Friday, 9 March 2012

La Pizza Rossa

I was recently asked if I would like to contribute to a Rainbow Cookbook project for Appliances Online British Ovens and I was allocated the colour red. 
There are so many foods that could fall into the red category but this one is the first that sprang to mind and is one of my favourite nostalgic comfort foods.

From 15-17 I was lucky enough to work in what was regarded as the best pizza take-away shop in town.  As far as jobs available to teenagers go, this one was a gold standard job - decent pay, fun staff, it was an independent shop meaning it was more flexible and as a lot of the people in the town frequented the shop it was great for keeping up with gossip and gave me an opportunity to chat whilst I worked.
From 5pm til midnight, three nights a week, I was front of house, assisting in the kitchen, answering the phone and so much more - being the hub of the whole operation was challenging enough not to be boring or monotonous and I learnt a lot about the food industry. 

tomatoes garlic

Rush hours, dealing with customers who were on the way home from the pub and garlic peeling night were tricky but I have a lot of good memories of my time there.  Cheesy music (D-I-S-C-O!) in the background, I enjoyed the hustle and bustle atmosphere.

La Pizza Rossa is the name I have given to what was essentially a cheese-less pizza that was popular in my pizzeria. Even though it is simplistic, there is a sophisticated balance to be struck between the crispy dough, the strong garlic, the sweet tomatoes and the fresh aromatic basil.

I'll bet you could make La Pizza Rossa with ingredients from your cupboard so it's a great go-to recipe when stocks are running low.  The best thing is that you can adapt this recipe to your own tastes so if you're a garlic fiend (like me!) you can add as much as you like. 

La Pizza Rossa

la pizza rossa 1

For the dough:
250ml warm water
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar
375g strong white bread flour
1 teaspoon dried yeast

For the topping:
3-5 cloves of garlic, crushed
200ml passata or chopped tomatoes (works out at about half a tin)
2 tablespoons olive oil
Fresh Basil leaves

To make the dough using a bread maker: add the ingredients in the order they are listed and use the dough setting according to the manufacturers instructions.
To make the dough by hand: mix the yeast and sugar into the warm water and leave to stand until frothy, about five minutes.
Mix the flour and salt in a large bowl.
Stir the olive oil into the yeast mixture and add gradually to the flour until all of the liquid has been used. 
Place the dough in an oiled bowl, cover and leave in a warm place to rise.

Both methods: When the dough has doubled in size, preheat the oven to 200 Centigrade.
Turn out the dough onto a floured surface and knock back.  Roll out until around half an inch thick in the shape of your baking tray and transfer.
Use a fork to make prick marks over the surface of the dough.

Add the toppings: in a small bowl, mix the passata/tomatoes, garlic and olive oil until well combined.  Pour into the centre of the pizza dough and spread evenly using the back of a spoon.

Bake La Pizza Rossa for 25 minutes, until the crust has risen and is golden.  Remove from the oven, add the basil leaves and serve.

la pizza rossa 2


  1. That's so simple and looks delicious, definitely going to try this!

  2. Lovely looking pizza and, as you say, it can be made with ingredients you would usually have.

  3. Oh that does look rather scrummy. My belly is really rumbling.

  4. That looks delicious - and I loved the story leading up to it :)

  5. yum! I could use a slice of that!


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