NEAPOLITAN-STYLE PIZZA CAPRICCIOSA
MAKES 2 PIZZAS
“Once you have mastered the technique for pizza Napoletana, the possibilities are endless. I like traditional toppings, and one of my favourites is the combination of ingredients in pizza capricciosa, where a margherita base is enhanced by small amounts of ham, artichoke hearts and finely sliced mushrooms, brought together with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.” Begin this recipe 1 day ahead.
Plain flour, for dusting Semolina, for dusting 400g passata or canned crushed tomatoes 1/ 3 cup (80ml) extra-virgin olive oil Salt flakes 2 x 125g balls of cow’s milk
mozzarella, torn 6 marinated artichoke hearts, halved 6-8 button mushrooms, finely sliced 80g thinly sliced ham
1/ 2 tsp dried yeast 275ml lukewarm water 3 cups (450g) plain, 00 or baker’s flour, plus extra for dusting
For the pizza dough, mix the yeast and water in a bowl and stand for a few minutes to froth up. Tip flour into a large bowl, pour in water mixture and mix until a dough comes together. Add 3 tsp salt flakes and knead lightly to incorporate. Knead on a
lightly floured surface for up to 10 minutes or until smooth, shiny and elastic. (If you have a stand mixer fifitted with a dough hook, use it instead.) Dust with flour, cover with a damp tea towel and rest in a warm place for 30 minutes.
Using floured hands, stretch dough into a rectangle, then fold top and bottom thirds into the centre like folding a letter and then onto itself into a ball. Place in an oiled container fifitted with a lid – make sure container is large enough to allow room for rising. Cover and rest in a warm place for 2 hours, then place container in the fridge overnight (or for up to 4 days), to slow-prove and develop flavour and texture.
A couple of hours before you use the dough, remove it from the fridge and take off the lid. Cover loosely with a tea towel and leave in a warm place for 2 hours.
Preheat your oven to its hottest setting (mine goes up to 250°C). Place a 25cm pizza tray or round baking tray in the oven to heat up. Divide dough it into two even balls. Place a ball of dough on a lightly floured surface. Using your fifingers (not a rolling pin, as you want to avoid crushing the air bubbles that have formed during fermentation), stretch dough into a 20cm round. Create a rim of dough around the edge to contain the filling. Place stretched dough on a sheet of baking paper dusted with semolina.
Top the dough with half the passata or crushed tomatoes, drizzle half the olive oil on top and season with salt flakes.
Carefully take hot tray out of oven. Slide pizza (on its baking paper) onto the tray and immediately return it to the oven to avoid losing heat. Bake for 10 minutes, then open oven door, carefully remove baking paper and top pizza with half the torn mozzarella, artichoke, mushroom and ham. Quickly close the oven door. If you are using a conventional setting (ie, not the top and bottom elements at the same time), turn on grill function to high.
Bake (or grill) for 10-15 minutes or until crust is burnished and mozzarella has melted. (If you are using the grill function, watch pizza crust closely as it can burn easily if you have a very hot grill or if it’s sitting too close to the element.)
Take the pizza out of the oven, slide it onto a board and serve it hot. Repeat with the second ball of dough and remaining topping ingredients to make a second pizza.
Rosetta rolls (recipe p 92).