It’s trivia that everybody already knows, but the history of pizza goes something like this: The Greeks, Romans, and Egyptians were eating bread topped with olive oil and native spices long before the Italians (we now call this focaccia). Eventually, Italy went one step further and evolved this dish into the one we are familiar with – with tomato, cheese, herbs, and other toppings.
James has always had a penchant for making pizza from scratch – base and all. He’s made so many by now, but I’m a big fan of his simple pizzas – topped with just a few select ingredients and let’s never ever forget a sprinkling of basil and some pancetta (or prosciutto)! I find simple, thin-crust pizzas with minimal toppings more photogenic than ones stockpiled with everything under the sun. Also, skinny pizza = healthy pizza… right? HAHAHAHA.
This one was an experiment. I say experiment because at the time of making this pizza, we used our new oven for the first time. It turned out pretty darn awesome, so yeah, I suppose that means our oven works. With any pizza, it’s all about that base (no treble). James made a simple dough this time – just yeast, water, flour, honey and salt. No rising went into the making of this base (we wanted a thin-crust pizza, after all), so the whole thing came together rather quickly.
Thin-Crust Pancetta Pizza with Puréed Tomatoes, Mozzarella, Parmesan, Garlic & Basil
1/2 teaspoon dry baker’s yeast
1/2 cup lukewarm water
1 teaspoon honey
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
a pinch of sea salt
can of whole tomatoes (approx. 28 oz. / 800 grams)
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
pancetta (or prosciutto), thinly sliced
fresh basil leaves
parmesan cheese, to sprinkle
- To make the dough, combine yeast, water and honey in a mixing bowl and leave aside for 10 minutes for the yeast to dissolve and the mixture to become foamy. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F).
- Add flour and salt to the foamy mixture, stir with a stiff spatula until a shaggy, floury dough comes together. Knead for 5-8 minutes. If too sticky to handle, add a tablespoon of flour at a time until dough is easier to work with.
- Roll out the dough onto a lightly floured pizza tray or pizza stone and bake in preheated oven until brown.
- Meanwhile, purée the tomatoes. You can leave them a little chunky.
- Spread the puréed tomatoes over the pizza base, sprinkle thinly sliced garlic, arrange mozzarella and pancetta slices on top.
- Place pizza back in the oven and bake until the mozzarella melts.
- Add basil and parmesan, bake for a few more minutes.
- Slice and serve immediately with a sprinkle of black pepper.