Whoever says pizza says Italy. However, stuffed pasta has been known for a long time in many cultures… The Assyrians covered a thin pastry with meat, this specialty was called “lahmatsun” (“meat on dough”). Today it is known as Turkish pizza and is eaten on pide, a Turkish flatbread that accompanies the meal. Originally, this bread dough, topped with hand-me-downs, was the dish of the poor. Pizza as we love and know it was born in Naples. Legend has it that Queen Margaret particularly enjoyed the pizza topped with tomatoes, mozzarella and basil (red-white-green, the colors of the Italian flag). Italian immigrants brought pizza to the United States, where the first fast food and frozen food chains were born.
Let’s start with the dough…
Making homemade pizza is not difficult and does not require special techniques. Several types of pasta are possible. A thin Italian-style dough is always nice, a thicker dough will appeal to children and those who want a rich filling… and a certain weight!
If you want a thin and crispy dough, you need a generous amount of flour and olive oil. You need 550 g of flour + 1 slightly beaten egg + 2 tbsp. olive oil + 1 pinch of salt + 1 cup of boiled water + 1 tbsp. with baking powder. Mix the salt, egg, oil and boiled water in a bowl. Place the flour and dry yeast in a separate bowl. Add the liquid mixture to the flour. Knead for 2 minutes, then form into a ball. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit for 2 hours in a warm place. If you prefer a thick, fluffy pizza crust, you need less flour but more fat. You need 250 g of flour + 5 g of fine salt + 125 ml of milk + 75 g of softened butter + 12 g of fresh yeast + 1 whole egg. Dissolve the yeast in a little lukewarm milk. By hand or in a food processor, mix the flour, salt, dissolved yeast, egg and remaining milk. Continue kneading for about 5 minutes. Add the butter and continue kneading for 5 minutes. Form into a ball, place in a bowl, cover with a towel and let rise in a warm place for 30 minutes. If you want an easy and universal pizza dough, no rest, similar to what you find in the store, you need 350 g of flour + 180 ml of milk + 75 g of softened butter + 1 tbsp. ° C. baking powder + 1 tbsp. ° C. salt. Mix the ingredients in a bowl and knead for a few minutes until a homogeneous and elastic dough is obtained. This is the fastest and easiest.
You can practice direct kneading, which consists of hitting the dough with your palms. Shape the dough into a ball and knead it with your palm for a few minutes. You should get a firm, non-sticky pizza dough. Then fold this dough in half and continue this kneading. Repeat this folding several times over the next 10 minutes to get a slightly sticky but firm and shiny mixture. The dough should be elastic, but above all not dry. If it seems too sticky or you see lumps, keep kneading. Your dough is ready when it holds together and springs back into a ball when you press it with your finger.
A fresh-turned soft cheese made from pasteurized whole cow’s milk, mozzarella is used in savory preparations and toppings on most pizzas. Mozzarella originates from southern Italy. For several centuries it has been one of the favorite cheeses of Italians – and not only Italians, as evidenced by its position as an export star. Prefer the buffalo milk one. It is a healthy and natural product. Milk is produced every day in more than a thousand cowsheds, selected according to their quality, regularity and compliance with hygiene standards. Analyze, filter and store at 4°C. Transport is carried out in refrigerated trucks to maintain the cold chain. If you can find burrata, a fresh cheese from Puglia made with mozzarella and cream, use it raw to finish your pizza so you don’t lose any of its texture. Its outer shell is hard and the inner shell is semi-liquid. This cheese is considered one of the best fresh cheeses in the world.
If you want to add a smoky note to your pizza, scallops are your ally. It is made from buffalo or cow’s milk and is traditionally smoked, but it is also found pure. It’s a rolled cheese, like mozzarella. It is grated or sliced to melt, but it is also served raw, sliced or diced after cooking or as a side dish to a salad. This cheese is aged for a week to a month before it is ready to taste. It develops a nice smooth crust and firm paste. It is practical and easy to cut. Its shape is egg-shaped, tightened with a plastic ribbon, which is why it consists of two parts. Its white version is sweet with a thin skin, and the smoked version with wood or straw smoke gives it a golden color, a characteristic taste, but which remains subtle and which finally allows better storage. A traditional way to eat scallops is to grill them in slices about 1 cm thick.
Oregano and oils
Oregano is the main spice for pizza. Goes well with tomatoes of any kind, peppers, zucchini, potatoes, as well as with pork, veal and veal. It is suitable for dairy products, mozzarella type cheeses, eggs, cream. Feel free to mix in mozzarella and a slice of ham. Add some olive oil, basil and oregano, salt, pepper and spread it on the pizza dough to replace the tomato sauce. In a small format, it can also make you a thunderous aperitif. As for homemade flavored oils… Drizzle your pizza with delicious oil before serving for flavor and mouthfeel. You can use any oil you have in your cupboard and flip your pizza in no time. For basic garlic oil, you need 450 ml of olive oil, 6 large cloves of garlic, 15 grains of black pepper. Peel and cut the garlic cloves into thin strips. Put the oil in a pan, add the garlic and black pepper and heat (the oil should be between lukewarm and hot). Remove from the heat and allow to cool completely before transferring to a sterilized bottle (pass the garlic cloves through the neck first, then place a small funnel over the bottle to pour out the aromatic oil). To make butter with spices, not based on vegetables or spices, soak for one month 1 c. ° C. spices (Espelette pepper, oregano, basil, etc.) and 1 tbsp. with black pepper in neutral oil.
A handful of ideas
Pizza can be classic or crazy, light or indulgent, and it’s a great way to use up leftovers. You are offered several options and mix all kinds of ingredients: curry, chicken breast, cumin, onion, zucchini; fresh figs, Parma ham, grated Gruyère cheese; tomatoes, mussels, 4 onions, garlic, white wine, thyme, bay leaf; ground beef, green pepper, corn kernels, onion, grated cheese, tabasco.
But also: chicken breast, pancetta, pitted black olives; broccoli, prosciutto, gorgonzola; ground beef, 1 head of red onion, cloves of garlic, fresh parsley, fresh flat parsley, 1 lemon; pesto, Provençal herbs, chicken breast, yellow pepper; goat cheese, pitted black olives, fresh rosemary, fresh basil, 2 cloves of garlic, balsamic vinegar; Chinese cabbage, bamboo shoots, red pepper, scampi; serrano ham, chorizo, mozzarella, white mushrooms.
And finally, one last salvo, so you don’t forget that you can make a very good pizza with cooked chicken breast, topped with peaches in juice, cubes, fresh sage; white mushrooms, 1 small eggplant, hazelnuts, gorgonzola, oregano; rusks, cakes, fresh cream; piperade, chipolata, fresh pineapple, dried apricots.
And for the finale: duck breast, green asparagus, balsamic vinegar; tomato, pepper, artichoke core, goat cheese, chorizo; caramelized onions, bacon, granny smith; potatoes, fontina, rosemary, bacon; ricotta, pesto, asparagus, mushrooms; mascarpone, pesto, crispy baked ham, hazelnuts; Cambozole, confit garlic, olives; iceberg lettuce, parmesan cream, parmesan shavings, chicken strips, garlic.
Pizza with zucchini, feta and pumpkin seeds
For the pizza dough: 350 g flour I 180 ml fresh milk I 75 g softened butter I 1 tbsp. ° C. baking powder I 1 tbsp. ° C. salt
For the filling: 1 zucchini I 2 tbsp. with maple syrup I 3 tbsp. with soy sauce I 1 tbsp. brown sugar I 1 sheep’s yogurt I 1 tbsp. mustard I 100 g feta cheese I pumpkin or pumpkin seeds I salt and freshly ground black pepper I olive oil
- Preheat the oven to 200° (th. 7).
- Cut the zucchini into thin slices.
- Arrange the zucchini pieces on a baking tray, drizzle with soy sauce and a drizzle of olive oil, sprinkle with brown sugar and bake for 10 minutes.
- Prepare the pizza dough. In a bowl, mix all the ingredients and knead for a few minutes until a homogeneous and elastic dough is obtained.
- Spread the dough with a mixture of yogurt, mustard and olive oil. Black pepper abundantly.
- Cover with zucchini slices, sprinkle with oil and bake at 220° (th. 8-9) for 15 minutes.
- Remove from the oven, drizzle the pizza with maple syrup, season, sprinkle with crumbled feta and pumpkin seeds.
Hot Tex-Mex pizza with chicken and peppers
For the pizza dough: 250 g flour I 5 g fine salt I 125 ml fresh milk I 75 g softened butter I 12 g fresh yeast I 1 whole egg.
For the garnish: 100 g tomato sauce I 2 tbsp. with barbecue sauce I 150 g mozzarella I 150 g boiled chicken I 2 roasted peppers in a jar (oriental ray or vegetables from a can) I 100 g corn from a can, drained I a few leaves of coriander I ground pepper.
- Dissolve the yeast in a little lukewarm milk. By hand or in a food processor, mix the flour, salt, dissolved yeast, egg and remaining milk. Continue kneading for about 5 minutes. Add the butter and continue kneading for 5 minutes.
- Form into a ball, place in a bowl, cover with a towel and let rise in a warm place for 30 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 180° (th. 6).
- Mix the tomato sauce with the barbecue sauce and spread on the dough.
- Cut the roasted peppers into strips and the mozzarella into slices.
- Make the stuffing. Chicken, mozzarella, corn and peppers are placed on top of the pizza.
- Bake for 15 to 20 minutes. Sprinkle with coriander and black pepper before serving.