You don’t like tomato sauce on your pizza? Don’t worry, we have have something for you: a pizza bianca, courtesy of Gary Mehigan and Masterchef Australia This elegant combination of flavours and textures is so good, you will have you wish you had made two pizzas. The Classic Pizza Margherita is good, but this one is something else…
Pizza Bianca with Potato and Anchovies
- semolina and plain flour, for dusting
- 1 x 120g dough portion (I used already made pizza dough)
- 1 garlic clove, peeled and bruised
- 3 sprigs rosemary
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for brushing
- ½ cup Parmesan cheese, coarsely grated (I replaced it with granna padano)
- ½ cup aged provolone, coarsely grated (I replaced it with Gruyere)
- 1 waxy potato, such as Desiree, very thinly sliced
- ¼ cup wild rocket leaves, washed, drained (I replaced it with baby spinach)
- 60g buffalo mozzarella, torn
- 6 anchovy fillets (optional) (only had anchovy filled with cappers, so used it instead).
Place an unglazed terracotta tile into an oven and heat to 250°C. Sprinkle a clean work surface with semolina and flour and use your fingers or rolling pin to stretch out the dough until about 25cm in diameter or to desired thickness. Dust a wooden paddle or sheet of baking paper with semolina and flour and place dough on top.
Step 2: In a small bowl add garlic, 1 sprig of rosemary, 2 tablespoons of oil and a pinch of salt. Brush the dough with the oil.
Step 3: Combine cheeses and scatter over dough, leaving a 1cm border around the edge. Strip leaves from remaining rosemary and sprinkle over dough.
Step 4: Lay the potato slices evenly over the dough. Brush with oil and sprinkle with sea salt flakes.
Step 5: Slide pizza onto hot terracotta tile and bake for 5-6 minutes or until golden and crisp. Remove pizza from oven. Brush the crust with olive oil.
Step 6: Mix rocket with remaining olive oil and a pinch of salt in a bowl. Scatter mozzarella, anchovies, and rocket over pizza. Season with freshly ground black pepper and serve.
Pizza – enough said. For a quick meal and trying to keep the 11-year-old happy, I gave a go to the pizza Margherita recipe George Calombaris demonstrated during a Masterchef Australia’s Masterclass. A classic combination, which was as named after the Italian queen who first tried (and loved) the tomato, mozzarella and basil in a pizza bread.
To cook this pizza, I took a short cut that is generally a no-no for a high-class number, and used already-made dough. But, if you feel you have bake your own pizza dough, here is an recipe, also from Masterchef Australia. Also, instead of sticking to pizza sauce, I just took a jar of tomatada [Portuguese style tomato sauce] I had sitting in the fridge and put it to good use.
George and Gary (Mehigan) have another trick to bake a crispy dough for the perfect pizza. To distribute the heat evenly across the pizza base and to extract the moisture, place an unglazed terracotta tile into an oven and heat to 250°C. (I didn’t – if only I knew where to find terracota tiles in Zurich which doesn’t cost the equivalent of a 100g of white truffle).
Classic Pizza Margherita
- 3 tablespoons of olive oil
- 2 medium yellow onions cut in half lengthwise and sliced into thin half moons
- 2 springs fresh flat leaf parsley
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 garlic gloves minced
- 1 kg very ripped tomatoes, seeded and chopped* (or a couple of canned tomato, preferably san marzano, chopped, juices reserved).
- 2 to 3 tablespoons of double concentrated tomato paste, to taste
- 1 small fresh medium red hot chilli pepper, such as Serrano, stemmed, seeded and chopped (it is optional. Sometimes, I just add a few drops of piri piri sauce).
- Freshly grounded salt and black pepper to taste.
- 1 x 120g pizza dough portion (I use already-made pizza dough)
- Plain flour, for dusting
3 tbs pizza sauceTomato sauce to cover the base
- 1 tbs baby capers, rinsed and drained
- 6-8 large basil leaves
- 9 halved oven-roasted cherry tomatoes
- 2 tbs extra virgin olive oil
- 50g buffalo mozzarella, torn
Heat the oil in a large frying pan over medium heat until it shimmer. Add the onions, parsley and bay leaf and cook until nicely golden, about 15min. Add the garlic and cook for 1 min more.
Turn the heat to medium low, stir in the tomatoes and their juices, the tomato paste and chilli pepper, if using. Bring to a simmer, cook, lid ajar, stirring occasionally, until the tomatoes break down, about 30min
Toss out the parsley and bay lead and season with salt and pepper. If you wish, you can scrape the sauce into a food processor and buzz until smooth. Store the sauce in the fridge in a glass jar with a tight-fitting lid for up to 1 week. It can also be frozen for up to 2 months.
On a floured wooden paddle or piece of baking paper, stretch out the dough into a long oval shape about 30cm long and 10-15cm wide, or to desired shape and thickness.
Spread the tomato sauce over the dough, sprinkle with baby capers and scatter over basil leaves. Place cherry tomatoes on top and drizzle with olive oil.
Slide the pizza into the stove and bake for about 5 minutes or until golden and crisp.
Brush the crust with olive oil and scatter mozzarella over pizza.