Why Make Pizza at Home?
Who doesn’t enjoy a pizza from time to time? Pizzas can be the ultimate comfort food, but did you realize they don’t always have to be laden with calories and cheese? Pizzas can be a wonderfully simple meal and can be personalized in many different ways by the toppings. This may seem obvious but realistically, how many of us actually make pizzas at home from scratch and get creative with their pizza toppings?
If you are someone who normally orders pizza for takeout then why not give this recipe a go at home and you’ll not only put some money back in your pocket, you’ll probably also save inches off your waistline too as this version is far healthier than many takeout options out there! It couldn’t be simpler to create and even if you don’t want to make the dough but instead purchase a ready-made pizza base, you will still be getting a delicious and tasty pizza meal at a fraction of the cost. In addition, you will have the great option to get creative and customize the toppings how you would like them. So let’s get started on this simple and delicious pizza recipe.
For the Base:
- 300g plain flour
- 200ml warm water
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp olive oil
- 1 tsp instant yeast
Tasty Tomato Sauce:
- 3 tsp tomato paste
- 1 tin chopped tomatoes
- 1 chopped red onion
- 1 clove of garlic (optional, add more if preferred)
- 1 tsp dried basil
- Sprinkle of salt and pepper
- 3 handfuls of grated cheese
- 1 handful of black olives
- 1 handful of cherry tomatoes
- 1 handful of sweetcorn
- Additional own choice vegetables
Mix the flour, yeast and salt into a large mixing bowl. Slowly add the olive oil and the water and mix until you have a soft, wet dough. Remove from the bowl and knead the dough on a lightly floured surface for approximately 5-10 minutes. Put back into a bowl and cover with either cling film or a tea towel and set to one side to rise for 1-2 hours.
Whilst the dough is rising, you can get on with making the tasty tomato sauce. In a medium sized pan, add the tomato paste, chopped tomatoes, chopped red onion, garlic, dried basil and to taste, add some salt and pepper. Cook and stir on a low heat for 10 minutes. (Don't worry as it will cook further when in the oven on top of the pizza base). You may also wish to modify the intensity of the tomato paste and add more if you like a richer tasting flavor. Remember to chop or dice your garlic clove into really small pieces to help spread the flavor across the pizza into each and every mouthful! Of course, if you aren’t one for garlic then leaving it out of the recipe will be fine as well.
Using a rolling pin, spread out the dough to a nice even thickness. You may prefer to make two or three mini pizzas from the dough so break off chunks of the dough accordingly and repeat the rolling out process.
Place your pizza/s on a lightly floured baking tray. I find it is then easier to add the sauce and toppings whilst the dough sits on a baking tray, rather than trying to lift the pizza onto it after all these toppings have been added! So add the sauce mixture and then your toppings on top and bake in the oven at 200 C/400 F/Gas 8 for 15-20 minutes or until the pizza base turns a nice golden color around the edges. Then you are ready to serve and enjoy! Add a sprinkling of pepper and a drizzle of olive oil to taste...
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Toppings can really make a pizza and help it go from bland to grand, so get creative and add vegetables to your heart’s content! This is where you can really pack in some healthy nutrients such as your five a day vegetable total. Anything from peas to sweetcorn, pineapple to pepperoni can be combined to create a tasty treat. Discover new flavor combinations that no-one else has come up with yet and you will certainly impress your family and friends.
Green Pesto Base Recipe
As a complete contrast to a tomato base for your pizza, why not try adding a green pesto base with some fresh spinach leaves? Buy a jar of ready made green pesto if you don’t feel confident or simply don’t have the time for learning how to make one. But for those of you who are reading thus far and are keen to get creative in the kitchen at home yourselves, here is the very simple and easy recipe!
- 150ml olive oil
- 2 garlic cloves (optional)
- 1 handful/60g of pine nuts
- 1 handful/60g parmesan cheese
- 1 handful of basil leaves, or 1 tsp dried basil (fresh is better)
Step 1 of 1
Lightly toast the pine nuts in a frying pan and then once they are golden brown add all the other ingredients and cook for a further 5-8 minutes or until the basil leaves have wilted. Then, either add the whole pesto mix to a food blender/processor or crush in a pestle and mortar. Easy and done!
I absolutely love green pesto and this mixture doesn’t just have to be for pizza bases. You could also use it as a sauce with pasta or spaghetti with some bacon or chicken for a meal, or even as a basis for mini entrees at a party. The great thing is it will keep in the fridge for a good four days. So get creative in the kitchen and give green pesto making a go!
Have a Pizza Making Party
Why not take pizza making to the next level and get your family or friends over to make delicious mini pizzas together. Put on your favorite music in the background and assemble lots of different toppings beforehand on a table. Then, all your guests can select and personalize their pizzas. Because they are so quick and easy to prepare and with minimal cooking time and mess, you will be sampling pizzas before you know it! (If you don't leave the pizza dough to rise, it will still cook but may be far more thin and crispy. But this will definitely save you time if you have guests).
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Add a fresh salad and you are good to go! Include red, yellow, orange or green peppers for added crunch and why not mix some lemon juice with a little olive oil and some salt and pepper for a sharp tasting, quick and easy salad dressing!
I hope you enjoy creating this pizza recipe and try out the green pesto sauce too. It’s typical that after reading all about pizzas, we are all going to want to have pizza! But hopefully I have shown you that pizza can be healthier too if you add lots of nutritious vegetables as toppings!
Why not get some more pizza cooking inspiration and ideas below from the fantastic Laura Vitale from her You Tube channel ‘Laura in the Kitchen’. She has some great tips and visually takes you through the pizza making process from start to finish.