In our house we like nothing more on a rainy Saturday afternoon than to curl up on the couch, all three of us, watching a movie and stuffing our faces with this meaty, cheesy, deep crust pizza covered in delicious meats and cheeses and fresh basil leaves… It’s ridiculously easy to put together and even easier to scoff in one sitting!
It’s here that I hold up my hands, I am a cheater, yes, I admit it, I rarely make my own pastry and I rarely make my own pizza dough… I am a sucker for Hovis bread mix… there I said it.
There are no added preservatives in Hovis breads, which there are in most white breads unless they are organic, for me these preservatives can be a problem as I am allergic to them and I wake up the morning after eating them feeling like I have a hangover, which is particularly annoying if I haven’t had the debauched night before to go with it. I could of course make up my pizza dough with a nice organic bread flour… but the Hovis range of bread mixes include a white one for a very reasonable price (under £1 in most supermarkets), it’s so quick to throw together, rises nicely and hasn’t yet made me a horrible dry or soggy pizza base! So there you go, you don’t need to be a master baker to make pizza dough!
When it comes to toppings, this Mediterranean meat feast is my absolute favourite, but of course, the world is your oyster, you can bung on whatever you like, vegetables, mixed cheese, ham and mushroom, ham and pineapple, pepperoni, meat feast, chicken, leftover pulled pork (that’s a good one together with some of that BBQ sauce) and more, bung olives, peppers and anchovies on there, it’s entirely up to you! This recipe as I said is for my personal favourite pizza though, chorizo and pancetta!
Because you don’t have to have meat on your pizza, I am throwing this one into the Veggie Dish section as well for all your vegetarians out there!
This recipe makes 2 large pizzas with pretty thick bases, if you want them thinner then cut the dough into thirds or even quarters.
- 1 pack Hovis White Bread Mix (or your own mix if you prefer)
- 1 tablespoons dried oregano
- 1 tablespoon oilve oil
- 8-10 nice fresh tomatoes (plum tomatoes are great, but if you don’t want to use fresh then use 2 tins of chopped)
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 tablespoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon Liquid Smoke
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- Salt and pepper
TOPPING (PER PIZZA)
- 1 mozzarella ball
- 100g grated four cheese mix (available ready grated from most supermarkets)
- 1 50g sliced chorizo (smoky not spicy – unless you want spicy that is!)
- 1 50g pack pancetta
- Handful of large fresh basil leaves
- Firstly you need to make your tomato base so that it can sit in the fridge and develop a flavour while the dough is rising. If you are using tinned tomatoes, sieve away the juice by pouring them into a tin and allowing the juice to pour away either down the drain of your sink or into a jug for making Bloody Marys later. Once they are pretty well strained, you can tip them into a mixing bowl. If you are using fresh tomatoes, things are a tiny bit different. You need to chop each tomato into small cubes, less than 1cm in width and length, try and get rid of all the seeds and juice inside as this will just make your pizza soggy (the same reason you got rid of the tinned tomato juice). Pad the tomatoes with a wad of kitchen towels to ensure most if not all of the liquid is gone, then pop them into a mixing bowl.
- Finely chop your garlic and add it, along with the olive oil, oregano, Liquid Smoke and a grinding of salt and pepper, into the bowl with the tomatoes and stir. Have a little taste, if you want more seasoning, then add it now. Cover with cling film and place in the fridge until you are ready with your risen and kneaded dough.
- Make up your dough by mixing the bread mix according to the packet instructions, including the tablespoon of olive oil and the tablespoon of oregano, once your dough is in a ball, turn it out onto a floured surface and give it a good kneading for about 5 minutes. Then wash and oil your bowl and place the dough inside, leaving it to rise in a warm place (by a radiator, hot oven or in an airing cupboard) for 45-60 minutes. When you come back to the dough it will have doubled in size and will now need to be kneaded once again and cut into two pieces (one for each of two pizzas).
- Turn your oven on as high as it will go, placing one shelf a third of the way down and a second tray another third of the way down, so your oven is cut into three basically. Leave the oven to preheat and be careful when you open it, I got a heck of a suntan on my face the first time I did this!
- Take each of your dough pieces and using a rolling pin and your hands on a floured surface, begin to make your pizza base, there’s no hard and fast rule here that says it has to be round, I have two large chopping boards at home, one round and one rectangular so I always make one of each shaped pizza so I have something to slice and serve them on. When you have your shaped base ready place it carefully onto a piece of tinfoil which has been oiled to prevent sticking. I usually then pop the whole base and tin foil onto it’s relative board in order to use the board as a sort of pizza shovel when taking the pizzas in and out of the oven.
- Rip the mozzarella ball into pieces, dabbing with a wad of kitchen roll as you go (mozzarella balls are supplied in a brine and you want no trace of this all over your nice crispy bases!
- Next, remove the tomato mix from the fridge and spoon it over the bases, spreading it out with your (clean please) hands. Then add your meats, followed by the ripped mozzarella, grated cheese and the basil leaves on, in and around the meat.
- Turn your oven down a tiny bit, about 20 degrees should do it, and then slide the whole lot into the oven in one swift move using the chopping board as a tool so you don’t spill the pizza or burn your hands. Obviously don’t leave the boards in the oven! Place one pizza on the top shelf and the other on the bottom and cook for 5-8 minutes before taking the pizzas out of the oven, removing the tinfoil from the bottoms to crisp up the base and swapping the two pizzas back in the oven (so the one that was on the bottom is now on the top and vice versa) for a further 5-8 minutes.
- Remove the pizzas from the oven, leave for a couple of minutes to settle and slice and serve!