Saturday, March 27, 2010

Pizze di Polpettini e Sage

So, I frequent a local pizza place, Lil' Baci. On their menu is a "polpettino" pizza that I enjoy. Polpettini are essentially mini meatballs. Soooo ... I decided to recreate it (with my own twist). The sausage came from Sanagan's in Kensinton market. Totally worth the trek. Also, this is a recipe for fresh pizza dough, but you can always use a pre-made crust if you don't have time (but try to make the time - makes a BIG difference!)

Ingredients for the dough:

  • 150ml tepid water (luke warm) 
  • 1 tsp sugar 
  • 2 level tsp dried yeast (the 8gm package, if you buy it that way)
  • 225g plain flour (plus extra for working) 
  • 1½ tsp salt 
  • Extra virgin olive oil

Ingredients for the toppings:
  • 1-1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese (good quality stuff!)
  • 1 mild Italian pork sausage, removed from its casing & formed into small balls (haha - I said balls) ... you don't need to pre-cook it.
  • 4-5 sage leaves, roughly torn
  • 1/4 red onion, thinly sliced
  • pizza sauce (you can make your own very easily from some diced tomatoes, garlic, onion and salt; just cook it down until the liquid is mostly evaporated.  This time, I used some prepared tomato sauce)
  • cornmeal (to put on the pizza stone - helps the pizza dough from sticking)

MAKE THE DOUGH (makes enough for 2 pizzas):
  1. Measure the water into a bowl. Add the sugar and yeast into the liquid, then swirl the liquid until sugar and yeast are dissolved. Allow the mixture to stand for 10-15 minutes in a warm place until froth develops on the surface.
  2. Sift the flour and salt into a large mixing bowl. Make a well in the centre and pour the yeast liquid in. Lightly oil or flour your hands and gradually incorporate the flour and liquid until they bind together.
  3. Sprinkle your work surface generously with flour. Place the dough onto your work surface. Begin kneading and after about 5-10 minutes the doughball should become smooth and silky, soft and supple.
  4. Leave the dough to rise, then ‘knock it back’ (this releases large air bubbles which otherwise make the pizza uneven). Rub a little oil or flour on your fingers and slide them down the side of the bowl, reaching down and underneath the dough. Gently lift up the dough and punch it down again. Divide the dough into two equal sections. If you aren't using the dough for the second pizza, wrap it in plastic wrap & freeze it.
  5. Pre-heat the pizza stone (if you have one) in the oven at 500F.
  6. Sprinkle your work surface with some additional flour. Roll out the dough until it's quite thin (or to however you like your crust to be).

MAKE THE PIZZA:
  1. Dress the pizza with a scant amount of pizza sauce. Top with cheese, then onion, then sage. Finish with the polpettini (mini meatballs).
  2. Scatter cornmeal onto the pizza stone.  Place in the oven on the stone for about 7-8 minutes or until the cheese is bubbling and starting to brown, and the crust is golden underneath.
  3. Slice and EAT IT!!

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