For the dough
- 350g strong white flour, plus extra for dusting
- 25g polenta or coarse semolina, plus 1 tsp
An Italian storecupboard staple, polenta has its roots in the peasant cuisine of northern Italy…
- 7g sachet fast-action dried yeast
- 1 tbsp olive oil
Probably the most widely-used oil in cooking, olive oil is pressed from fresh olives. It's…
- about 275ml/10fl oz hand-hot water
For the topping
- 400g can plum tomatoes
- 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 1 tbsp tomato purée
- 2 handfuls basil leaves
- 50g mozzarella
- 200g ricotta
Ricotta is an Italian cheese made from whey and traditionally a by-product of…
- 200g cherry tomatoes, halved
- 25g rocket
Rocket is a very 'English' leaf, and has been used in salads since Elizabethan times. It…
- 2 tbsp grated parmesan (or vegetarian alternative)
Parmesan is a straw-coloured hard cheese with a natural yellow rind and rich, fruity flavour. It…
Combine the flour, 25g polenta or semolina, 1 tsp salt and the yeast in a large mixing bowl. Pour in 2 tsp of the oil and nearly all the water. Mix together with your hands, adding as much of the rest of the water as needed, to pick up any dry bits in the bottom of the bowl. The dough should feel very sticky. Once it is mixed, cover and leave for 15 mins.
Transfer the dough to a very lightly floured surface and knead just 12 times. Shape into a ball, return to the bowl, cover and leave for 10 mins. Repeat the kneading, leave for 10 mins more, then knead one more time and leave for 15 mins.
While the dough rests, prepare the topping. Drain the can of tomatoes into a sieve set over a bowl (you can save the juice for another recipe, if you like). Put the tomatoes in another bowl and snip them into small pieces using scissors. Stir in the garlic and tomato purée with some pepper and a pinch of salt. Set aside. Line a baking sheet with baking parchment and sprinkle with 1⁄2 tsp of polenta or semolina. Heat oven to 240C/220C fan/gas 9.
Divide the dough in half. Keep one half in the bowl and knead the other just a few times on a lightly floured surface. Roll out to a 26-28cm circle, pulling it into shape as well as rolling if that is easier. If the dough sticks to the surface, rub just a little oil on the work surface to help it grip. Lift onto the baking sheet, draped over a rolling pin if that helps, and re-shape if necessary.
Spread half the tomato sauce over the dough, almost to the edge. Scatter over 1 handful of basil, torn into pieces. Tear and scatter over half the mozzarella, then dot over half the ricotta in small spoonfuls. Scatter over half the cherry tomatoes and season with pepper. Repeat with the second piece of dough and the remaining toppings.
Bake the pizzas for 15 mins until the dough is golden and crisp, and the topping is bubbling. Serve each pizza scattered with half the rocket and Parmesan, with a drizzle of the remaining oil over each.