The pizza base in this recipe is great with any of your favourite toppings – just make sure you don't overload the base. This dough is also great baked natural, then rubbed with raw garlic, or spread with roasted garlic, and drizzled with extra virgin olive oil. Top with a bit of grated parmesan and you have a great bread-based starter.
⅓ cup coarse polenta
250g fresh buffalo mozzarella, drained and torn into pieces
180g thinly sliced prosciutto, torn into large pieces
1 cup loosely packed rocket leaves, handful fresh basil leaves
1/2 tsp caster sugar
2 tsp instant yeast
2 tbsp olive oil, plus more for oiling the bowl and after kneading the dough
525g "00" flour, plus extra
1 tsp of sea salt
400g tin whole tomatoes, preferably Italian San Marzano, pushed through a sieve with a large spoon
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
4 fresh basil leaves, torn into small pieces
pinch of dried oregano
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1. For the dough, place sugar in a small bowl with 1 tbsp of lukewarm water and stir. Add in yeast and allow to activate for about 10 minutes. In another small bowl, combine 1¼ cups of lukewarm water with olive oil. Place flour and salt in a separate large bowl and stir in the yeast mixture and oil/water mixture until incorporated into a dough. Place dough on a clean, lightly floured surface, and knead for about 10 minutes (adding more flour if needed, but keeping dough quite wet) or until smooth. Place dough in an oiled bowl and brush a little oil on top. Cover in cling film and then refrigerate for 24 hours.
2. For the tomato base, mix all ingredients together, cover and set aside for 3 hours.
3. Remove the dough from the refrigerator about 2 hours before you plan to make the pizzas; this will make it easier to stretch.
4. Position a rack in the centre of the oven, set a large pizza stone on the rack, and preheat the oven to at least 250°C.
5. Divide the dough into 4 portions, dust a sheet of baking paper with 1 tbsp polenta. Stretch 1 ball of dough out to about 24cmdiameter disc.
6. Ladle a quarter of the tomato sauce onto the disc of dough. Spread it evenly, leaving a 1½ cm border all around. Using a large, flat tray, slide the dough (still on the baking paper) onto the pizza stone and bake for 3 to 4 minutes. Open the oven, slide out the rack, and quickly arrange a quarter of the mozzarella over the pizza, then bake until the cheese is bubbly and the dough is golden brown around the edges, about 3 to 4 more minutes.
7. Carefully slide pizza back onto baking tray, then transfer it to a cutting board. Remove baking paper. Scatter a quarter of the prosciutto, rocket and basil over the pizza and let this rest for 2 minutes.
8. Cut the pizza into slices and transfer to a serving plate. This pizza is best eaten straight away.
9. Repeat with the remaining dough and toppings.