For those of you that have followed me for a while, you will know that for three amazing years of my life I lived in Sicily. It was incredible – the food, the lifestyle, the culture, THE WEATHER were all brilliant. Although I would never live there again without my family, I’d happily go back any time to visit my wonderful friends and to get some more of that brilliant Italian food. Italian cuisine has to be one of my family’s absolute favourites and I definitely became a bit of an Italian food snob after living there as let’s face it, frozen or even fresh supermarket pizzas are just not the same are they?! You can get some pretty good ones but nothing beats a pizza from Italy… but you can have something that comes pretty damn close. When I was living there, I got to spend some time with an Italian Mama who took me under her wing (poor innocent young girl living in a foreign country all on her own) and she taught my how to make the best homemade pizza and dough ever! Now, I have adapted it over the years so that I can get all the ingredients and tools here… So grab your apron and let’s get going!
(for the dough – makes 4 large pizzas but dough can be frozen for later use)
600g Strong White Flour
2 packets of Dried Yeast
1 Tsp of Salt
1 Tbsp Olive Oil
4 Tbsp of Milk
500ml Luke Warm Water
(for the toppings)
1 Carton of Passata
1 Pack of Mozzarella, drained and sliced
A Handful of Basil Leaves, roughly chopped
Add whatever toppings you like – my personal faves are Gorgonzola, goats cheese, mushrooms or caramlised onions – delicious!
- Firstly, take a large mixing bowl and tip in the flour, dried yeast and salt and stir with an ordinary dinner knife and ensure they are mixed together well. Then in a mixing jug add the olive oil, milk and warm water and ensure the mixture overall is luke warm and give it a stir.
- In small amounts, pour the liquid mixture into the mixing bowl, stirring it with the knife and you will begin to see the dough forming. You may need all of the liquid you may not it varies. You want to add enough until the mixture starts to come together in a ball but is not too sticky. If it feels very wet, add a little more flour and if it is too dry add a little more luke warm water.
- Roll the dough around in the bowl and knead for 30 seconds to a minute and then leave it in the bowl and cover with loose clingfilm or a damp cloth and put in a warmish place. Leave for a minimum of 2 hours to allow the dough to rise (I once left mine for 24 hours so you can actually prep this the day before!)
- Pre-heat your oven to 180. Drain your mozzarella well and slice into even pieces. Roughly shred your basil leaves and open up your passata ready. Sprinkle your work top, your hands and a rolling pin with some flour and scoop a handful of the dough out (roughly a quarter) and begin to roll it out. It will keep shrinking back but once you have stretched it out a little with the rolling pin, then you can begin to just pull it into shape with your hands (or toss it in the air if you are feeling brave!!)
- Pop it onto a pizza tray then add your passata and spread to the edges with the back of a spoon. Spread your mozzarella over (bare in mind you should leave gaps and not use too much as mozzarella spreads and if you use too much your pizza will become water logged) and sprinkle over some basil leaves. Pop it in the oven for 12-15 minutes then take it out and serve – delicious!!
Don’t forget you can portion your dough, wrap it in clingfilm and freeze it until you want to use it another time – or if you have a big freezer, roll out the bases, separate with parchment paper and freeze them like this ready to cook. Get creative with the kids and let them help too and remember to let me know what toppings you choose!!
That’s Mama’s Best Homemade Pizza… from a REAL Italian Mama!