Thursday, 15 August 2013

Authentic Stone-Baked Pizza

Pizza is hands-down my favourite food. Put one in front of me and I'll eat it- there's no stopping me. So when we arrived at our Masseria and we saw an authentic stone pizza oven, we all got a little jittery... well maybe just Patrick and I. From Day One we said we were going to make our own pizzas in the ovens and we were determined to stick to our word!

Despite the concierge Angelo saying it was practically impossible for us to cook our own pizzas in the oven because it involves skills that only pizzolos have, we still went ahead with it. And guess what Angelo, they were bloody fantastic. 

First things first: Gather your team. You'll need some strong hunky men (queue Oliver and Adam) to help gather the wood for the fire whilst the rest start making the dough and sauce. 

The thing is with a stone oven is you need to light it a good 3-4 hours (depending on it's size) before you're planning to start cooking. We therefore lit it at 4ish in time for dinner at 7. This is so the stone is so hot that the pizza only needs to be in there for a short while (around 4 minutes). 

Make the fire and then push it to one side of the oven so the flames curl up the roof.

After the fire is lit and burning away, go and fetch only the finest ingredients. 

 Or in Patrick's case some Limoncello...

We found an amazing shop called Di Vino in the local town where, because we purchased so much, the kind man threw in (well-obviously not literally) an extra bottle of rose. Thank you very much- we will be coming back again!

So, at this point your fire should be on fire (excuse the pun). Now it's time to start on the dough and the sauce. We actually got the dough recipe from Jamie Oliver as he's always a super reliable chap. Put a tea towel over the bowls and let them rise in a warmish/dry place. Obviously being in Italy we just put them outside!

It's now time to make the sauce.

There was already a bottle of Passata in the house already which was ideal. So to save on washing up, chop up garlic and fresh basil, scrape it all into the bottle itself and give it a little shake. (with the lid on obviously). Put the bottle in the fridge until you need to use it.

When the oven is hot enough, separate the dough into medium-sized balls and roll them out and stretch them into flat circle shapes.

Then find a super cute child to help you put the toppings on....

We chose the standard Moz, Tomato Sauce and Pepperoni but added a dribble of pesto to make it that extra bit more authentic.

On some of them we did Mushrooms and Peppers.

Put some flour on the pizza- spatula so that when you put the pizza on, it slides off easily without breaking. 

Put your pizzas in your oven and occasionally turn them round using the spatula to make sure they cook evenly.

If your oven is hot enough they shouldn't be in there for very long!

Sit down and enjoy either by themselves or if you're super posh, have a starter like we did of parsley and garlic prawns. Yes please!

Unfortunately this is the only picture we have of our finished- pizzas! They were eaten up so quickly I barely had time to take my camera lens off!

The final thing you need to do is sit down and enjoy the beautiful food you've made with friends!

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