Wednesday, 6 November 2013

Pizza with a difference

I don't generally like pizzas. Perhaps I should qualify that, I don't generally like pizzas unless I have made them myself. Bought pizza bases are thick, doughy and rather unpleasant things and I would rather give them a miss personally. I like my pizza bases to be thin and crispy and fresh with a crunch.
Fortunately pizza bases are one of the easiest things to make in the world and my recipe is split into two with one half of the dough wrapped and in the fridge for another night. They are cheap, lovely real frugal good (depending what you put on them) and don't have to be unhealthy because they don't have to be loaded with fatty meat and cheese.
It was with great interest that I watched a River Cottage episode the other day in which Hugh made a simple pizza with no tomato on it. I admit I have never tried this, just usually knocking together a quick tomato sauce, a few veggies and a sprinkling of cheese on mine. This recipe looked like it could go either way, could be incredibly dull, or tantalizingly stupendous. It was - STUPENDOUS.

There are only 4 main ingredients for the topping: onions, spinach, pears and blue cheese.
and 3 minor ones: nutmeg, olive oil, chilli flakes.

Here is the recipe.

Basic pizza base recipe - makes 2 pizza bases, one of which does a large appetite like mine for a main meal

250g strong bread flour
5g salt
5g quick yeast
up to 180ml water.
2 tbs olive oil

Form the above into a dough (you may not need more than about 150ml water to get the desired consistency, but use your noggin) and kneed for 5 - 10 minutes, it really doesn't take long to become stretchy. Leave to prove for an hour and a half approx.
Split in half and roll out one half to make as thin a pizza base as you can manage. If you are not using the other half wrap in film and store in the fridge and use in the next could of days.

Meanwhile while it was proving fry one onion, chopped into rings, until the rings are soft and golden colour and cook some spinach in a tiny amount of water and squeeze out the water after. The original recipe called for some fresh spinach, but I rarely have this in as it is pricey here, I used frozen spinach and about 2 or 3 block is enough.

Peal and chop the pear, pouring on a little olive oil and a shake of freshly grated nutmeg on it, I also added a few chilli flakes.

Get the oven on to it's hottest.

Assemble the pizza: spread the onion and the spinach on the base, arrange the pear over that and then dot with some blue cheese (I used a cheap stilton, but anything would do) here and there - don't need tons of it. another spinkling of olive oil and some ground pepper and you are good to go.

Bake for about 10 to 15 minutes, depending on your oven, until crispy and gorgeous looking.


  1. Like the sound of the base, not sure about the pears.... Will have to try another topping. Thanks for the recipe.

  2. In Italy, I once has pear and gorgonzola ravioli - the combination of flavours is just perfect - absolutely scrummy.

    1. I've also had this combination before and was pleasantly surprised!

  3. Sounds delicious - must give it a go.

  4. Delurkinng to say Hi
    Homemade pizza is the best, I use the recipe from the skint foodie blog and make double the amount so I always have some dough in the freezer. Also I experiment with various different meats and cheeses as you are only buying a very small amount for the pizza :-)


  5. With pizzas, less is always more. I try to estimate how much cheese I need and then use about half that to get it actually right. Have you ever had Flammkuchen? It's the a similar variation on a pizza that's originally a speciality of the Alsace region. Instead of using a tomato base, you use creme fraiche (or sour cream), thinned with a little milk. So, okay, not quite as healthy as a spinach base. :) The traditional topping is just onions and a few lardons. They come with all sorts of funny toppings these days but the traditional ones are still the best.

  6. What a lovely pizza topping! You could also use some minced lamb, chopped onions and chopped mushrooms as a topping. That`s an Arabic pizza version if you pre-fry the ingredients with some ground pepper and cumin first, then use as topping. Goats cheese crumbled over the lot is also an option. These type of pizzas are often sold in street stalls, pre-cooked and then eaten hot or cold. Very different to the pizzas we are used to in the west, but also very delicious. You only need about 20g of minced lamb (or very lean minced beef) and 2-3 little chestnut mushrooms per pizza. Try it sometime and let me know if you like this.