Restaurants

How To Make The Perfect Pizza

By Iro Kotsimbos - 18 Jul 2014


Pizza, glorious pizza. Thick, thin, cheesy, meaty, savoury, sweet, full of toppings, or even just nice and simple – whatever takes your fancy, we sure as heck love downing the occasional pizza (or two!) 

While dining at one of Melbourne's best Italian restaurants is all sorts of delicious, there's nothing like making your own pizza – it's so much fun!

However, being the TUL perfectionists we are, we not only wanted to find the easiest pizza recipe out there, but one with a finished product that almost fooled us into thinking we were in Italy. Where did we find said recipe? Enter South Yarra's Italian Chef.

Located smack bang in the middle of Chapel Street, Italian Chef is home to some of the best Italian food in Melbourne – fresh, flavoursome, and truly authentic. Simone Garusi is the man behind it all, and we've gotta say, we don't think we've ever met someone who lives, loves, and breathes Italian cuisine the way Simone does!

While Italian Chef dishes up all sorts of traditional Italian food (think pastas, meats, share plates and dessert), it's the pizzas that get us really excited.

We got Simone to spill the beans – that's right Urban Listers, we've got you not one, but TWO super easy pizza recipes! Read more for the Italian Chef's tips on how to make the perfect pizza…

(Editor's note: Once you've had your Italian MasterChef moment, we recommend stopping by Italian Chef for a bite to eat. If you're counting your pennies, make sure you visit on a Wednesday - $20 buys you any pizza from the menu, plus a beer or glass of wine!)

INGREDIENTS

Italian Chef has a brilliant delicatessen on site, stocking all sorts of prime ingredients, plus desserts and antipasto items. This means that everything you'll need to make the pizzas (apart from the red onion) can be found in the one spot! Many of the ingredients are imported from the motherland, so you can rest assured you'll be getting that authentic Italian taste. (Editor's note: we HIGHLY recommend picking up some tiramisu for dessert!)

Here's what you'll need…

THE BEST (NOT TO MENTION EASIEST!) PIZZA DOUGH EVER

• 500g plain flour

• 3g fresh yeast

• 1 tsp caster sugar

• 18g salt

• 1 ¼ cup warm water

• 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil (plus a little extra for greasing the pizza tray and dough)

NAPOLI SAUCE TOPPING

• 1 tin of San Marzano (plum) tomatoes 

• 2 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil 

• Pinch of salt

• 1 tsp of sugar 

• Fresh basil (roughly 3 or so leaves)

• 1 tsp dried oregano

SAN DANIELE PIZZA TOPPINGS

• San Marzano (plum) tomatoes 

• 80g Fior di Latte Mozzarella

• 80g Prosciutto di San Daniele

• 60g Buffalo Mozzarella

TONNO PIZZA TOPPINGS

• San Marzano (plum) tomatoes 

• 80g Fior di Latte Mozzarella

• 1 small can of tuna in oil, drained

• A third of a red onion, chopped

• 10 small capers

METHOD

FIRST THE NAPOLI SAUCE TOPPING 

1. Place the tinned tomatoes in a bowl. Tip from Simone – smash up the tomatoes using your hands…way more fun this way!

2. Add the extra virgin olive oil, ensuring you mix it well. 

3. Next, add a pinch of sugar and the salt. Give it a little taste and add more if you like.

4. Add some fresh basil and the dried oregano before setting aside.

NEXT THE PIZZA DOUGH AND THE SAN DANIELE PIZZA 

1. Combine yeast, water and sugar in a large bowl.

2. Stir in the flour, oil and salt. Tip from Simone – use your hands to bring the dough together.

3. Set dough onto a floured surface and knead for about 10 minutes until smooth and elastic. Put in a large bowl and cover with a damp tea towel. 

4. Leave the dough in room temperature, and let it rise for 30 minutes.

5. After 30 minutes, cut the dough in four parts and make four equal sized balls using your hands. Lightly cover each ball with a little oil.

6. Put some oil in your hands and roll each ball in your palms, lightly covering them with oil as a result. Next, place all four balls on one large plate, ensuring that they are spread out. Cover them again with a damp tea towel and let them rise in the fridge (a 5 degree setting is perfect!) for 24 to 48 hours. Tip from Simone – the reason we let our dough rise for 24 to 48 hours is because it gives the yeast time to do its work! As a result, the pizza dough will be very gentle on the stomach and much easier to digest.

7. Once the dough has been properly chilled, remove the four pieces from the fridge – after 24 to 48 hours, they should have all doubled in size. Now, the fun begins!

8. Preheat your oven to 220 degrees Celsius. Next, take a ball and flatten it out with your fingers in a round oiled pizza tray. Tip from Simone – please note the use of 'fingers' not hands! Start from the middle of the pizza tray and work your fingers around to spread the dough out in order to fill the space. 

9. Once the dough is flattened, it's time to arrange your sauce and toppings. Using a spoon, spread the tomato sauce out all over the dough. 

10. Put the pizza in the preheated oven for 5 minutes before removing.

11. Sprinkle your mozzarella cubes evenly over the dough and put back into the oven for a further 5 minutes.

12. Remove pizza from oven. Finally, add your prosciutto, buffalo mozzarella, and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil. Too easy! Now, go ahead and dig in…

MAKE SURE YOU TRY THE TONNO PIZZA TOO! 

1. Repeat steps 1 – 10 from above.

2. Sprinkle your red onion, capers, tuna and mozzarella cubes evenly over the dough and put back into the oven for a further 5 minutes..

3. Remove pizza from oven and devour!

EXPERT TIPS FROM SIMONE GARUSI, THE ITALIAN CHEF

Simone is a wealth of knowledge when it comes to Italian cooking. His passion and expertise is really like no other so when Simone talks, we listen! Here are his tips for making that perfect pizza…

• It's all in the dough – don't underestimate its importance! Use scales to get exact measurements.

• Ideally, you should be resting your dough for 24 to 48 hours if you want to use the same method as the Italian Chef team. If time's not up your sleeve, you'll need more yeast to compensate for the decreased time.

• Use the freshest ingredients you can get your hands on and keep the toppings minimal and balanced in flavour. Limit it to two or three. 

• Turn up the heat! If you have a pizza oven, set it to 330 degrees celsius or preheat your conventional oven to 220 degrees. This makes for better tasting dough and the perfect amount of crispiness. Please note, if you are using a pizza oven then the total time of cooking is 4 minutes (rather than 5 minutes), so you would put your sauce and toppings on all together and put in the oven for 4 minutes, and then if you are adding any uncooked ingredients onto your pizza, put them on top after that.

YOUR EXCLUSIVE ITALIAN CHEF OFFER

Whether you're stocking up on pizza ingredients, or dining in with family and friends, Italian Chef are offering all readers 20% off! Simply mention The Urban List when booking or making your purchase. Buon appetite!

(Offer valid until 31st August 2014)

Image Credit: Tash Sorensen, The Urban List

TUL Note: Today's List Love post is proudly sponsored by Italian Chef and endorsed by The Urban List. Our sponsored posts will never be a secret — the List Love seal will be stamped on any sponsored material you see on the site. Thank you for supporting the sponsors who make The Urban List possible.

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