Thursday, 21 February 2013

Pump Up The Pizza!

Pizza con Pomodoro, Zucca, Mozzarella, Olive e Basilico
Pizza with Tomato, Pumpkin, Mozzarella, Olives & Basil

Of course I am not suggesting making a pizza that is thick when I talk about it being "pumped up"- thick based pizza is a pretty awful affair (unless it is a Sicilian "Sfincione" ;-) No, no... I am talking about adding some delicious grated pump-kin to the topping! A much more interesting and delicious matter altogether!

Pumpkin is a great ingredient to enjoy in savory dishes as well as sweet- but of course its natural sweetness is what makes it so yummy- especially in the case of say, a Hokkaido, or in this case, a butternut. I had a nice chunk left in the fridge from last night barley recipe... not quite enough for a full meal in itself, but plenty for a tasty treat like this. Once grated up, it was all ready to go and just 15 minutes away from becoming an incredibly tasty pizza... lucky me! And lucky you too- because I am about to tell you how to make it... 

As usual, on a weekday night when I want to get things done quickly, I turned to a store-bought "fresh" pizza dough- the kind you get on a roll, all ready to bake and perfect for this kind of affair. I have to admit that I can not be bothered to go to the trouble of making a pizza dough from scratch for one small pizza- it doesn't make sense to me. Nor does it strike me as particularly interesting for you, if each time that I post a pizza idea, I go through the litany of mixing flour with warm water and yeast, kneading, rolling etc. yadda yadda yadda... Nope! Let's assume you have your dough ready- as I did... and cut to the chase! The only important thing you need to know when I make pizza at home- is that I use my frying pan to make it- but of course you already know that... so cut the dough into a circle the size of your non-stick pan, drop it inside and get ready to have some fun! But turn on your oven first to the highest setting to have it hot and ready to go in a few minutes!

It's all about the topping, so let's get started with that. The first thing that goes on top of the dough, is some "passata"- a basic tomato sauce base of pureed, cooked tomatoes. Next came a sprinkle of finely chopped garlic, salt and pepper. I then spread out a few blobs of mozzarella cheese and then in between the cheese, the grated pumpkin. I grated the pumpkin with a little nutmeg and then added sliced black olives and a few slices of shallot all over the pizza, so that there was a nice even spread. A little more salt and pepper, a light sprinkle of fresh thyme and a drizzle of olive oil, especially over the pumpkin. 

Next thing is to do is to pop it onto the stove, also at the highest setting. Whilst it is getting nice and hot and toasted from below, wrap the handle in aluminum foil so that it will be protected for its 5 minutes in the oven... because after 5 minutes on the stove top, that is all it will take in the oven to be ready, crispy, golden and as perfect looking as mine... you are going to love it! because it tastes even better than it looks!

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