Thursday, October 7, 2010


Considering that this pizza takes 25 minutes to make, from scratch, it's absolutely outstanding. The taste of it is up there with the best pizzas I've ever had. And, I tell you, I've eaten some pizza in my life. I'm like a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle in a wig.

The texture of the dough is the thing that you sacrifice for speed and ease here - although it's by no means the worst-textured pizza base I've ever had. It's probably up there with all the commendable-but-still-second-rate pizzas.

This is, again, from Jamie's gramatically-incorrect 30 Minute Meals book because I got it last week and I'm mostly cooking from it.

This is the pizza as I made it, not quite to his recipe. If you wanted to do it to his exact recipe, I'm sure you could track it down somewhere, although it's not on his website yet.

Chorizo "Cheat's" pizza for 1 greedy person, or 2 not-greedy people

110g self-raising flour
some water, about 100ml
olive oil
chorizo - about a handful of small cubes
basil leaves
1 clove garlic
1 ball mozarella
1 tin chopped tomatoes
splash of vinegar
1 red chilli

1 Start by chopping up all your topping ingredients and whizzing up your tomato sauce.

2 To make the tomato sauce, put 1/3 a can of tomatoes, 5 basil leaves, I small clove garlic, 1 glug olive oil, I good pinch of salt and a splash of red wine or cider vinegar into a food processor and whizz for 10 seconds. Set to one side.

3 To make the pizza dough, put the self-raising flour, 2 good pinches of salt and 1 glug olive oil into a bowl. Then add water by splashes and mix until you get a dough. Turn it out onto a floured surface and pummel into a consistent ball, then roll out into a more-or-less round shape - as thin as you can get it, is my advice. Don't be afraid to use a lot of flour here. The aim is for the dough to not stick to itself or anything else.

4 Okay, now let's talk frying pans. What you are going to do with this is first fry it to cook the bottom and then grill it to cook the top (unless you have a wood-fired pizza oven in which case I HATE YOU).

So the frying pan you use is a bit of an issue.

The first time I made this, I used an All-Clad skillet and the pizza stuck to the bottom and had to be chipped off by my husband, hence:

So this time, I decided to use a non-stick pan. I know, I know, but I couldn't see another way. The only problem was that I was worried the plastic handle would melt under the grill, so I wrapped a wet tea towel round the handle to protect it.

You can use whichever frying pan you like for this, but I wanted you to be armed with the potential pitfalls of all types.

So once you've chosen your frying pan, set it on the hob, pour in a glug of groundnut or vegetable oil and then heat it until it's red hot. And I mean hotter than the fires of hell and tarnation. Swill the oil around so there are no dry bits. At the same time, put your grill on to full whack.

5 Lower your pizza dough into the frying pan. This is fiddly and I spazzed it completely first time round. The second time, I made sure the dough was well-floured and so less liable to tear and then picked it up by laying a rolling pin across it, wrapping one side of the dough over it and then carrying to the pan and laying it down.

6 Cook this for about 2 min 15, which is approximately when the bottom will start to burn. If you're using a non-stick pan it ought to be fairly straightfoward to lift up the edges of the pizza to have a look at what's going on underneath. The top will go bubbly.

7 Pour over your tomato sauce and spread around a bit, then scatter on your other topping ingredients.

8 Shove the pan under the grill - wrapping a plastic handle in a wet tea towel if you're feeling neurotic, or just taking your chances - for about 4 minutes or until the edges of the dough blacken a bit and the topping is bubbling away and brown. Until it looks like a pizza, basically.

This is a thing to do for only one or two people because it's just impractical and mad to attempt to do it for more - one person or couple will have pretty much finished their pizza by the time the next one is made. I did think that this might be a really fun thing to do with a couple of 8 year-olds, (although probably with a different topping), but I may possibly be mis-understanding what 8 year-olds like to do with their spare time.

The first time you do this, it'll probably be a disaster, as mine was. But if you fancy making a pizza, do persevere, because it works and it is, I promise, delicious.

For a better dough, (although I haven't tested it out yet), Jamie Oliver's At Home book has an authentic-sounding recipe on p.182.

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