A while back, I went along to a cookery class run by Porcini Restaurant in the Ritz Carlton Hotel here in Doha. The head chef, Alessio Corda used to run the classes on the first Saturday of every month. 11 of us went along to get a sneak peak at some real Italian cooking. I had previously been to one of the cookery classes and loved it so much. We were presented with our aprons and recipe cards and soon got down to business.
The first recipe on the cards was Classic Italian Pizza. We were brought back into the kitchen of the restaurant and huddled in to watch Chef Alessio demonstrate the art of making pizza.
This recipe makes about 30 pizzas, however, if you want to cater for a small group, use 1/2 kg of flour and then divide the rest of the ingredients by 5. I got 7 portions out of this measurement.
This is the recipe for a Classic Italian Pizza
8gm dry yeast
1650ml room temp water
For the tomato sauce:
2 Tins of chopped tomatoes
1 tspn oregano
Bunch of basil leaves
Dissolve the dry yeast in the milk.
Combine the flour and sugar together in a mixing bowl. The sugar has a chemical reaction with the yeast which allows the gas pockets to form and rise the dough.
Add in the water and milk with yeast. The milk gives that extra crispiness to the pizza crust.
Mix until it forms a nice doughy texture, for about 15 minutes.
Just before finishing add the salt dissolved in 30ml of water.
Roll the dough out on a floured surface and stretch to create a good length in the dough.
Using a dry knife to cut the dough into pieces. One piece should weigh 155gm to be enough for one thin and crisy pizza.
In your hand form the dough into round balls pulling in the edges to smooth the top then place it on a floured surface and using your ring finger and thumb manipulate it into a round ball with no cracks, if possible.
Place in a floured tray, cover with cling film and leave for one hour to rise.
Once risen, take one piece at a time, place on a floured surface, finger the dough until it forms a circle then take a rolling pin and roll it out into a pizza round.
While the pizza dough is rising, you can make the sauce. Combine the all the ingredients for the sauce and reserve in the fridge until needed. Simple!
When you are ready, spoon the sauce into the centre of the pizza and from the centre work the sauce in a circle outwards towards the edges with a large spoon.
Top with mozzarella, some grated garlic, a pinch of salt and whatever toppings you may desire.
The best thing to do with pizza dough is to make a big batch and then freeze the balls once the dough has been formed into balls before the yeast gets a chance to work.
Earlier this week at home, I made a Goat’s cheese, carmelised onion and pesto pizza for lunch. It was yummy and jam packed full of flavour!