31st December 2000
It's the holiday season and if you're in the mood for some scrumptious fare, try these pizza recipes, ideal for a party or family meal. Our recipes come from the Galadari Hotel's chef Opatha and chef Asoka of the Colombo Hilton.
Roast vegetables & goat cheese pizza
01 small zucchini or 1/4 of a cucumber; (halved lengthways)
Mix all the vegetables with olive oil, garlic, vinegar, thyme, salt & pepper.
Roast the vegetables in pre-heated oven at 200 deg C or 400 deg F. Toss the vegetables half way through for 15- 20 seconds until the skins start to char. Roast further for a 5 more minutes.
Roll out the pizza dough into a 25 cm or 10" round on a lightly floured work surface or counter. Place on a large greased baking tray or pizza pan and push up the edge a little. Cover and leave for 10 minutes in a warm place to rise slightly. Spread the tomato sauce almost to the edge.
Arrange the roasted vegetables on top and dot with cheese. Drizzle the oil and juices from the roasting pan over the pizza and season.
Bake in a pre-heated oven at 200 deg C or 400 deg F for 18-20 minutes or until the edge is crisp and golden. Transfer to a serving plate, garnish with basil leaves and serve.
Pizza Blue Mountain
80 grms Tomato Sauce;
Roll out or press the dough into a 25 cm or 10" round on a lightly floured work surface (counter). Place on a large greased baking tray or pizza pan. Push the edge a little, cover and leave for ten minutes in a warm place to rise slightly. Spread the tomato sauce almost to the edge. Arrange the tandoori chicken on top and dot with cheese and sliced olives. Drizzle the olive oil over the pizza and season.
Bake in a pre-heated oven at 200 deg C or 400 deg F for 10-15 minutes until the edge is crisp and golden. Transfer to a serving plate and garnish with coriander leaves before serving.
Four Seasons Pizza
200 grms Pizza dough;
1. Flatten out the dough on to a Pizza pan and spread with concasse;
2. Next spread the mushrooms, spinach, shrimps, and sausages on top;
3. Sprinkle with grated cheese and mozzarella and cook in the oven till done.
Spicy chicken pizza
200 grms Pizza dough
1. Flatten out the dough on to a Pizza pan and spread with tomato concasse;
2. Next put the devilled chicken cubes on top and lay the tomato, onion and capsicum;
3. Spread with chedder cheese and sprinkle with mozzarella cheese on top;
4. Cook in the oven till done.
Pizza dough base
4 grams fresh yeast;
Combine the fresh yeast with the water and sugar in a bowl.
Leave the mixture to rest in a warm place for 10-15 minutes until frothy on the surface. Stir in the olive oil.
Sift the flour and salt into a large bowl. Make a well in the centre and pour in the yeast liquid. If using instant yeast add it to the bowl and pour in the water and oil. Omit the sugar if using instant yeast.
Using lightly floured hands or a wooden spoon, mix together to form a dough. Turn out onto a floured work surface and knead vigorously for about 5 minutes until smooth and elastic.
Place the dough in a large greased plastic bag and set aside in a warm place for about one hour or ulltil double in size.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface counter and knock back (punch down) by punching the dough. This releases any air bubbles, which would make the pizza uneven. Knead 4 or 5 times. The dough is then ready for use.
I small onion (chopped);
Saute the onions and garlic gently in the oil for five minutes until soft but not browned.
Add the tomatoes, tomato puree (paste) sugar, oregano, bay leaf and seasoning still well.
Bring to the boil, cover and simmer gently for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally until the sauce has become quite thick.
Remove the bay leaf and adjust the seasoning to taste. Let cool, completely before using. This sauce can keep well in a screw top jar in the refrigerator for up to one week.
Once a peasant food for northern Italians, pizza is now popular with rich and poor around the world.
The Italian peasants and fishermen who originally quietened their rumbling tummies with pizza centuries ago would scarcely recognise today's pizza. They would certainly be amused to see a dish they regarded as rough and ready served up in expensive restaurants and trendy cafes around the world.
Still, culinary history has a funny habit of co-opting peasant food and elevating it to haute cuisine. In 19th century England, for instance, oysters cost just a few coins and were part of the staple diet of the poorer classes. As for the pizza, it actually began life as a slab of polenta (boiled and solidified maize flour) covered with tomato sauce and gulped down as a reliable hunger-killer by peasants in northern Italy. Any leftovers were then sprinkled with cheese, cut into squares and toasted on the fire.
Then the Neapolitans stepped in and transformed the stodgy dish into something more delicate by replacing the polenta with a layer of bread dough, rolled out and smeared with a variety of dressings featuring mozzarella, olives, tomatoes, anchovies, onions and herbs. They also served it as an appetizer rather than a main meal.
It is the seemingly infinite combinations of dough, cheese and seasonings that make individual pizzas the wonderfully rich treats they are. Pizza, wrote Leon Gessi, is a "blossoming flower, noble and full of fragrant odours; Mozzarella bubbles in the heat of the fire, revealing spots of oil and touches of tomato. Rust-coloured streaks soften the bright red of these touches, but it is the anchovy puree which strengthens the taste on the palate... which is difficult to define because it subtly covers a range extending from a sweet kiss to a sharp bite."
Indeed, the word "pizza" derives from a verb meaning to sting or to season. Something similar is evoked in "a la pizzaiola", a piquant mixture of tomato sauce, slivers of pepper, herbs and garlic served with pasta, meat or grills.
As Italians migrated around the world, they took the pizza with them, but it was in the years following World War II that it really became popular as returning American and European soldiers sought out places that served them at home. Soon no major city in the world was without its fair share of pizzerias and Dino Crocetti – better known as Dean Martin – was singing the praises of both pizza and the amorous arts.
Today there are as many different pizzas as there are places to eat them. Variations such as deep-dish pizza with its thick breadlike crust, have become popular over the years, and many menus now feature pizzas without the classic topping of tomato sauce and mozzarella cheese. Instead, diners can choose specimens topped with ingredients such as sun-dried tomatoes, aubergines, rocket, duck sausage, fresh basil, smoked salmon, goat cheese or wild mushrooms.
In France, pizza is usually prepared as a tartlet of shortcrust or puff pastry rather than bread dough, and garnished with a puree of tomatoes, olives and anchovies.
Laden with cheese and designed to fuel the lifestyle of hardworking peasants, pizza is not for those who are sedentary or need to follow a low-fat diet. However, for a quick, relatively low-fat version, substitute pita bread or naan for the traditional dough and spread it with some tomato paste, low-fat cheese, olives, tomatoes and parsley and grill until the cheese is bubbly. Alternatively, forget the cheese and stick to the classic tomato and anchovy topping, served with lashings of green salad. It doesn't get much better than that.
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