Veggie Pizza (from scratch)
I was so fascinated by the painting that Ashok did on his wall at home that I talked him into painting one for me this weekend.
We zeroed in on an entrance wall. But because MK and I haven’t really invested in the interiors of this house yet, the wall wasn’t exactly an ideal canvas. Luckily, we caught hold of a painter who was ready to do just one wall in a day. Canvas nice and fresh, Ashok set to work on a Sunday morning, and this is what it ended up as:
And as poor Ashok slogged, and MK and bro indulged in their standard bro-in-law talk, I decided to make pizza.
That’s how it started and turned out. Simple, yum.
For the pizza base:
- 220 gms of flour
- 1 tbsp. fresh or 2 tbsp. dry yeast
- 1 tsp. salt
- 2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tsp. sugar
For the sauce:
- 2 medium sized onions
- 8-10 cloves of garlic
- 4 medium, ripe tomatoes
- ½ cup of tomato sauce or good quality ketchup
- A little hint of sugar
- Basil/oregano or both
For the toppings:
- A good stock of mozzarella or any other cheese of choice (I had some mozzarella and cheddar, so I used a mixture of both; stick to mozzarella if you really like the stringiness)
- Veggies—I used onions, tomatoes, peppers, grilled aubergine (pan grilled with salt and red chili powder—trust me, it was delicious), and steamed corn
- Dried, red chili, chopped
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Start by making the dough—place the yeast and sugar in a bowl and pour on about ½ a cup of lukewarm water. Leave in a warm place for about 10 minutes or until frothy and well fermented.
- Place the flour and salt in a mixing bowl. Add the yeast and sugar liquid and knead to a smooth dough, adding water if necessary.
- Add the extra virgin olive oil and knead again. Cover with a damp cloth or cling film and leave to rest in a warm place for about 20 minutes.
- Meanwhile, pass the onion and garlic through a food processor until just under finely chopped.
- In an as yet cold pan, pour in some extra virgin olive oil and add the onion and garlic mixture. Now, turn on the heat and cook until the raw smell of the onion goes away and it’s just about to turn brown.
- Pass the tomatoes through a blender until almost smooth. Add to the pan.
- Add the tomato sauce or ketchup and adjust seasoning. Tear in some basil or oregano. I like basil way more than oregano—it lends the freshest flavor. Reduce to a spread-able consistency.
- Preheat the oven to about 190 degrees centigrade.
- Knock back the dough. Divide into two portions and roll out to desired thickness. I made mine thick-ish. Prick with fork.
- Place onto a greased and floured pizza plate or stone if lucky enough to possess one.
- Bake for about 10 minutes until the base is almost done. Be careful not to brown the bottom too much at this stage.
- Remove from oven and smear on a generous ladleful of the sauce. Grate on the cheese. Liberally. Really.
- Adorn the soft, white bed of cheese with choice of toppings, tear on some more basil, and grate on more cheese—you will have to do this if cheese-lover bro holds you at gunpoint.
- Place in a hot oven for about 10 to 12 minutes or until done.
- Share with loved ones on a vella Sunday.
- Or just be greedy.