It was one of those nights again in my house when we have very little in the pantry but loads of beer in the fridge. So what can One make with very little that tastes great with beer? Pizza!
In the past I have had difficulties making pizza bases; more often than not they were either soggy or rock solid but never a nice crispy in-between. This recipe is a fail proof (knock on wood) method for making a basic pizza base that will hold all your favourite toppings. It is cheap, easy and quick (if you forget the half hour the dough needs to rise).
Pizza bases freeze well. Whip up a few, wrap them tightly in plastic wrap and freeze for up to 3 months. When you want a home cooked pizza, re-heat the base in the oven, add your toppings and cook the blazes out of it.
Our pizza is following a BBQ style to match the beer. Home made mini meat balls, caramelised onions, mushrooms, olives and cheese with a BBQ tomato sauce (and a touch of smoke from burning things previously in the oven, but this flavour may be hard to replicate without starting a grease fire).
Pizza Base (makes 2 pizzas):
2 cups Plain flour
2 tsp Salt
Dried herbs and spices to taste
1 1/4 cups Warm water (approx 45 degrees Celsius)
2 tsp Dried yeast
2 tsp Malt Extract
1 tbsp Olive Oil
A bit more olive oil
500gr Mince Beef
2 Cloves Garlic, minced
1 tsp Salt
1 tsp Paprika
Tomato sauce for base (this can be from a jar, tomato paste or BBQ Sauce. But it must be a thick, non watery sauce)
1 Onion thinly sliced
6 Button mushrooms, sliced
1/2 cup Black olives, sliced
3/4 cup Mozzarella cheese, grated
Handful of finely chopped parsley
Making Some Dough:
1. Combine the flour, salt and any dried herbs and spices you would like to a large mixing bowl ( I usually add 1 tsp each of dried garlic and chilli).
2. In a cup mix warm water, malt extract* and the dried yeast**. Mix until all ingredients are combined and add into the dry ingredients with the tablespoon of olive oil. Mix until just combined. The dough should be sticky. Cover the bowl with a tea towel or plastic wrap and set aside in a warm area for 30min. The dough should have doubled in size.
3. Pre heat your oven to 220 degrees celsius. If you have a pizza stone, leave it in the oven to heat. If you don’t have a pizza stone, buy one. Remove the pizza stone from the oven when dough is ready to bake. Cover the dough and your hands in olive oil. Punch the dough lightly to force out the air. Pull the dough together into a ball and break into two even pieces.
4. Shape the ball of dough in your hands into a disk and begin to gently pull so it becomes larger. If you have the co-ordination, feel free to throw it into the air like the pizza chefs in cartoons. Place your dough onto the pizza stone and use your hands to push the dough to the edges, making sure it is an even thickness.
5. Place pizza stone back into your oven and bake for 15 min. or until golden brown.
Putting it Together:
1. Mix mince, garlic salt and paprika together. Heat up a large fry pan with a bit of oil. Roll teaspoon sized balls of mince in your hands and fry until cooked through. Remove from pan and set aside.
2. Add sliced onions to the pan and lower heat. Cook for 5min, stirring regularly, until caramelised.
3. Spread your tomato sauce over the base evenly. Scatter on meatballs, onions, mushrooms, olives and cheese making sure everything is even. Pop into the oven and cook until the cheese has melted and begun to brown.
4. Slice the pizza and serve immediately with a good masculine beer.
And that is how you show Domino’s how it’s done!
* Malt extract is a syrup made from barley, not to be confused with powdered malt for drinking (though powdered malt is divine!). The malt extract can be replaced with any other syrup or sugar but I prefer malt extract because it contains B vitamins and isn’t as sweet.
**Using dried yeast can be tricky if you aren’t used to it. Here is a handy guide of temperatures for yeast and bread making that will help: http://www.exploratorium.edu/cooking/bread/yeast_temp.html