Wrong. Oh so very, very, very, very wrong. If you want a quick pizza ring Domino’s. If you want the best pizza you have ever tasted, read on my friends, read on. The down-side is that preparing pizza for two is a lot of work for one. Particularly when I am the one doing the working.You will need a raft of stuff for the various elements. The first thing you will need is a Great Tomato Sauce. For that you need:
- 1.2 kilos of great tomatoes
- 3 shallots
- 3 cloves of garlic
- 1 teaspoon of smoked paprika
- 1 glass of good red wine
- Olive oil for frying
For the Pizza Dough, you will need:
- 600 gms of 00 flour
- 1 sachet (or teaspoon) of instant yeast
- half a teaspoon of salt
- 300 ml of tepid water
- a tablespoon of olive oil
For The Toppings, you are on your own. I got a bit carried away in the excitement of my first from scratch pizza making and despite the fact that there were only two of us going to eat, I decided to make:
- Mozzarella, Portobello Mushroom and Smoked Ham
- Roquefort and Tomato
- Chanterelle and Goat’s Cheese
- Mozzarella, Mushroom, Smoked Ham and Herb de Provence
- Sweet Onion and Black Pepper
We were eating in the evening, so the previous day (Yes, the previous day.), I went to Les Halles market in Narbonne and bought the tomatoes.
Core them, chop them and put them in the pan with the shallots and garlic. Add a glass of red wine and simmer them for half an hour or so. Drink a glass of red wine yourself. At this stage, you will need some fortification. Add a teaspoon of paprika and simmer for another few minutes.
Let the mixture cool for a few minutes and then pass it through a sieve into another saucepan. Be sure to squeeze every last tasty drop of tomato through.Reduce the sauce by about half. This will concentrate all the flavours into an intense, tasty sauce. Let it cool and it will be ready to use.
On the morning of Pizza Day, sieve the dry pizza dough ingredients into a bowl.
Knead this on a lightly floured surface (the table) until your arms hurt. Well, that’s what I did.
Pop it back into the bowl and wait.
We were in the south of France so there was no need to ‘put in a warm place’. Everywhere was warm. We left it and went out for lunch and a walk in the Garrigue. When we got home, the magic had happened.
Prepare your topping ingredients. For me this meant, chopping the white onions and sautéing them over a low heat for 40 minutes or so.
…and the Chanterelles.Then cut, slice and dice the rest of the ingredients. Turn on the oven. We were lucky enough to be using a wood fired outdoor pizza oven. It took a while to get up to temperature.
I have no photos of my pathetic attempts to make a round pizza. I managed to successfully form the outer crust but I failed to get anything approaching a circular pizza. Here’s my ingredients on a picnic table ready for assembly. Note the tomato sauce…
The whole process had taken most of the afternoon and evening. We were ravenous by the time I produced the first of the pizzas. Note the unique shape of each of the pizzas. I could pretend to be proud of them but I was trying for circular.
The Roquefort and Tomato Pizza. This was the high point of proceedings for me.
Then back to stretching, cursing the shape, assembling, cooking and serving. Why am I doing this? It’s meant to be a holiday.
Mozzarella, Mushroom, Smoked Ham and Herb de Provence was followed by the Sweet Onion and Black Pepper.
These were delicious the next day with a salad. I had cooked enough pizza for at least five people. We had eaten enough for four between the two of us. The flavours were ‘formidable’ to use the French. However, It took more than a working day to produce five pizzas. The tomato sauce was incredible. It was the star of the show and made it all worthwhile. The Wife enjoyed it. But, if you really fancy a quick pizza, hand me the phone…