I’ve spoken before about the Italian heritage in Dario’s family. The irony is, his dad rarely makes pizza. Pasta will always be a mainstay however for some reason, pizza is just not something he cooks often. The tradition has, however, been well and truly revived by Dario’s generation as he and his three siblings can all make an insanely good dough.
I’d like to think that Dario and my relationship with making and eating pizza has really flourished over the years (I’m not sure Dario sees it this way – I don’t think he thinks about it much really except that he eats it and it tastes really really good). I like to think that early on, like any young relationship it started off adventurous and fresh, albeit sometimes treacherous. Back in the early days we couldn’t get enough of it – sometimes homemade sometimes not – even sometimes venturing into the depths of depravity by sneaking down to the local Dominos on a uni night only to wake up desperately thirsty at 3am reminding ourselves never to go there again. Yeah it happened, stop judging me I know you’ve all done it.
Within a few years, we had got the bases down to an art – beautifully thin with a little bit of airiness, slightly oily dough with our standard pesto and potato, margherita or anchovy and parmesan. Yet, as we all know but don’t want to admit, honeymoon periods never last and a good relationship needs a bit of spice every now and then. So inevitably the humdrum of everyday pizza led to experimentation and even a few forays into *gasp* gluten free bases.
Eventually though, I’d like to think it has blossomed into a rock-solid, long lasting and beautiful partnership. It knows it’s place and we know ours. It’s a match made in heaven.
And let’s be honest – it’s all in the dough and everyone likes it different. Personally, I prefer it flat and woodfired if possible, bianco (with no tomato sauce base) and with simple toppings. I have been using spelt and sometimes kamut flour lately but have had success with combinations of spelt, rice, millet and potato flour. We still haven’t found a decent base recipe without gluten in it so if you have any ideas please let me know!
Makes 3 large pizzas
One 7gm sachet dry yeast
500ml warm water (not boiling)
3 cups spelt flour (1-1 1/2 cups per pizza base)
Mix the sachet of yeast with the warm water and let stand until it froths, about 10 minutes. Place flour onto a bench or table in a mound and make a large well in the centre (similar to when making pasta). Combine the flour and water bit by bit until it forms a dough that is light and soft but not sticky. You can also do this in a bowl. Cover and leave the dough to prove in a warm place for about 30 minutes*.
Divide the dough into three equal portions. Knead it lightly (preferably like this. Just joking. But seriously how insanely good is that guy?!) then roll each one out onto an oiled and floured pizza tray. Top with your favourite ingredients.
*If you like fluffier pizzas you can leave the dough to prove for longer than this. You can also leave it once you have rolled it out onto the pizza trays for another 30 minutes or so – just cover it with a damp tea towel to prevent it drying out.
These pizzas were: fresh tomato, capsicum, olives, salt and thyme and zucchini with a combined ricotta, the zest and juice of one lemon, a clove of crushed garlic and fresh thyme.
Cook for 18-20 minutes at 200 degrees Celsius or until brown around the edges. Eat a lot of it. Maybe all of it.
Ps. Happy birthday to my dear mum and sister. I love you both so much xxxxx