One of my son’s favourite foods is pizza. It’s right up there with croissants, chicken rice, satay and tempura. If it was up to him, he’d eat one of these five things every day of the week. Recently, when he expressed a craving for pizza, I decided that instead of heading out (and especially since our family’s favourite neighborhood pizzeria has closed down), it would be more rewarding to make the dish at home. Knowing also how much foodie-in-training #1 loves getting involved in food prep, preparing the pizzas at home would also be much more fun for the little guy.
We are lucky enough to own a Thermomix. I absolutely love this high-end Swiss Army Knife of kitchen appliances. It has multiple uses and I’m constantly discovering new cooking shortcuts that the Thermomix allows me to take without any loss in quality. I also love that there are many Thermomix communities online so finding recipes that are made entirely or partially in this miracle machine is usually pretty easy. Simply Google, read through a few, and see which you like best — since most recipes are in community sites, there is also a fair amount of feedback so you can get a quick sense of whether the recipes actually work or not.
After a very quick search, I found a pizza dough recipe that I really liked. (You can refer to the original post here.) The best thing about it is that once you’ve assembled your ingredients, it takes just minutes. To be more precise, 10 seconds at a high speed blend, and then 2 minutes on the “interval” mode. That’s it. You then place the dough in an oiled bowl, cover with clingwrap and stick it in the fridge overnight. When you want to use it, take it out and let it warm up at room temperature for an hour. The recipe suggests that it makes dough for 3 pies, but I ended up dividing it into 4 portions, which for my oven size and my family’s appetites worked out better.
For the base sauce, I also turned to the Thermomix. Again, after reading through a few sauce recipes, I found one I liked (here). I liked it in particular because it called for the addition of a bit of red wine vinegar, which I felt would add a nice bit of acid and flavour. Unlike the dough recipe though, I didn’t follow the recipe exactly. In fact, I tweaked it a bit. I threw in some portobello mushrooms, some additional herbs and a touch of cream at the end.
Once you have your dough and your sauce, well, you’re pretty much ready to rock and roll. You just need to decide what cheeses and what toppings you want to use. Mozzarella is a must. But after that, the skies the limit. I tend to use one mild, firm cowsmilk cheese, parmesan and gorgonzola. (For the kiddies, who currently like plain cheese pizzas, I leave out the gorgonzola.) Prepping the cheese does take a bit of work. You want to shred or cut the cheese up into tiny bits which are easy to toss evenly on the pie. The only exception is the mozzarella. I like to use fresh mozzarella (instead of that dried, shredded packaged stuff); I tend to slice this into thin rounds.
On the pizza pictured above, in addition to the cheeses, I’ve added thinly sliced portobello mushrooms and Kurobuta pork sausages (both of which I picked up at my favourite local butcher). And a scattering of fresh basil at the end.
We are also lucky enough to own a Miele pizza stone. This goes into our oven, set at its highest possible temperature, for at least an hour prior to cooking. While there is no way our domestic ovens can come close to the heat generated by a real wood-fired pizza oven, a pizza stone, that absorbs and radiates heat, helps tremendously. The Miele one is expensive. You should be able to find more affordable ones at your local kitchen supply store.
Rolling out pizza dough is something you get better at with practice. I’m no expert but I’ve done it enough times so that my pies are reasonably thin. You then spread some of the sauce. I try not to spread too much so that the pies won’t be too soggy. The same goes for the ingredients. Be generous but don’t overload your pie. I like to roll out my pie on baking paper, which makes it a cinch to then (using a pizza peel) transfer it onto the pizza stone. In my oven, it takes about 8 minutes to bake perfectly. But each oven is different. You’ll need to test this out for yourself.
Because the pizza dough and sauce recipes are online, I will just post links below. Um… you will need a Thermomix for these. But hey, any excuse to get one of these babies is a good excuse. Honestly, it will change the way you cook. Good luck and happy eating.