Im the first to admit that Im pretty fussy when it comes to pizza. I guess its my Italian genes, perhaps, and growing up with homemade pizza when the only pizza known to my friends was the microwaveable frozen kind.
We didn’t eat too much pizza when we were little however – it was definitely a treat – and not much has changed since then. Pizza has a bit of a bad rap, mostly due to the dial-a-pizza varieties. If you make the pizza yourself however you can control what goes into it and make sure you use good ingredients and dont go too heavy on the unhealthy ingredients.
I find the best kind of pizza is normally quite a simple pizza with good, whole ingredients – homemade dough, fresh tomato sauce, good quality mozzarella and one or two toppings. When we make pizza at home we usually keep the toppings pretty simple, sometimes frying up some mushroom or just adding fresh herbs. When we have more time though, this pizza is hands-down our household favorite. It does take a little effort – you could cut corners by buying your pizza base or using store-bought sauce, but if you have the time, I definitely recommend making it all from scratch – I promise you wont be dissapointed!
A word on the dough – Im still yet to find the perfect pizza dough. I’ve had success using Peter Reinharts dough (via 101 cookbooks) recipe with some success, although it does require a bit of advance planning – the dough needs to rise overnight in the fridge. If you dont have as much time, you can always use the 6-hour rise version of this. As for a dough with a quicker rising time – for those of you who dont plan dinner half a day out – unfortunately I dont have a tried and tested recipe for you. We usually make our own dough using one of these methods (and some advanced planning), or for a quick weeknight pizza we’ll buy wholemeal pita breads to use. If anyone has any suggestions for a great pizza dough, please post in the comments. Otherwise I’ll keep experimenting and keep you posted on my progress.
Roast Pumpkin, caramelised onion and walnut pizza
800g pumpkin, skin and seeds removed
To roast the pumpkin, preheat oven to 200 degrees Celsius (390 degrees Farenheit). Chop the pumpkin into bite-sized pieced and place on a lined baking tray. Spray with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Bake for around forty minutes, turning half way through.
3 large brown onions
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp brown sugar
To caramelise the onion, peel and halve the onions and then thinly slice. Heat the olive oil over medium to low heat. Add the onions and stir to coat. Reduce to a low heat and cook, stirring, 5 minutes. Add the sugar and stir to combine, continue to cook stirring occasionally for another 5 minutes. Add a few glugs (around 2-3 Tbsps) of red wine. Stir, and continue to cook for another 15 to 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onions have are cooked through and caramelised.
For the pizza
Pizza dough (see here or here to make your own)
Tomato sauce (I’ve used my recipe here)
A few handfuls baby spinach
150g shredded mozzarella cheese
75g crumbled feta
1/2 cup walnuts, roughly chopped
Fresh oregano or basil to serve
Preheat oven to 230 degrees Celsius (450 degrees Fahrenheit).
Spread pizza dough out on a large lined baking tray. Add a few spoonfuls of sauce and use the back of the spoon to even out over the dough. cover lightly with the spinach, then add the onions, pumpkin, walnuts and lastly the cheeses. Bake for 10 – 15 minutes, checking after 10.
Sprinkle with fresh oregano or basil before serving.