It's St Patricks Day and the food blog world has turned green, no matter where people are from they're making green eats and treats, "Irish" themed dinners and all sorts. Me on the other hand, I made Italian.
Maryann of Finding La Dolce Vita and Marie of Proud Italian Cook are hosting a great food event called Festa Italiana where we were encouraged to cook some Italian food.
I decided to try something new but also something I knew I loved and had a feeling would be something Rob would love too: calzone (a folded pizza).
I know I've made pizza dough before, but we had recently been given Jamie at Home and he had a recipe for pizza dough and even a great recipe for some tasty tomato sauce so it seemed fitting to give these recipes a go and try a different dough for fun.
I had a few problems with the dough rising according to Jamie's instructions so I stole ideas from the last Daring Bakers challenge (French bread) and instead of draping a damp teatowel over the bowl during the rise I put cling film over the top and a dry towel over the top of that.
Makes 3-4 medium sized thin pizza bases or 2 calzones
500g strong white bread flour
1/2 tbsp fine sea salt
7g sachet of dried yeast
1/2 tbsp caster sugar
2 tbsp EVOO
325 ml lukewarm water
1. Sieve the flour and salt together into a bowl. Make a well in the middle of the flour.
2. In a jug mix the yeast, sugar and olive oil into the water and leave to sit for a few minutes, then pour into the well.
3. Gradually mix the flour into the liquid to make the dough. When it has all come together place on a floured surface and knead until smooth and springy.
4. Place the ball of dough into a floured bowl and flour the top of it. Cover the bowl in cling film and drape a dry teatowel over the top. Set aside in a warm room for about an hour until it doubles in size.
5. Remove the dough to a floured surface and knead it around, pushing the air out of it.
You can either use it straight away or else store it wrapped in cling film in the fridge (or even freezer). I split the dough into 2 and made the round bases, and stored them stacked on a tray in the fridge with layers of oiled and floured tin foil between each base.
Makes 500ml of sauce
2 tbsp olive oil
4 cloves of garlic, finely sliced
handful of fresh basil leaves, torn
3 x 400g tins of whole plum tomatoes
salt and pepper
1. Place the oil in a pan and turn the heat on.
2. Add the garlic, once it starts to brown add the basil and tomato (make sure you squash the tomatoes in the pan to get the juices out and make the sauce more tomatoey)
3. Season with salt and pepper, then leave to come to the boil.
4. Strain the sauce through a through a coarse sieve or colander and into a bowl.
5. The garlic and basil can be disposed of, make sure you push as much of the sauce through as possible.
6. Add the sieved sauce back to the pan and bring to the boil, then turn down the heat and simmer for 5-10 minutes.
This gives plenty of sauce that can be used for all sorts of things including pizza sauce - I'll be using the rest to make some bolognese later this week
For making the calzone I didn't want to just make a different dough and make the sauce, I also wanted to use ingredients that I hadn't used before, so I used a mozzarella ball, bought a mix of mushrooms including shitake (which I'd never used) and some pancetta. Rob just wanted his regular pizza toppings (chicken and bacon) but also asked for some red pepper! I was in shock, he's asking for veg now!!!! Long may it last.
1. Heat your oven to maximum (about 240˚C on my oven).
2. Lay your pizza base out and dress like you would for a pizza.
3. Fold over the pizza and seal the edges by creating pleats.
4. Place on a tray and cook in the oven for 10-15 minutes.
As easy as that!!!! And even more delicious!