delicious - - SILVIA COLLOCA -

“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).

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