Jamie Oliver's Neapolitan Pizza Base and Toppings

Learn to make authentic Neapolitan pizza dough easily at home with Jamie Oliver's fool-proof recipe, as seen on his Channel 4 series, Jamie Cooks Italy.

From the book

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Introduction

Based on a lot of research, this is my take on a classic Neapolitan pizza base, and it's really reliable at home. The method might seem a bit back to front, but Neapolitans start with the liquid, then add the dry ingredients. Using a pizza stone in a conventional oven gives fantastic results, but a wood oven is the real holy grail.

Makes 6 pizza bases

Ingredients

For the dough:
1kg Tipo 00 flour, plus extra for dusting
1 x 7g sachet of dried yeast
olive oil

Essential kit

You will need: a pizza stone.

Instructions

Cook time: 45 minutes, plus proving.

Pour 700ml of lukewarm water into a large bowl with 10g of sea salt. Gradually mix in a small handful of the flour to break the water and start to turn it into a batter. Mix in the yeast and leave for 2 minutes. Gradually mix in 90% of the remaining flour until you have a pliable, soft dough. Tip the remaining flour on to a clean surface and knead the dough for 20 minutes, or until smooth and elastic (or 10 minutes in a free-standing mixer with a dough hook). Place in a floured bowl, cover with a clean, damp tea towel and prove for 1 hour, or until doubled in size. Knock out the air with your fists, roll into a sausage shape, chop into 6 equal pieces and roll each one into a ball, stretching the edges underneath. Place on an oiled tray, drizzle with oil, cover with clingfilm and the tea towel and prove overnight in the fridge (for better flavour and a more relaxed dough). 

Preheat the oven to full whack (240C) and place a pizza stone inside. Use a fish slice to move one ball of dough on to a flour-dusted surface. Press the ball out into a flat round disc, then pick it up and gently turn and stretch it to 30cm in diameter, using gravity to help you. Stretch it over the back of your fists, then place it on a floured pizza paddle or board - the dough should be a little thicker around the edges. Pull it into shape and give it a jiggle so you know it's free-moving. Working quickly and with restraint, add your chosen toppings (see my favourites below). Quickly shunt onto your pizza stone and close the door to retain heat. Wait 7 or 8 minutes and it'll be golden, crisp and ready to eat. 

CALORIES 569kcal FAT 2.6g SAT FAT 01.g PROTEIN 23.8g CARBS 112.7g SUGAR 2.6g SALT 1.7g FIBRE 4.3g

Classic Margherita (pictured above)

The Neopolitans don't mess around - they keep their tomato sauce beautifully simple, raw and fresh, so buying quality tinned tomatoes is a must. Simply scrunch tinned San Marzano plum tomatoes in your clean hands until smooth, then spoon over your pizza base. Top with a few fresh basil leaves, some torn mozzarella cheese and finely grated Parmesan cheese. Drizzle with a little olive oil, bake, and finish with a few extra basil leaves. 

Ricotta and Baby Courgette

Spoon over tomato sauce (see recipe above), then top with ricotta cheese mashed with fresh marjoram leaves and finely grated Parmesan or pecorino cheese and lemon zest. Add baby courgettes tossed in olive oil and lemon juice, drizzle with a little more olive oil and bake.

Grape and Honey

Toss red and black grapes, fresh rosemary leaves and very finely sliced red onion in olive oil, then scatter over your pizza base with pine nuts, finely grated pecorino cheese, torn mozzarella cheese and a tiny drizzle of runny honey. Drizzle with a little olive oil and bake.

Tomato and Rosemary

Spoon tomato sauce (see recipe above) over your pizza base, then scatter over some fresh rosemary leaves tossed with a little olive oil. Tear over some spicy n'duja, finely grate over some Parmesan cheese, drizzle with a little more olive oil, and bake.

Broccoli and Sausage

Spoon tomato sauce (see recipe above) over your pizza base, then top with small blanched broccoli florets fried with garlic, fresh chilli, black olives (destoned) and sausagemeat. Tear over some provolone cheese, drizzle with a little olive oil, and bake. 

Jamie Cooks Italy by Jamie Oliver is published by Penguin Random House © Jamie Oliver Enterprises Limited (2018 Jamie Cooks Italy), photography: David Loftus.

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