A post-marathon indulgence from Beca Lyne-Pirkis
I’ve created this pizza recipe as a half and half, which means there are two different toppings for you to choose from. Of course, you can choose to do the whole pizza with just one of the toppings, but I like a bit of variety and also couldn’t choose between them, as they’re both firm favourites. A little more effort is needed for the white pizza base, but do make the effort as it’s delicious.
For the pizza dough:
500g strong wholemeal ground bread flour
7g fast acting yeast
425ml warm water, the same temperature as your hand
For the white half:
1 tbsp unsalted butter
1 tbsp plain flour
25g grated parmesan
2 large portobello mushrooms
A handful of new potatoes
125g blue cheese (I used blue Shropshire, great flavour and colour)
For the tomato half:
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 large garlic cloves
1 tbsp olive oil
275g tomatoes (I used plum on the vine)
½ tsp dried oregano or 1 heaped tsp fresh oregano
1-2 Italian-style sausages, skins removed
½ ball of mozzarella
50g pitted black Spanish olives
½-1 tsp fennel seeds
½-1 tsp dried chilli flakes
To make the dough, place the flour, yeast and salt in a bowl and mix to combine. Add the water and using a dough scraper or a spatula, bring the mixture together into a rough ball of dough and scrape out onto a work surface. Knead the dough until smooth and elastic; this will take around 10 mins as the dough will be sticky. Persevere and don’t be tempted to put extra flour down, as this will change the recipe and give you a heavy dough.
Once the dough is smooth and elastic to touch, shape into a ball and place back in the bowl to rest. Leave covered for at least 1-2 hours, or until the dough has doubled in size.
While the dough is proving, make your two base sauces. For the tomato base, chop the onion and garlic finely and sweat over a low heat in a little olive oil for around 5 mins, or until they’re soft. Chop the tomatoes and add them to the saucepan along with a little salt and the oregano. Cook until the tomatoes have broken down, which will take a further 5 mins and then taste to check the seasoning, adding a little more salt if needed. Remove from the hob and leave to cool before blitzing into a smooth sauce.
For the white base, melt the butter in a small saucepan over a low heat and add the flour to make a paste. Slowly add in the milk a little at a time, stirring continuously so that you have a smooth and thick white sauce. It should be the consistency of yoghurt. Season with salt and pepper and add in the grated parmesan before removing from the heat to cool a little. Cover with some cling film in order to stop a skin forming.
Once the dough has doubled in size, grease a baking tray measuring 25cm x 40cm and around 3cm deep. Scrape the dough out of the bowl, straight into the greased tray and using your fingers to gently press the dough out to fit into the corners, being careful not to tear the dough. It won’t stretch to fit perfectly straight away, so leave it for 10 mins before stretching and pressing the dough again, and cover with a tea towel to prove for a second time.
During the second prove, prepare your toppings. Remove the skins from the sausages and break up the meat into smaller bite size morsels, slice or tear the mozzarella and select your olives. For the white pizza base, wash and slice the leek, wipe clean and slice the mushroom, half/quarter the new potatoes and par-boil in salted water and crumble the blue cheese ready for topping.
Lightly sauté the leek in a little olive oil but don’t cook fully, until soft—this just takes the rawness away from the leeks. Quickly cook the mushrooms too for a few secs each side to get rid of some moisture.
Preheat the oven to 200C. Generously spoon and spread the two toppings onto their respective halves, making sure not to go right up to the edge. For the tomato base, evenly arrange the sausage meat, mozzarella and olives over the base and sprinkle over the fennel seeds and chilli flakes. For the white base half, evenly arrange the leek, mushrooms and potatoes and finely the blue cheese.
Bake in the oven for 20 mins, or until the toppings are golden brown and the crust is baked and crunchy. Serve the pizza hot with a crunchy salad.
Recipe: Beca Lyne-Pirkis