There’s so much to be thankful for on these frenzy free weekends.
It might be sleep-ins, time spent with friends or catch up reading (which often equates with cook book & food blog stalks) and can often lead to hungry moments of course!
Inevitably my thoughts will turn to dinner… either simple meals, (or those elaborate one’s you plan days in advance) as a special treat.
Including those days you consider a careful shop for all those wacky ingredients you’ve been meaning to try (pink cauliflower anyone?)
For me, when there’s time, I like to perfect some tried & true favourite’s. Sometimes it’s recipes that I’ve written and would like to revise? Or little suggestions from others to tweak a familiar dish to get better results next time. None more so than pizza making, which is a tried and true art!
When getting down to the nitty gritty of pizza making, for me the secret to a nice chewy crust begins with a slow rise of the dough the night before hand.
It’s about preparing that dough lovingly, & tucking it into a bowl (to bed…)
The next morning, I like to give the starter a little massage before I wake up that mixture and bring that dough into submission!
Whilst there’s usually some fairly common ingredients like mushrooms, tin tomatoes & mozzarella in the giaff household. Sometimes I like to freshen things up with some fresh lemon zest, cured zucchini or even Radichio!
Other days, I mightn’t even bother with anything at all.
Perhaps just parsley, salt and olive oil, did I mention this recipe works just as well for a crisp flatbread too!
So are you ready to channel your inner Italian? Then it’s time to get ready for some Pizzette.
For me the secret to a nice chewy crust begins with a slow rise of the dough the night before hand. Also I keep the dough fairly soft and only add a little flour, or semolina/cornmeal to dust as I go. This helps to retain some water and hence a better chewy texture at the end, like this one!
Makes approx 6-8 medium sized pizzette,
1 portion bread starter, preferably proved overnight. See below, for some great posts on artisan bread starters.
Plus extra 1 cup of flour
1 cup of semolina or cornmeal to dust the trays and dough.
A selection of different toppings, (we went meat free for this one,) I’ve used:
Olive oil, Zucchini, boccocini, Anchovies, Mushrooms, Thyme, Parsley, Rocket & radicchio leaves, Dried chillies. Also a tin of chopped fresh tomatoes or Tinned tomatoes to dress the bases too, (onion & garlic optional)
You’ll also need a vegetable peeler, rolling pin, mixing bowls and some baking trays,
Preheat the oven to 180C (356F.) Dust a few baking trays with some semolina or cornmeal and set aside.
Stir some flour into the starter from the night before. I added approximately half a cup of plain flour in the end. The dough should still be soft and a little sticky, so handle lightly.
Divide into 6-8 portions and carefully roll out the Pizzette into a fairly rustic shape. Do a few at a time and place onto the pre dusted baking trays.
If you find the dough is too sticky to handle, try dusting the board with extra semolina or cornmeal and press the dough onto it before you roll out. That way you won’t incorporate too much flour, whilst still making it easier to handle. Better yet, the semolina or cornmeal gives you a beautifully crunchy, crust too!
Use a variety of toppings, perhaps starting with a traditional margarita base, (tomato and Mozzarella.) I like a bit of crumbled dried chilli and a light sprinkle of lemon zest over the pizzette too.
How about some colour, with Radicchio and Zucchini ribbons dressed with salt, lemon juice, olive oil and pepper. The Mozarella is optional but delicious of course!
Tomatoes, mushrooms, thyme and wait, more mozzarella!
Ideslly, bake each Pizzette in the hot oven (on the middle shelf) for just around 12mins. The crust should sound hollow when tapped and the middle will be just cooked.
If you plan on doing these delicious crisp breads, turn the oven up to 200C and bake until quite firm all over. Mine scorched a little but this adds to the rustic appeal.
Lastly, finish the flatbreads with chopped parsley, good quality sea salt and olive oil to serve.
Hopefully you and your inner Italian will have a lovely feed tonight! Mangiamo