Sally D from Aberdeen writes: “Do you have an easy recipe for homemade vegetarian pizza?”
My reply: Here’s a recipe from my first cookbook Great Vegetarian Dishes (now in its 21st year) for a yeast-based pizza. Happy baking!
Mozzarella and Tomato Pizza
This is a crisp-based pizza holding a filling of herb-flavoured tomatoes, with a topping of sliced black olives, peppers, and golden, melting mozzarella cheese. To save time, prepare the filling whilst the dough is rising.
PREPARATION TIME: 20 minutes
DOUGH RISING TIME: 30 minutes
ROLLING AND TOPPING TIME: 10 minutes
BAKING TIME: 15 – 20 minutes
YIELD: one 25 cm (10-inch) pizza
3 teaspoons fresh yeast
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/2 cup lukewarm water
1 1/2 cups plain all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons olive oil
1/4 teaspoon yellow asafetida powder
1 1/2 cups fresh tomato puree
1 tablespoon tomato concentrate
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
125g (4 1/2 ounces) grated mozzarella cheese
2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese
1 cup thin strips of eggplant, deep-fried until dark golden-brown
1 small red pepper, diced
60g (2 ounces) black olives, pitted and halved
Cream the yeast with the sugar in a bowl, add lukewarm water, and let it stand for 10 minutes or until bubbles appear on the surface. Sift the flour and salt into a bowl, make a well in the centre, and add the oil and yeast mixture. Mix to a firm dough.
Turn the dough onto a floured surface and knead it for 10 minutes or until the dough is smooth and elastic. Place it in a lightly oiled bowl, cover, and leave in a warm place for 30 minutes or until the dough has doubled in size.
Knock the dough down with your fist and knead into a small ball. Flatten out the dough with a rolling pin and roll it into a circular sheet of pastry that will just fit in a 25 cm (10-inch) pizza pan. Place the dough carefully in the pan.
Meanwhile make your filling: heat the olive oil in a large frying pan over moderate heat. When hot, add the asafoetida and saute momentarily. Add the tomato puree, tomato paste, oregano, basil, sugar, salt, and pepper. Bring the sauce to a boil; then reduce the heat and, stirring occasionally, simmer uncovered for 10 – 15 minutes or until the sauce is thick and smooth. Allow the filling to cool somewhat.
Spread the cooled filling over the pizza base, leaving a little border uncovered. Combine half the grated mozzarella cheese with the parmesan and sprinkle it over the tomato filling. Top with the eggplant strips, chopped peppers, and olives. Sprinkle on the remaining cheese and bake in a pre-heated hot oven 220°C/430°F for 15 – 20 minutes or until the crust is golden brown.