Recipe: Pizza

Recipe: Pizza

By Jenny Osburn | The Union Street Cafe Cookbook |

Jenny Osburn is the author of The Union Street Café Cookbook. Her second cookbook, The Kitchen Party Cookbook, is due out this September.

Nothing says I love you like homemade pizza, at least at our house. The Father’s Day offering here will definitely be baked in the oven, not on the barbecue. The dough is so simple to make and so fun to play with that any children lying around will want to be involved. As for the toppings, that’s up to you. If you have picky kids, one solution is to make a plain cheese or pepperoni pizza and fry up the toppings the adults desire with a little olive oil. Add them after the pizza comes out of the oven and has been cut into slices. Or just make two pizzas!

For the dough:
1 1/4 cups warm Water
1 teaspoon Active Dry or Instant Yeast
1 teaspoon Salt
3 cups Flour (I use Longspell Point Farm’s whole wheat)
3 tablespoons Olive Oil

For the topping:
1 cup Tomato Sauce or 1/2 cup Pesto
1/4 lb (100g) Mushrooms, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon Olive Oil
1/4 lb (100g) Pepperoni, thinly sliced (Canning Meat Market’s is delish)
1 small Onion, thinly sliced
2 cups shredded Mozzarella Cheese
Optional: thinly sliced Tomato, pitted Black Olives, thinly sliced Red Pepper (roasted or not), a few leaves of sliced fresh Spinach, chopped Asparagus – whatever you fancy.

To make the dough, place the water in a large bowl and add the yeast and salt. Stir to combine and add the flour. Mix with a wooden spoon or your hands until a soft, cohesive dough forms (this is where you can let your kids go crazy mixing with their hands, getting covered in dough and having a ball. The dough will take as much rough handling as they please. Just scrape it all back into the bowl when the kids are through and give them a sinkfull of lukewarm water to wash the bits of dough off.) Place a plate or towel over the bowl and let rise for about an hour.

Preheat the oven to 400°F. Pour the olive oil onto the centre of a cookie sheet with sides. Using your hands, scrape the dough ball out in one piece and plop it on top of the oil. Now gently push with your fingers to spread the dough. If it starts springing back, let it rest for a few minutes to let the gluten relax. Don’t worry about the dough being perfectly even or smooth, just make sure to push it gently into the corners.

Once the dough is ready, top it with blobs of tomato sauce or pesto and gently spread to cover the dough. Toss the mushrooms with the olive oil in a small bowl. Add your desired toppings to the pizza (except mushrooms and tomatoes which are best added after the cheese goes on). Sprinkle evenly with the cheese, then top with the mushrooms and tomatoes, if using. Bake your pizza for about 20 minutes, until the dough is golden brown and the cheese is bubbling. Let cool for a minute or two before slicing and serving.