A simple pizza with classic flavours from Rachel Allen.
- For the dough:
- 250 ml (9fl oz) warm water
- 1/2 tsp caster sugar
- 11/2 tsp dried yeast or 15g (1/2oz) fresh yeast or 1 x 7g sachet fast-action yeast
- 350 g (12oz) strong white flour, plus extra for dusting
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 tblsp olive oil, plus extra for greasing
- 75 g (3oz) semolina or fine/medium polenta, for dusting
- For the topping:
- 800 g (13/4lb) potatoes, peeled, and halved if large, or cooked potatoes (see tip below)
- 50 ml (2oz) olive oil
- 4 onions, peeled and sliced
- 6 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed or finely grated
- 4 tblsp chopped rosemary leaves
- 400 g (14oz) mozzarella, grated
- salt and freshly ground pepper
- 24 black olives, pitted
- First make the dough. In a measuring jug, mix the warm water with the sugar and yeast and leave to stand in a warm place for 5 minutes or until the mixture is creamy looking. If using fast-action yeast, there is no need to let the mixture stand.
- Sift the flour and salt into a large bowl, or the bowl of an electric food mixer fitted with a dough hook, and make a well in the centre. Add the olive oil to the yeast mixture, then pour into the well and mix together by hand or using the food mixer until the dough has come together and is slightly wet and sticky (add a little more water if it seems too dry). Knead with your hands on a floured worktop for about 10 minutes (about 5 minutes in the food mixer) or until smooth and slightly springy to the touch.
- Grease the bowl with olive oil and place the dough back in it, then cover with cling film and leave to rise for 1–2 hours or until doubled in size. If you gently press the dough with a floured fingertip and it does not spring back – that is, the dent made by your finger stays in the dough – then it is ready.
- Preheat the oven to 240°C (472°F), Gas mark 9, or its highest setting.
- Tip the dough onto a floured work surface and divide into four portions, then roll out each piece into a disc about 25cm (10in) in diameter and 3mm (1/8in) thick. (Keep the dough that you’re not working with covered with an upturned bowl or a clean tea towel.)
- Then boil the potatoes (if cooking from scratch) for the topping. Place the potatoes in a large saucepan, cover with water and add 1 teaspoon of salt. Bring to the boil and cook for 20–25 minutes or until tender, then remove from the heat. Drain and allow to cool a little before cutting into thin slices.
- Meanwhile, place a large frying pan on a medium heat and add the oil. When the oil is hot, add the onions, garlic and rosemary, and fry, stirring occasionally, for about 20 minutes or until the onions are golden brown. Remove from the heat and set aside.
- Preheat the oven to 240°C (475°F), Gas mark 9, or the highest setting, and place a pizza or baking sheet inside to get really hot.
- Sprinkle some of the mozzarella over each pizza base, then top with the potato slices and season with salt and pepper. Cover in the remaining mozzarella, dividing it up between each pizza, then top with the cooked onions followed by the olives.
- Place a pizza on a pizza tray sprinkled generously with semolina or polenta to stop the pizza base sticking. Bake for 2–12 minutes (the cooking time can vary hugely, depending on the oven you’re using) or until golden brown and melted on top and crisp around the edges. Repeat with the remaining pizzas, cooking them one at a time.
More by Rachel Allen:
- Steak and watercress bearnaise
- Ivan's chinese crispy mackerel pancakes
- Smocked haddock and cockle soup