Ingredients challenge: pizza

A challenge given to me by my partner earlier in the day: to use just things in the freezer and in the cupboards etc for tea. So no running to the shops for extra goodies! A while back I made panzanella in a similar “use what we’ve got” way,  but this time I decided to make a pizza.

For me, a pizza has to have a thin crust that tastes great and goes wonderfully crisp around the edges, without the rest of it being soggy. And I really cannot be bothered to get it perfectly shaped; rustic is the way to go.

I made up a standard focaccia dough for the base that rose slowly in the fridge for most of the day while I got on with other things; as with most breads, there is no sense of urgency and the very slow rise does wonders for the flavour. Once risen, I pushed it out as thinly as it would go on my largest baking tray.

Storecupboard & freezer ingredients

Smothered over the dough was a mixture of tomatoes and peppers that I had in the freezer. These were defrosted and roasted gently for about an hour and a half with fresh basil, garlic, an onion, a splash of balsamic vinegar and seasoning. A few capers were added for the last half hour of roasting to give a nice sharpness. They were then roughly crushed together with a fork. The roasting really does bring out more flavour which is precisely what I wanted.

I kept the main topping for this pizza very simple: dried mushrooms (rehydrated and sautéed with garlic), sliced onions, mozzarella and just a little sprinkling of freshly grated Parmesan. I could have thrown on some Parma ham or chunks of chorizo but I felt a little restraint was needed. However, if I had anchovies I would certainly have laid some of those on as I adore anchovies on a pizza (and they have to be the salty ones in the tins!).

I always leave a border of dough so that it rises up a little more than the rest of the pizza and goes wonderfully crisp.

I baked the pizza for just over 10 minutes on the highest setting of the oven and scattered a few more basil leaves over it before serving with rocket (now ready to be picked from the greenhouse).

For very speedy pizzas, the dough can be made up in larger quantities and frozen after the first rise. Or even after shaping without the toppings. Similarly, with the roasted tomato/pepper mixture. The frozen dough and tomato/pepper mixture can be taken out in the morning and left to defrost during the day with the toppings added in moments later in the day and then baked in very little time.

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