Proper pizza with a no cook tomato sauce

We do Friday night pizza quite a lot. It’s not hard, but there is a bit of work involved. It can all be a bit hectic at the end, which is why I never end up blogging it! I make the dough in the morning and let it prove all day. When it comes to making the pizzas you have all your ingredients lined up – including my awesome no cook tomato sauce, so that bit’s not hard as such… but it’s a bit like roast dinners: it’s all in the last 15 minutes. Still, it’s SO worth it. Nothing compares to homemade pizza.

When you first make your own pizza, you have a mini epiphany, one that will involve you cancelling all plans to stay at home with the kids / forge a brilliant career (delete as appropriate) and start a business making pizza. And that’s fine. It’s a normal reaction to the first time you make your own pizza. It’s the shock. The shock and wonderment that THIS is what pizza is supposed to taste like. We’ve all been there.

If you’re scared, then I urge you to feel the fear and do it anyway. It’s one of those things that does scare people. You think that you have to have a pizza stone (no), a special woodburning oven (nah), or swirl the dough around like they do in movies (nope). Just turn your oven up as high as it will go and use the biggest baking tray you have. It’ll still be amazing.

Here I have used the River Cottage recipe for pizza dough. I’ve experimented with a few, they’ve all worked well. This is a good one.

Makes: 4 large pizzas (each one would serve either one hungry adult or two children)
Prep time: all day! (To prove the dough)
Cook time: 7-10 minutes

Ingredients: 
250g plain flour
250g strong white flour
5g dried yeast
10g salt
325ml warm water
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

For the no-cook tomato sauce: 
400g chopped tomatoes or passata
6 tablespoons of tomato puree
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 level teaspoon salt
1 level teaspoon pepper
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

Other toppings: 
2 x 125g balls of mozzarella, torn into small chunks
About 400g pancetta, cut into lardons

Instructions: 

  1. Mix the flours yeast and salt. Now add most of the water and bring together to make a dough. Add the rest of the water if needed or a little more flour if too sticky.
  2. Bring it together and then knead for about 10 minutes, stretching the dough away from you and generally giving it a good battering.
  3. Shape into a ball and leave it in an oiled bowl covered with cling film till it doubles in size. Put it somewhere fairly warm. A warm kitchen or similar. This will take a few hours.
  4. To make the sauce, simply whizz up all the ingredients into a smooth sauce, using a blender or similar.
  5. You can prove the dough only once and make the pizzas, but I choose to do it twice normally. So if you have time, knock the air out of it, then knead for a few minutes and let it prove again.
  6. When you’re ready to make your pizzas, preheat your oven to 250C.
  7. Knock back dough again and cut into 4 pieces then roll out as thin as you can, in a circle or oblong shape. Lightly oil your baking sheet.
  8. Put the dough onto the tray and stretch it out to make a nice shape. As you can see, mine are very ‘homemade’!
  9. Spoon a thin layer of tomato sauce on, then tear mozzarella on too. Finally any other topping you want, like the pancetta I added. Drizzle a bit of extra virgin oil, but not much.
  10. Bake for 7-10 minutes. Eat immediately.
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