Pizzetta by Polpo
It’s official, I’ve gone Polpo-loco. Following Saturday’s octopussy success, on Sunday I went Pizzetta crazy, producing some 12 mini pizzas as inspired by the London eatery Polpo‘s glorious cookbook which was undoubtedly my favourite Christmas gift this year.
I was a little put off by the prospect of making my own dough, what with a day of painting ahead and a pile of Sunday-night ironing to get through and very little time for kitchen disasters. However, the toppings were almost too tempting to bare, and there was no way I was going to contaminate the fine flavours with a shop-bought pizza base. So, following the Polpo recipe, I set about making my pizzetta dough which, as it turned out, was as easy as it was enjoyable – all that kneading was both a stress reliever and January workout for the arms, which is good, because two weeks in and my new year’s resolution to workout daily is failing abominably.
To make the dough, you just take 500g of strong white flour, and mix this in a bowl with 300ml of tepid water, 15g of salt (2 teaspoons) and a 7g sachet of fast action dried yeast (or 15g if you can get your hands on fresh). Once mixed into a ball, you knead the dough for about 10 minutes on a floured surface, stretching the dough and then bringing it back into a ball, doing this again and again until the dough feels springier. I kneaded mine while watching Francesco Di Mosto’s BBC Venice series – a perfect accompaniment to my Venetian culinary adventure.
Once kneaded, place your dough in a bowl covered with oiled clingfilm and leave somewhere warm until the dough doubles in size (at least 30 minutes). Then, divide the dough into 12 pieces and roll out each into an approx. 20 cm disk and then get creative with your toppings. I tried the following…
The combinations above are pretty self-explanatory, and who needs a recipe when you have the blank canvas of pizza dough before you. But a few tips: I started off with a basic cheese base of half grated parmesan and a scattering of good quality mozzarella. Don’t overload your pizzetta with cheese or they will be soggy.
If potato and rosemary is your thing, thinly slice a potato and blanch the potato in boiling water for about 30 seconds before placing on the pizza. Do the same with the asparagus if using it with prosciutto as above. The spinach combination is a large handfull of wilted spinach chopped with half a clove of finely chopped garlic and a tablespoon of creme fraiche – cover your pizzetta base with the spinach mix and crack an egg over the top before placing straight in the oven – be sure not to overcook – that egg needs to be nice and runny. Oh, and don’t forget to season your pizzas as you would any other food, and a good douse of olive oil certainly adds the magic touch just before serving.
Re cooking, restaurant ovens are around 300C. My oven only goes up to 275C which was good enough – but make sure you heat your baking trays before hand so the base of the pizzetta’s go nice and crispy. Each pizza should only take around 6 minutes.
These pizzetta’s are so easy to make and somehow less daunting than full sized pizzas. Plus, you get to sample a more varied palate of delicious Italian ingredients in a single meal. Buon appetito!
- Polpo by Polpo (daily-norm.com)