Friday, 27 May 2011

Asparagus & Buffalo Mozzarella Pizza & Garlic Pizza Bread

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Its been a pretty busy week running the studio while the boss was away but also a really fun one. When life gets hectic I turn to comfort food and pizza as we know is the ultimate in comfort eating. It is also perfect for sharing and as we had a house guest this week it couldn't have been more appropriate.

This pizza dough and tomato sauce recipe have become a real weekly staple in our house. This recipe will make you enough dough and sauce for 4 small or 2 large pizzas. We normally share 1 and pop the rest of the dough in the fridge to use through the week as flat bread, dough balls etc. This time around I made a really simple and quick garlic pizza and it was delicious but maybe serve the pizza with salad for a healthier flex. This recipe can be easily doubled to serve more people.

You will need-

For the pizza dough-

  • 500g strong white bread flour or Tipo '00' Flour
  • 1/2 tbsp fine sea salt
  • 1 7g sachet of dried yeast
  • 1/2 tbsp caster sugar
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 325ml luke warm water
For the tomato sauce-
  • Olive oil
  • 2/3 cloves of garlic peeled and finely sliced
  • 5 or so basil leaves torn
  • 1 400g tin of good quality whole plum tomatoes
  • salt & pepper
For the topping-
  • A bunch of good quality asparagus rinsed and prepped (bend the asparagus stalk till it snaps to get rid of the woody part)
  • Buffalo mozzarella torn into bits
For the garlic pizza bread-
  • A portion of the dough
  • 2/3 gloves of garlic
  • A pinch of salt
  • A glug of olive oil
  • A few sprigs of parsley
Right, Don't be put off by the list of ingredients this is really straightforward and well worth it!

Sieve your flour and salt into a bowl and make a well in the middle. In a glass combine your yeast, sugar, olive oil & water and leave for a minute or 2. Pour it into the well and then using a wooden spoon or fork gradually mix the flour into the liquid and keep mixing till it starts to all come together. Now dust your hands with flour  and knead till your dough becomes smooth & springy. - I must admit here that I used my bread maker on the pizza dough setting to do this as it gave me a chance to do all the washing up. If you have a bread maker I do recommend using it for this as it it programmed to do all the arm work for you and from experience has always come out perfectly. If you are doing it by hand place your dough in a large flour dusted bowl and sprinkle flour ontop of it, cover with a damp cloth and place somewhere warm till it has doubled in size.

While the dough is rising make a start on the tomato sauce. Get a saucepan on a medium low heat with a glug of olive oil in it. Add your garlic and cook for a couple of minutes till it starts to colour. Add your basil and tinned tomatoes and using the back of your spoon to squeeze the tomatoes on the side of the pan to get all the juice out. Season with salt and pepper and then when it starts to boil remove from the heat. Preheat your oven to its highest setting..if its fan assisted then around 200C will do and then place your baking tray in the oven to heat up. This will give you a lovely crispy bottom.

Using a course sieve over a bowl strain the sauce. Use your spoon to push all the best tomatoey goodnessthrough and don't forget to scrape the best bits from the under side of the sieve.

Return the sauce to the pan and bring to the boil. Once it has boiled turn it down and simmer until its the right consistency for the pizza, roughly 5 minutes.

Now its time for putting everything together. Dust your surface with flour and the knock the dough back. (This just means getting all the air out of it) Divide the dough in half or quarters depending on what size pizzas you are using and then roll the dough out as thinly as you can and transfer the dough to your preheated baking tray. Note to self- finally some round pizza trays.

Spread your sauce over the pizza leaving a border around the pizza. This will allow for the crust to rise. Pop in the pizza in the oven for around 5-10 minutes. You want the pizza to have a crunchy crust but just watch out that it doesn't burn.

Get a griddle pan on the highest heat and then when ready pop your asparagus directly on and cook for around 5 minutes till nicely charred. You will get a lovely smokey flavor.

While that is going on you can quickly bust out your garlic bread. Combine your crushed garlic cloves with the olive oil and salt in a pestle and mortar and combine till you get a nice paste. Roll out your dough and brush the paste over leaving space for the crust. Sprinkle with some parsley and pop in the oven (I forgot the parsley)

When your pizza looks ready take it out of the oven and cover with the buffalo mozzarella and asparagus.. You can put the cheese on before the cooking stage but, in my opinion if you're using a good quality mozzarella it would be a real shame to melt it. Sprinkle with a little olive oil if you like for a little added flavor.

Enjoy! x

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