubes and use.
- A lot of pizza topping are best added after the basic pizza is cooked – Parma or prosciutto and rocket, fresh basil and grated Parmesan to finish off. Ingredients that risk burning in the oven, for e.g. sundried tomatoes should be added half way through.
- Pizza is about the dough, so keep the toppings light, especially as this pizza thin and isn’t meant to be overloaded else the base will be too soggy
For a simple but delicious tomato sauce, follow the recipe under Cannelloni al Forno. For pizzas, flavour and punchiness of the sauce is crucial as it’s the dominant flavour. I make a few minor additions if needed to ensure the sauce is just right:
- If the tomatoes whether tinned or fresh, aren’t intense enough, add a little concentrated tomato paste to the oil and stir is for a minute before adding the tomatoes. This will intensify the tomato sauce.
- Taste the sauce at the end. If the flavour isn’t tangy, add a teaspoon or so of sherry or red wine vinegar and ½ a teaspoon of sugar.
Burrata & Sicilian tomato:
Halve and slow roast (150C oven) Sicilian or good cherry tomatoes with some fresh oregano or thyme and some seasoning, until they look a little shrunk. Don’t over bake as they will continue to cook atop the pizza. Top the dough with a little tomato sauce, and the roasted tomatoes. After the pizza is done, quarter and add the burrata.
Fennel sausage and onions:
This is a “White pizza” so spread a little cream on the base, spread a layer of sliced spring onions, crumbled cooked fennel sausage, (cooked but not browned), mozzarella (or fontina is great on this) and some chilli flakes if you want it hot. Finish off with a drizzle of balsamic glaze.
Caramelised onion, goat’s cheese, and diced bacon or pancetta.
When you caramelise the onions, don’t go all the way, as they will burn on the pizza. Bring them to a golden brown colour and stop cooking. On the prepared dough spread the onions, lumps of goat’s cheese and a little mozzarella if you like. Pine nuts are a good addition if you want to keep it vegetarian by skipping the bacon. Finish off with rocket dressed in a little olive oil and lemon.
Roast the mushrooms on the middle shelf of the oven whilst (you are preheating the stone). Toss with olive oil and seasoning and roast for about 10 minutes. They won’t be fully done. Once the dough is stretched, spread a little cream on the dough, top with a little mozzarella and spread the roasted mushroom. After the pizza is done, drizzle truffle oil. Finish off with rocket dressed in a little olive oil and lemon.
Pesto, sun-dried tomato, tomato & olives
On the prepared dough, spread some pesto, and add a few blobs of mozzarella or fresh ricotta. Finish off with some halved cherry tomatoes and olives. Other nice additions are goat’s cheese, peppers or some parma ham (added after baking).