Slice it.

I know its been a while since a post but I have had to get a few projects off my desk before I could find the time. All the projects are done now though and as I’ve handed all in ahead of schedule I thought, why not celebrate with Pizza! I think basically everyone likes a pizza every now and again. Personally, I like a thick crust with lots of garlicy sauce and some spice, yum! Although everyone seems to love pizza, few people I know actually make it from scratch themselves. I’m gonna show you a brilliant recipe for a pizza that will impress any and everyone. Why not invite your best friends over for a pizza party or make your special someone their favourite? 

Right, you need:

Base:
800g 00 flour
200g semolina
2x7g fast action yeast
700ml warm water
1 generous tbsp honey
Tbsp salt
Sauce:
1 stick celery
2 red onions
1 carton of passata
5 gloves of garlic – less if you’re not a lover
1 tsp each of fennel seeds, basil and oregano
1 tbsp sugar
1 carrot
1 tin chopped tomatoes
1 can of tomato puree
Salt and pepper
Topping – depends on you!
You ready? This one is definitely not gluten free so sorry to any of my coeliac readers! 
Firstly chop all your vegetables for the sauce. In our house, we have a mini chopper. This is just a little kitchen gadget that chops bits of vegetables and things really, really finely. You can get them for about €20 and they are useful! I’d recommend you buy one if you make a lot of pasta or pizza sauces, you don’t need one though. I used mine in this recipe today just to make sure the sauce was nice and smooth. It still has small pieces of the vegetables but nothing bite sized. If you don’t have one, just chop your veg finely. Once you’re happy, put the vegetables to one side. Open your tomato puree can and your tinned tomatoes and leave them to one side as well. A bit of preparation never hurt anyone.
Now I want you to make your pizza dough. Weigh out your flour and semolina into a big bowl. You can do this on a clean work surface but if you’re new to it then I’d definitely advise the bowl. Add a tablespoon of salt to your flour ans mix all together. Get your warm water and add your yeast and honey to it. Give it a tiny mix and leave to stand for a few minutes. Once this has become all froathy, tip it into your flour and mix until combined. Don’t be shy, get your hands stuck in!
Now, your dough has come together but still has a long way to go. Lift it out onto a lightly floured surface and start kneading it. Put your strength into it. Lift it, pull it, twist it and throw it for the next ten minutes. By the end the dough should stretch easily and be elastic like. If its not, keep going! When its ready, roll it into a ball and score the top with a knife. Lift it into a floured bowl and sprinkle with a but more flour. This encourages it to rise. Place in a warm place for an hour- covering it with a clean teatowel will help too.
While your dough is proving, make your sauce. Get a large saucepan and heat some oil. Add I’m your chopped vegetables and cook on a low heat until soft. Add your tomato paste and chopped tomatoes and stir. Follow this with your spoons of herbs and sugar. I got my spicein the Quay Co-Op in Cork. Its cheaper usually to buy them in bags rather than jars so have a look in your health shops.
 Have a taste now, and then add your salt and pepper to your own liking. Add your passata now and let the sauce simmer while covered for about 50 minutes.
So, 50 minutes have passed. Your sauce is tasting good and its time to check on your dough. It should, by now, have risen considerably. 
See how its almost coming out of the bowl here in my photo? That’s what you want! Tip it out onto a clean surface and knock the air out of it by kneading it again. Cut off a quarter or the dough for your first pizza and place the remainder to one side.
Now, rolling out the dough is a dose, not everyone can throw it up into the air and make a perfect base. I certainly can’t so what I try to do is roll it into a circular shape and then gently stretch of out from there to the size you want and the thickness too. Remember, if you like a thin base you’ll need to have light toppings as it won’t be able to hold it up.
Once you’ve got your shape right, place it on your oiled pizza tray and dust the top with semolina again. Place it in the oven for about ten minutes to prebake. You don’t have to do this but I always find its best, especially if you’re living in student housing with a rubbish oven like I am! After the ten minutes, take it out and spread your sauce on top. 
Follow with your desired toppings and bake for a further 20 minutes at gas 7. Make sure it doesn’t burn though! 
You have a ton of dough left over. Why not roll some more out and freeze them? Or a good lunch box idea are pizza rolls! Roll out the dough into a rectangular shape. Add your sauce and toppings and roll it up like you would a Swiss roll. Cut into slices and bake for about ten to fifteen minutes. These will liven you up come three o clock tomorrow at work. 
Some of my favourite pizza toppings are sausage, ham, red onion, chilli and pineapple. What are yours?

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