Thursday, September 22, 2011

Tomato, Mozzarella and Basil Thin-Crust Pizza

One of my absolute favourite salads is the Insalata Caprese, a simple Italian salad made from buffalo mozzarella, fresh tomatos and basil. Good buffalo mozzarella is a real treasure: silky and pale, rich but surprisingly light. It's tasty enough not to warrant much seasoning (just a little olive oil works wonders for me) and is great when paired with a nice, ripe but firm tomato and a leaf of basil. Wondrous indeed. 

I was hankering for the flavour of an Insalata Caprese but wanted something a little more filling and so I decided on making a pizza using buffalo mozzarella, oven-dried tomatoes and basil. Kinda like a pizza margherita.

Step one: Oven roasting the tomatoes. Simple halve the tomatoes and lay them on a baking sheet, skin-side down. Drizzle some olive oil on the tomatoes and put them in the oven (200C) for about 45 mins.

Step two is making the pizza dough: I made a simple flat bread as I wanted a thin crusted pizza. 
What you will need is:
13/4 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
1/3 cup olive oil
1/2 cup water

Whisk the flour, baking powder and salt together in a bowl. Make a well in the centre and add the water and oil and, using a wooden spoon, gently mix the flour and the liquid till a dough forms. Knead the dough a few times and then roll in on a lightly floured surface till you get a 1/2cm thin crush (you can roll it into a circle but if you, like me, like a rustic pizza, shape doesn't quite matter).

Transfer the dough onto a baking sheet and drizzle the top roughly with some olive oil (about 1 tbsp should do).

Step Three is assembling the pizza. You will need about 1 cup of basil leaves to be placed on the based of the dough. Now, arrange the oven-roasted tomatoes around the dough, on and in between the basil. Next dot the spaces between the tomatoes and basil with the buffalo mozzarella (which comes in rounds, usually).

Step Four: Season the pizza with salt and pepper.

Step Five: Bake in a preheated oven (220C) for about 10-15 mins or till the crust is cooked. 

Step Six: Eat! Lick fingers! Eat some more!

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