Pizza is a religion. It unites and it divides us: have you ever tried to mention a chicken pizza to an Italian? I dare you.
As every successful cult, it is based on a few overarching principles (a crust, a sauce, a cheese), common wisdom (the cheese is hot straight out from the oven), and small but crucial variations based on culture and needs (I have heard that there are more than three hundred types of pizza, Neapolitan, Roman, New York, Lahmacun to name a few).
Personally, pizza is what marks my days. I wait for it all week long, it’s not a weekend if I don’t eat it. It brings me joy, and I know I should be more open-minded, but I don’t trust people who don’t like it. I do worship pizza.
You might think I am exaggerating, but I can truly say that I associate pizza with all my happy memories. When I was a child, my family and I were eating out only in pizzerias. My aunt Maria Teresa prepared a killer homemade pizza on Sunday night, thick crust with a 10 out of 10 layering of toppings.
As I grew up, pizza meant independence. When I was 10 years old, a classmate organised her birthday party in a pizzeria. I remember getting ready and going out to the restaurant on my own, feeling so mature and classy. The power of pizza.
Later, pizza simply meant friendship. I have a personal competition and aim to stuff myself with as much pizza as possible every time I go back to Italy. My dear friend Alice is always happy to help out and when we are finally reunited, we always go out for pizza and a side of gossip. We chat and laugh till the owners kick us out. Pizza never tastes better than this.
Pizza also taught me how to discover new things: say yes to everything without losing respect for yourself. In other words, pineapple maybe, chicken never. When I was living in Illinois, I immediately fell in love with Chicago deep side pizza. I had no idea that it would differ so much from the Italian pizza and ordered a whole pan for myself. I didn’t give up but ended up eating pizza for the rest of the week – and what a great week that was!
There are a few things that are as satisfying as making your own pizza. It’s surprisingly easy, and it just requires a bit of patience with proofing.
As a dedicated pizza believer, I eat pizza at least once a week, always trying to perfect it. There are so many ways to make pizza, but I thought to start with my easiest recipe. As I said, pizza is a religion and I’ll do everything I can to get you on board.
Thin Crust PizzaCourse: BAKING, MainDifficulty: Easy
This is my tried and tested recipe for a thin crust homemade pizza. It’s incredibly easy and everyone can make it at home. It requires no equipment, although a stand mixer will make the kneading much easier.
- The pizza dough
250 g strong white flour
250 g strong wholemeal flour
4 g of dried yeast
1 tsp of sugar
320 ml of water at room temperature
5-10 g fine sea salt (depending on how salty you like your food – you do you)
20 ml extravergin olive oil
- The pizza toppings
200 ml tomato sauce
200 g of mozzarella cheese
any toppings of your choice – see below for inspiration
- Making the pizza dough
- Put the flours, yeast, and sugar plus two tablespoons of water into a large bowl
- Mix all the ingredients while slowly pouring in 1/2 of the total water
- Add the sea salt and oil
- Slowly pour in the remaining water
- Knead the dough for 7-10 minutes (you can do this by hand or with the help of a mixer). The dough is very sticky, but don’t give up, you got this! Continue to knead until you get a smoother texture. If the dough is too sticky, I allow you to give up a little and add up to three tablespoons of flour
- Transfer the dough to a floured surface and knead for a couple of minutes
- Here is the secret to easily make a thin pizza base: divide the dough into two equal parts now, before proofing! Form two round balls
- Time to rest. Cover the dough and let it rise for three hours at room temperature. The dough will rise more quickly if you let it rest in the oven with the light on.
- We are almost there. Directly transfer the dough onto a baking sheet. Let the dough relax for ten minutes and then give it a rectangular shape using your palms.
- Let it proof for other 30 minutes, but feel free to skip this step if you are hungry
- Adding the pizza toppings
- Spoon on the tomato sauce
- Bake the two pizzas (or two pizze if you want to show off your Italian) in the oven at 250C for 10 minutes
- Take the pizze out and create your masterpiece: white clouds of mozzarella cheese and rainbows of your favourite toppings.
- Bake for five more minutes, serve and enjoy!
- If you are short on time, use 7 g of dried yeast and let it rise for 1 hour and a half only. But remember, the less yeast you add, the easier is to digest the pizza.
Here is a list of my favourite toppings in case you are looking for inspiration:
– Tomato sauce, mozzarella cheese, dried oregano plus long strips of courgette, pan fried with a bit of oil
– Tomato sauce, mozzarella cheese plus fresh tomatoes, partisan cheese and rocket salad added just before serving
– Tomato sauce, cheese plus grilled aubergines, courgettes and peppers
– Tomato sauce, cheese plus vegan sausages, mushrooms, chilli and onions
– Oil, cavolo nero, and dried tomatoes
– Sliced boiled potatoes with a bit of oil and pesto added just before serving
What about you? What do you top your pizza base with? I am always looking for new ideas 😋