I'm always experimenting with new recipes. It's most weeks that I attempt one. It may end up being 'a one-off', 'a phase', or indeed 'a stayer'. Amongst these weekly 'experiments' are those staples that appear frequently at my family dinner table. One such supper is homemade pizza. I shot myself in the foot the day I conquered the homemade pizza. My husband will no longer eat neither the shop-bought or takeaway varieties.As a cook I saw those as quite a 'treat' on the occasions that we had them. Such is life. I should be more careful in the kitchen in future. This pizza recipe is a little different to the norm as it doesn't have the traditional layer of tomato sauce. It's simply chard, garlic, cheese and some seasonings. The cooked chard is really quite something that could only be described as something akin to crispy seaweed. Simple, delicious and worth a go at making.
I've spent countless times trying varies pizza dough recipes all to varying degrees of success. However a few years ago I tried this recipe from Jamie Oliver and have never looked back. I make a big batch and then divide the portions up, wrap them in cling film and pop them in the freezer. They defrost really quickly, meaning a quick pizza supper is never far away.
Foolproof Pizza Dough
1 kg white bread flour or Tipo '00' flour, or 800g strong white bread flour or Tipo '00' flour, plus 200g finely ground semolina flour
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
2 x 7 g dried yeast sachets
1 tablespoon golden caster sugar
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
650 ml lukewarm water
Sieve the flour/s and salt on to a clean work surface and make a well in the middle. In a jug, mix the yeast, sugar and olive oil into the water and leave for a few minutes, then pour into the well. Using a fork, bring the flour in gradually from the sides and swirl it into the liquid. Keep mixing, drawing larger amounts of flour in, and when it all starts to come together, work the rest of the flour in with your clean, flour-dusted hands. Knead until you have a smooth, springy dough.
Place the ball of dough in a large flour-dusted bowl and flour the top of it. Cover the bowl with a damp cloth and place in a warm room for about an hour until the dough has doubled in size.
Now remove the dough to a flour-dusted surface and knead it around a bit to push the air out with your hands – this is called knocking back the dough. You can either use it immediately, or keep it, wrapped in clingfilm, in the fridge (or freezer) until required. If using straight away, divide the dough up into as many little balls as you want to make pizzas – this amount of dough is enough to make about six to eight medium pizzas.
Swiss Chard, Garlic & Gruyere Pizza.
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, sliced
1 bunch Swiss chard (approx 1lb), stems removed and thinly sliced, leaves torn into pieces
1 quantity of pizza dough
110g grated Gruyere
Pinch red-pepper flakes
Place pizza stone or inverted baking sheet in oven and heat to 250°C/500°F/gas 9.
Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Cook garlic until just tender, about 1 minute. Add chard stems and cook for roughly 5 mins, stirring, until tender. Working in batches, add leaves and cook for roughly 5 mins until just wilted. Season with salt and set aside.
Roll out a portion of your pizza dough and place on a floured baking sheet or your pizza stone. Brush with remaining oil and season with salt. Sprinkle with half the Gruyere, then top with chard and sprinkle with remaining Gruyere. Finally sprinkle over some pepper flakes to taste.
Bake in the oven until cheese is bubbly and crust is golden. 13 to 15 minutes should do it.