An illicit love affair…

…with pizza. And no, I don’t mean the store bought, defrosted quick-fix one would eat in secret, feeling guilty. 

I mean Pizza! The home-made, versatile, personalized, crispy beauty that sizzle in a burning hot oven and makes you want to sing la Traviata until someone hits you on the head with a rolling pin. (or, is it just me?)

Kale Pizza with Parmigiano Regiano –

The weird thing about Pizza is that it will make the best of friends argue until they begrudgingly “agree to disagree” on the heated subject of toppings.

What is acceptable Vs. NOT has been the start of several agitated arguments with good friends; i.e Is tuna a “Do” or “Don’t” question has made me reconsider some of my friendship very seriously …. (It’s a “do” Ita!). But I have decided to stop being judgmental about what other people will or will not put on their Pizza (i’m looking at you pineapple) and instead just test the limit of just how cheesy can a pizza be …

Another good thing with pizza is that it usually pleases even the pickiest eater and is a really entertaining pre-dinner activity to have with kids all age. If you are not too worried about dough flying across your kitchen then by all mean, try throwing them in the air while pretending you are a Pizzaïolo named Paulo, in Lago di Como.. and if someone asks, just  tell them it’s a trick to avoid using a rolling pin & remove all the air bubbles from the crust!

Throwing the dough in the air like a pro!

In the end, the best part of a Pizza dinner is that, even though everyone will use the same dough, tomato sauce & toppings options, as each design their own dinner,  not one will taste or look like the others! Individualism through food.

Before going to the oven … “The Anarchist” Pizza – with fig!

My favorite options are grilled vegetables, and goat cheese. Once the pizza is out of the oven, I add some ruccola and a drizzle of olive oil! In Finland you can find a special pizza flour that makes a crisp and perfect dough so just go ahead and have fun! If you don’t have it – then go ahead and just use regular flour. No one will ever know!

How to make Pizza at home:

For the dough (makes 4 – 5 Pizzas bases) : 5dl flour (I use the Myllyn paras one), 1/3 dry yeast package (approx 15 g) , 1/2 teaspoon of salt, 2 dl lukewarm Water and 1 table spoon olive oil. Mix the flour, salt, dry yeast and add the olive oil, pour the water gently on the dough while mixing (I use an electric mixer for that-  by hands is a good workout too..) until it comes clean out of the bowl. If the mixture is too wet, add flour. Let rise covered in a warm place

For the tomato sauce: 1 can of crushed tomato, 2 cloves of garlic peeled, oregano, basil. Optional:  a few tables spoon of red wine,  Fresh thyme & rosmary, salt & pepper,  1 red onion cut in half (so you can remove it and the kids won’t complain it has bits of onions in the sauce).  Slow cook the tomato in the pan with a generous amount of olive oil,  crushed garlic, a handful of fresh basil and when gently simmering, add the oregano, salt & pepper. Tip: If the tomato is too sour, you can add a bit of ketchup or a few sprinkle of sugar to even the taste out.

For the Toppings: Go wild (not “pineapple wild” though…) and experiment! A few ideas, artichoke hearts, zucchini, paprikas, goat cheese, blue cheese, warm smoked salmon, Kale (cut it and cook it first in some olive oil & crushed garlic in frying pan to avoid from burning in the oven), Mushrooms & garlic.. smaller pieces will ensure they cook evenly.

If you have a Pizza stone .. And I recommend you do; place it in your oven as it preheats to 250C, and divide your dough in 4 or 5 balls. Quickly work the doug on a wells floured surface until it forms a pizza shape ( don’t worry about it being perfect!), place it on the stone or on a tray covered with  baking paper and add the tomato sauce, then simply select your toppings and add as much grated cheese as you dare! Place your pizza in the middle of the oven for ~15 minutes or until the bottom is cooked & the toppings look ready.

How about you, what is a favorite or absolute Pizza fail?

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