BAKE-YOUR-OWN PIZZA PARTY
Makes 4 medium or 8 small pizzas or flatbreads
For a family gathering, this pizza-party formula works like a charm. We have a wood-fired stone pizza oven in the garden, so pizza has become an outdoor meal for us, and the smell of burnt wood and freshly baked pizzas in the fresh air is heavenly. The key concept is for your guests to create their own pizzas with a portion of the dough that you have pre-prepared (children will love it especially!) and a variety of toppings that you provide. The thin spelt pizza base is delicious, and can also be used to make flatbreads.
FOR THE BASIC SPELT DOUGH
• 4 tsp fast-action dried yeast
• 325ml warm (not hot) water
• 2 tbsp agave syrup
• 600g wholemeal spelt flour, plus extra, for dusting
• 400g plain flour or spelt flour
• 4 tsp fine salt
• 250ml olive oil, plus extra for oiling the semolina flour, for dusting the lined baking tray (optional)
FOR THE SUGO SAUCE (MAKES 800ML)
• olive oil, for frying
• 2 shallots, chopped
• 3 garlic cloves, crushed with 1 tsp fine salt
• 2 x 400g tins good-quality plum tomatoes
• a handful of fresh basil, chopped
• 2 tbsp mixed dried Italian herbs, such as oregano, basil and thyme (optional)
• 1 tsp agave syrup, or more, to taste
• salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1. For the spelt dough, mix the yeast with the warm water and agave syrup in a bowl.
2. Leave to stand for about 10 minutes to allow the yeast to activate – it should become foamy on the surface.
3. Put the flours in a mixing bowl, or in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, sift over the salt and mix together well. If mixing by hand, make a well in the flour, pour in the yeast mixture and gradually mix in the flour with a fork, then slowly add the olive oil and work into the dough with your hands.
4. Knead the dough on a floured work surface for a few minutes until smooth and elastic. If using a stand mixer, add the yeast mixture with the motor running
until incorporated, then slowly pour in the olive oil and continue kneading until the dough is smooth. Oil a large bowl, add the dough and cover with a clean tea towel. Leave to rise for 1½ hours.
5. Punch the dough down to deflate it and place it on a floured work surface. Divide it into four or eight pieces and knead each piece lightly into a ball.
5. For the sugo sauce, heat a frying pan over medium heat. Add a drizzle of olive oil and fry the shallots with the garlic, stirring, for 7–8 minutes until soft.
6. Add all the remaining ingredients and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally to avoid burning. Add a little water or stock if the sauce dries out.
7. Taste and adjust the flavour balance with salt, pepper and agave syrup.
8. To make the pizzas, lay a sheet of baking paper on a baking tray and sprinkle with a little semolina flour – this is optional, but it adds a delicious texture. Using a rolling pin, roll out a dough ball into a thin round; it should be only a few millimetres thick. [Spread the base with a layer of sugo sauce.] Add your choice of toppings [see box below] and transfer to the tray. Repeat with the remaining dough balls.
EXTRACTED FROM FEASTS OF VEG BY NINA OLSSON. PUBLISHED BY KYLE BOOKS. PHOTOGRAPHS: NINA OLSSON