½ tsp dried yeast
250 ml (1 cup) lukewarm water
450 g (3 cups) “00” flour or baker’s flour, plus extra, for dusting
3 tsp salt flakes
semola, for dusting
extra virgin olive oil, for drizzling
tinned chopped tomatoes
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
This recipe needs to be begun 2 days in advance.
Resting time: 2 days
1. Mix the yeast and warm water in a bowl and stand for a few minutes or until foamy.
2. Place the flour in a large bowl, pour in the yeast mixture and mix until a dough comes together. Add the salt and knead lightly to incorporate. Knead vigorously on a lightly floured surface for 10 minutes or until smooth, shiny and elastic. (If you have a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, by all means use it instead of your muscle power!). Dust with a little semola, then cover with a damp tea towel and rest for 30 minutes.
3. Using floured hands, stretch the dough into a rectangle, then fold the top and bottom thirds into the centre like folding a letter and then onto itself into a ball. Place in an oiled container fitted with a lid – make sure the container is large enough to allow plenty of room for rising. Cover and rest at room temperature for 6-8 hours. Give the dough a quick knead and shape back into a ball, then place the container in the refrigerator and stand overnight (or for up to 4 days), to slow-prove and develop flavour and texture.
4. A couple of hours before you want to use the dough, remove from the refrigerator and take off the lid. Cover loosely with a tea towel and leave at room temperature for 2 hours.
5. Preheat the grill function in your oven to as hot as it will go. Place a large cast-iron frying pan on the stove over high heat and allow to become super-hot.
6. Meanwhile, cut the dough into 2 (depending on how big you like your pizzas). Sprinkle one portion with semola and use your hands to stretch the dough into a disc, about 7-mm thick. In one fast movement, place the disc into the pan, spread a little tomato over the top, drizzle with oil and scatter with a few anchovies and capers. Cook for 2-3 minutes or until the bottom is golden and slightly scorched and the top is puffed but still pale. Add a few bocconcini, then place the pan into the oven, straight under the grill and cook for 3-5 minutes or until the cheese has melted and the top is golden and burnished. Using oven mitts, remove the pan from the oven, slide the pizza onto a board, top with basil and a little extra virgin olive oil and enjoy hot! Repeat with the remaining dough and toppings.
Silvia Colloca shares her Italian family secrets in the brand-new series, Cook like an Italian.