We do eat quite a few pizzas at Chez Foti, probably too many. Well about once a week if the truth be known. But in my defense they are always homemade. And I’m not being a ponsey foodie by saying that. Believe me I’ve absolutely nothing against good quality take away pizza, but we do live in distinctly rural SW France and without wanting to be too rude, the quality of the take away pizzas in these parts is considerably below par. Bordering inedible. Which is a shame as the only two fast food joints in a 25 km radius both happen to be pizza take aways!. And once or twice bitten I won’t be going back. Just don’t get me started on the supermarket offerings either. Think 80s Britain, say no more. Hence I’ve become a bit of geek at homemade pizza ….. and homemade Thai/Chinese/Indian to boot!. And we do happen to have an original bread oven in our lounge that bakes the most perfect pizzas.
I love playing around with inventing toppings and this recipe so happens to be one of my favourites of the moment. Think Puttanesca Sauce but on a pizza. Puttanesca, in case you didn’t know, is a tomato based sauce revved up with oodles of garlic, anchovies, capers, chilli and olives. And it’s sublime on a pizza with the addition of Mozzarella and a little Parmesan. Pizza simplicity at it’s best.
I’m also delighted to be entering, for the first ever time, my Pizza Puttanesca to Javelin Warrior’s Made with Love Mondays, a weekly series promoting, sharing and celebrating foods made entirely from scratch. Foods without any of the nasties and all the good stuff!.
Serves 1 to 2 (depending on how much of a pizza monster you happen to be!)
One quantity of Pizza Dough (I usually stick to this Jamie Oliver recipe, using part semolina flour when I can get hold of it)
2 tablespoons of Olive Oil
2 cloves of Garlic
a Red Chili (or go wild with 2 if you like your heat), finely sliced
4 Anchovy Fillets in oil
a 400g can of good quality Chopped Tomatoes or 450g of ripe and flavoursome Fresh Tomatoes (I’m still using up my frozen stock from The Great Chez Foti Tomato Harvest!)
a very large pinch of Black Pepper
a pinch of Sugar
a dessertspoon of Capers, rinsed
40g of stoned Black Olives, halved
80g of Mozzarella cheese, finely sliced
a heaped tablespoon of finely grated Parmesan or Grana Padano
Special Equipment: a pizza stone, pizza baking sheet or an ordinary baking tray/sheet
Pre-heat your oven to the hottest it will go and pop your pizza stone or baking tray in to warm up.
Heat the oil in a large saucepan on a gentle heat. Fry the chili, garlic and anchovies for a few moments until the anchovies are almost disintegrated. Slide in the tomatoes and add a very generous pinch of coarsely ground black pepper and a small pinch of sugar. Give everything a good stir. Allow to simmer gently for 20 minutes.
The sauce is ready when it’s considerably thickened and very flavoursome. Stir in the capers. Have a taste check adding more black pepper to suit. Obviously you could add salt but there’s a fair whack already in there from the anchovies so it’s unlikely you’ll need more.
Now for the pizza. Roll out your pizza dough to your desired size and thickness. I personally prefer mine very thin. Place on your hot pizza stone or baking tray.
Spread the puttanesca sauce evenly over the base. Place the halved olives and slices of mozzarella. Scatter over the parmesan or grana padano.
Place in your extremely hot oven and cook until crisp and golden. This could be anywhere between 5 and 15 minutes! Our woodfired bread/pizza oven usually takes less than 5 minutes and the oven at it’s hottest around 10.