WHEN A MOON HITS YOUR EYE LIKE A BIG PIZZA PIE THAT'S AMORE

Pizza with Peppers, Onion and Olives / Pizza con peperoni, cipolla e olive

“Ideal for sharing, this is a large, almost focaccia-style pizza is perfect for a night in with friends or family.” Gino D’Acampo. “This recipe will make a pizza base which is soft and chewy with a crisp crust”. Maxine Clark

Credit: Adapted from recipes by Maxine Clark in her book “The Italian Country Table – simple recipes for trattoria classics” and Gino D’Acampo in his book “Gino’s Veg Italia”.

Ingredients

  • For the Dough:
  • 500g Italian ‘O0’ grade flour or unbleached plain/all-purpose flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 15g compressed fresh yeast OR 1 tablespoon active dried yeast OR 1 x 7 gm sachet of fast action dried yeast
  • 300 ml of hand-hot water
  • 2 teaspoons of fine salt
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for greasing
  • For the topping:
  • 400g Italian passata (sieved tomatoes)
  • 1 medium white onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 orange and 1 red coloured bell pepper, deseed, top and tailed and cut into thin strips
  • 20 pitted green olives, rinsed, drained and cut in half
  • 200 g vegetarian ricotta soft cheese
  • 10g vegetarian pecorino cheese, finely grated
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Method

  1. Sift the flour into a large bowl. Add the yeast to one side of the bowl and the salt to the other. Make a well in the centre and add the oil then gradually pour in 300ml warm water and mix together using a wooden spoon. When thoroughly mixed into a ball shape transfer to a wooden chopping board.
  2. Use your hands and knead the dough on the lightly floured board surface for about 10 minutes or until soft, smooth and elastic. If you feel the dough is sticky, flour your hands, not the dough.
  3. Shape the dough into a neat round ball and place in a large oiled bowl. Brush the top with a little oil. Cover with cling film or a damp kitchen towel and leave to rise in a warm, draught-free place for about 1 hour or until doubled in size.
  4. Brush a large non-stick rimless baking tray, measuring about 30 x 32cm, with oil and set aside.
  5. Uncover the dough and transfer it onto a lightly floured chopping board surface, knead just 3 or 4 times to knock out the air and roll into a circle 25 cm to 30 cm in diameter. Alternatively, using your fingertips, gently flatten the dough to extend to the sides (it should be about 1cm thick). Transfer to the oiled baking tray. Press your fingertips into the dough to create indentations. Brush over a little oil, cover with a tea towel and leave to rise again in a warm place for a further 20 minutes.
  6. Preheat the oven to 220°C/ 425°F / gas mark 6.
  7. Warm the olive oil in a pan then add the onion slices. Stir, then add a pinch of salt and stir again. Cook on a low heat until the onion becomes transparent. Stir often. Add the pepper slices and the oregano and mix thoroughly with the onion. Cook on a low heat until the peppers are softened, about 10 minutes. Stir frequently. Turn off the heat and transfer the onion pepper mix to a warm dish, cover and set aside.
  8. Remove the kitchen towel and make more indentations in the dough. Spread over the passata, leaving a 1cm border all round. Scatter the peppers and onion over the passata followed by the olives. Use a teaspoon to arrange the ricotta evenly over the pizza base and sprinkle over the top with pecorino cheese. Season with fine salt and drizzle the top with the extra virgin olive oil.
  9. Bake in the oven for 18 to 20 minutes or until the crust is golden and the cheese melted and bubbling. Remove from the oven and transfer to a wire rack to cool slightly.
  10. Move the pizza to a serving board and sprinkle with cracked black pepper: cut into slices with a pizza wheel blade and serve while still hot.
Produced by John Fletcher @ http://www.johnstastesofitaly.com

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