Tuesday, 10 May 2011


We often make this midweek, putting the dough on in the breadmaker before walking to the shops to pick up some fresh topping. The asparagus season is still on and tonight we find a reasonable bunch at our local shop, combining them with fresh mozzarella and a few tomatoes to make a delicious spring topping. In winter I tend to make a 'proper' tomato sauce with onions, garlic and tinned tomatoes, and beef up the topping with a broken egg or some parma ham. We keep things simple tonight, making one square 30cm-side pizza for the two of us, with some salad.

For the dough:
  • 50 ml boiling water
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 100 ml cold water
  • 1/2 tbsp active dried yeast
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 250g strong white bread flour
  • 1 tsp salt
For the topping:
  • a bunch of asparagus
  • 2 medium tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp tomato puree
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • olive oil
  • a big ball of mozzarella
  • fresh basil

In the breadmaker bucket, or a big bowl, dissolve the sugar in the boiling water, then dilute to body heat with the cold water and add the yeast. Leave for 5-10 minutes until active and frothy. Add the rest of the dough ingredients and set your breadmaker to dough cycle. Or, combine well, then knead for 10 minutes, rest for 20, knead again for 5 and rest again for 30 minutes.

While the dough is proving, slice the asparagus into bite-sized pieces, cutting any fat stalks in half if they are of uneven size. Steam for 3 minutes over a rolling boil until just al dente, and remove from the heat and uncover. Slice the tomatoes into thin circles.

Preheat the oven to 200 C. Roll the dough out on a lightly-floured surface until thin and flat; try to make it about 1cm larger than your baking tray to allow for some contraction and to leave a crust. If you want a thick-crust pizza, leave it in a warm place, covered with a damp tea towel for half an hour.

Place the rolled dough on a pizza pan, hot stone or baking tray, and spread over the tomato puree, sprinkle with oregano and then add the thin slices of tomato. Bake for 15 minutes, remove and add the asparagus pieces and tear over the mozzarella. Brush the crust with a little olive oil and bake for a further 5-10 minutes, until the mozzarella is done to your liking. Personally I like mine runny rather than golden :) Tear over the fresh basil and serve with a simple salad.

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