I’m afraid, since ‘tasting’ through the wireless waves hasn’t yet been invented, you’ll have to take my word for it when I have firstly, made my own version to see how easy it might be, and secondly, ordered an online pizza from Domino’s!
I was asked if I’d like to take on the challenge to make my own version, and who am I to turn down a culinary opportunity?
I began by hunting out one of the only pizza base recipes that I’ve felt actually turned out as I like it – Gino D’Acampo’s from his ‘Fantastico’ book. It really is simple:
Add a teaspoon of dried yeast to 140ml warm water. Pour into 180 g strong bread flour, along with a tablespoon of olive oil, and combine. Work for 5 minutes until stretchy and smooth then cover with a tea-towel and leave to rest for at least 45 minutes.
When rested, split into two balls and push outwards to form thin circles.
Now to make the pesto. Toast some pine nuts in a dry pan. Meanwhile, add basil leaves, salt, pepper and a drizzle or two of olive oil to a ‘whizzer’ (baby food processor!). Once the pine nuts are beginning to brown, remove from the heat and leave to cool. Add to the processor and blitz until smooth. Taste and add more of whatever you think it needs!
Now, this is the part where I wasn’t sure what to try. Should I aim to create an exact copy of the Domino’s version, sandwiching a homemade pesto between two thin bases? Erm…no. The reason? 1 – Worry over whether the base would be thin and crispy enough once layered, 2 – the oil from the pesto might leak into the dough and make it oily and sticky, not crispy, 3 – too messy!
So, option number two was to work the pesto into the dough itself, but I wasn’t honestly sure if people would like to eat green dough that might go that mushy brown colour once cooked. I decided anyway that one of the bases would have the pesto mixed into things, if only a little so the above didn’t happen!
There was one more option, however, which was a stuffed crust. This seemed a good compromise between the two: I might still get a crispy bottom, so to speak, and have the pesto combined with the dough in some way.
Before you begin topping your pizza, ensure everyone is nearly ready to eat so the toppings don’t make the base soggy, and that your oven is heated to at least 200 oC. Next, move the bases onto oiled baking trays because (and take it from me) if you try and move them after you’ve topped them, you’ll cry. Spoon a little of the mixture around the edge of each pizza and fold the crust over on itself – you can ‘stick’ down with a little milk if you’re worried about it coming undone!
Ensure the oven is up to temperature, top with a tomato salsa, mozzarella and whatever else you fancy. To make the tomato sauce, combine a can of chopped tomatoes, dried herbs, a pinch of sugar, a splash of red wine and seasoning, then bubble until it’s thickened.
Gino says to cook for 20-25 minutes, but use your common sense and remove before it’s burnt!
You should end up with something along these lines:
And the taste? Well, it depends upon what you’ve topped your pizza with, but speaking solely for the ‘basil burst’ part of it…with pizza 1, you could taste the herbs but only mildly and not when coated with tomato, cheese and pepperoni! Pizza 2’s stuffed crust was much tastier, although could have done with more oil in the pesto as it dried out in the heat of the oven. I was pleased that both of the bases cooked through well and were crispy underneath as well as at the edges, and that the herby pesto addition was not wasted and could actually be tasted! I do think it would work better with a more moist crust as mine was rather dry, but overall, I was quite pleased with the result, especially since I don’t often make pizza and was really keen on completing ‘the challenge’!