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Image / Editorial

Cancel the pizza delivery and make this courgette one instead


by Meg Walker
23rd May 2019
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This pizza tastes so bright and fresh, you won’t be able to stop eating it. When they’re in season, swap out the courgette for half a dozen fresh courgette blossoms for a beautiful and delicious twist.

Courgette Pizza

Makes 1 (30.5cm) pizza

Ingredients
2 tbsp ricotta
2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
2 oil-packed anchovies, pounded into paste
1 (225g) ball Pizza Dough (see recipe below), at room temperature
flour, for rolling
½ medium courgette, shaved into wide ribbons with a mandoline or vegetable peeler
½ roasted or fresh lemon, finely chopped
25g finely grated Grana Padano cheese
¼ tsp crushed red pepper
6 basil leaves, torn
1 tbsp chopped fresh mint

Method
At least 30 minutes before baking, place a pizza stone or baking sheet on a baking rack in the top third of the oven, and preheat the oven to 260°C/gas mark 10.

After you have made your dough according to the instructions below, allow the dough to come to room temperature for about 1 hour before making your pizza. Dip the dough into a little flour, shaking off the excess, and set on a clean, lightly floured worktop. Start stretching the dough with your hands, turning the ball as you press down the centre. Then, using either your hands or a rolling pin (if you’re finding stretching the dough by hand to be tricky), work the dough until you form a 30.5cm circle. If any holes form in the dough, patch them up so the topping does not seep through.

Dust a wooden pizza peel with flour (if you don’t have a peel, use an upside-down baking sheet generously dusted with flour) and slide it in under the dough.

In a small bowl, stir together the ricotta, oil, and anchovies until combined. Spread the ricotta mixture across the pizza, then add 4 or 5 ribbons of courgette, twisting them once or twice like ribbons. Follow with the lemon, sprinkle the Grana Padano on top, and scatter the crushed red pepper, basil, and mint over the cheese.

Slide the prepared pizza onto the hot pizza stone or baking sheet and bake until the crust is properly browned, about 10 minutes. Check the bottom of the pizza to make sure it has been cooked well– it should be rich brown and burnished. Transfer the pizza to a cutting board, cut into slices, and serve immediately.

 

Pizza Dough

Makes enough for 4 x 30.5cm pizzas

Ingredients
120ml beer, such as lager or pilsner, at room temperature (see Notes)
2 tbsp mild honey
1 (7g) packet active dry yeast
455g bread flour, plus more for stretching the dough
40g whole-wheat flour
1 tbsp sea salt
2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for oiling the bowl

Method
In a small bowl, combine the beer and honey with 240ml room temperature water. Sprinkle the yeast over the liquid and stir gently to dissolve. Let the mixture stand until it starts to foam, 5-10 minutes.

In a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, combine the bread and whole-wheat flours and the salt. With the mixer running on low speed, add the oil, then the yeast mixture, increase the mixer speed to medium, and mix until the dough comes cleanly away from the sides of the bowl, 3-5 minutes.

Turn the dough out onto a clean work surface and knead by hand for 1-2 minutes. The dough should be pretty sticky; it should stick to your hands and the counter and leave behind a sticky trail. (If you think the dough is a bit too wet, it is probably just perfect. See notes.) Gather the dough into a ball and place it in a lightly oiled bowl; turn it over to coat it with the oil. Cover the dough with a clean, damp towel and let it rise in a warm spot until doubled in size, about 30 minutes.

Gently punch down the dough, cover it with cling film, and let it rise again in the refrigerator overnight or for up to 48 hours. Turn the dough out of the bowl onto a clean, lightly floured worktop and knead gently for a few minutes. You will know when you have kneaded the dough enough when it passes the “windowpane test” – take a small piece of dough off the mass, and gently stretch it out until it is paper-thin and translucent. If your dough tears before you can do this, your dough needs to be kneaded more. Divide the dough into four equal balls, about 225g each – the size of large tangerines. Roll each ball under the palm of your hand until the top of the dough is smooth and firm. Pinch the bottom of the ball to seal the seam. If not using the dough immediately, wrap the dough balls individually in cling film and freeze for up to two weeks. To thaw, transfer to the refrigerator one day before use or leave on the worktop at room temperature for a couple of hours. If using right away, lightly dust the dough with flour and cover it with cling film to prevent the dough from drying out. Let the dough come to room temperature for about 1 hour before making your pizza.

Before baking the pizza, be sure to preheat the oven to 260°C/gas mark 10 and warm the pizza stone in it for at least 30 minutes.

 

Extracted from Genuine Pizza: Better Pizza at Home by Michael Schwartz (Abrams, approx €26). Photographs by Sidney Bensimon.