As the weather started to get cold on Easter evening, I realised I wanted something for dinner that involved gooey melted cheese. I decided on pizza when I realised how good that smoked chicken would be with some gooey bocconcini, roasted pumpkin and wilted spinach. This time I left the dough to my partner. He has a handy trick. He adds the salt, yeast and water to the mixer and then slowly adds the flour to ensure it comes together slowly as a nice soft dough. It was great fun watching him whistle Italian songs as the dough came together. We ran out of bread flour, so used a little light sifted flour from Tasmania’s recently refurbished Callington Mill in Oatlands. They produce a range of flours that are all stone-ground in a wind powered Georgian period mill using locally grown grains. The result is amazing.
Pumpkin, bocconcini, spinach and lemon-rosemary smoked chicken pizza
Peel some pumpkin flesh from a pumpkin. Salt the pumpkin strips. When they are a little wilted, drizzle a little oil on them and rub it all over with your fingers. Cut a tenderloin (or equivalent portion) of smoked chicken into cubes. Pull apart a bocconcini, following the natural ‘grain’ of the cheese. Spread a fresh pizza base with tomato passata and sprinkle over a pinch of dried oregano. If possible, tie a simple knot in the strips of pumpkin. This will keep them up off the pizza with more exposure to the heat. Arrange pumpkin and bocconcini pieces on the pizza and bake in a very hot oven till golden. Remove from oven and sprinkle over a small handful of torn baby spinach leaves.
Mushroom, olive and anchovy pizza
This is my favourite pizza of all time. It’s also very difficult for a pizza joint to stuff up. Pretty much the only thing that can go wrong is the use of tinned mushrooms, and that’s easy for me to pre-empt. To make it at home, I simply cover a fresh pizza base with passata and a pinch of dried oregano. Arrange some thinly sliced mozzarella over the base. Thinly slice a couple of mushrooms and scatter on top, don’t be afraid to use a lot, because they always shrink down to less than you imagined. Roughly chop half a dozen olives and scatter over the top. Tear about 4 anchovies into thin strips and arrange on the pizza. Bake in a very hot oven till the base is crisp and golden.