One season pizza

It took me a while to get used to pizza without cheese but now I find I prefer it, especially with a tangy tomato sauce, some really good olives and lots of veg. The other day I thought I’d go one step further and make a pizza without tomatoes.

I also decided to keep my environmental footprint to a minimum by using only vegetables from the garden: one of the first pumpkins, the last ears of sweetcorn, some courgettes, two small onions and a few sprigs of sage.

Pizza veg2

As I don’t grow my own wheat, I bought some local flour which had covered 80 kilometres to get to the nearest organic shop before I brought it another 30 kilometres home. The olive oil had travelled a bit further, but it was still produced here in France.

This recipe makes two pizzas, for two to four people, depending on how hungry they are. You could prepare the second while the first is cooking, then keep the first one hot so as to serve them together. But it’s more fun to eat the first pizza and make the second one afterwards. The dough will come to no harm, and those pining for more conventional toppings can add other ingredients to their half, third or quarter.

You could also rub a little oil on the second piece of dough, put it in a plastic bag (leaving room for the dough to rise a bit more) and put it in the fridge for 24 hours.

Pizza 1 saison
250g (8oz) unbleached flour
½ tsp salt
1 tsp instant yeast
1 tsp olive oil

Toppings: vegetables from your garden, market, local organic shop or weekly veg box.

Mix the flour, salt and yeast together in a bowl. Add 150ml (5 fl oz) of warm water and mix to a slightly sticky dough. Cover the bowl with a teacloth and leave to rest for 10 minutes.

Pour the oil onto the work surface. Remove the dough (which will already be more elastic) from the bowl and knead for about a minute to incorporate the oil. Cover with the upturned bowl and leave to rest for 20 minutes.

Knead once more for just a few seconds, then cover again with the bowl and leave for an hour.

Meanwhile, prepare the vegetables.
(I baked the pumpkin and onion pieces with a little oil for about 20 minutes at 200°C, simmered the sweetcorn for five minutes and sliced the courgettes fairly finely).

Preheat the oven to 230°C (Gas 8). Put in a pizza stone to heat up, if you have one.

Divide the dough into two pieces. Leave one under the upturned bowl and roll out the other, using plenty of flour, to a circle 30-35cm (12-14in) across (I use a rolling pin but if you’re feeling adventurous you could try throwing it in the air like an Italian piazziolo).

Remove the pizza stone from the oven or line a baking tray with parchment paper (there’s no law that says pizza has to be round). Carefully transfer the pizza base to the stone or tray. If it stretches too much, simply pull it back into shape or don’t bother – the taste won’t be affected. Arrange the vegetables on top as quickly as possible and bake the pizza until the edges start to turn golden (in my oven this takes about 12 minutes).

Enjoy sprinkled with some flakes of Maldon salt and a drizzle of olive oil.

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