Italian classic’s a pizza cake

Even a novice cook can master the art of pizza with this simple step-by-step guide. Bellissimo

INGREDIENTS

For the base:

  • 300g strong bread flour
  • 1 tsp instant yeast (from a sachet or a tub)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp olive oil, plus extra for drizzling

For the tomato sauce:

  • 100ml passata
  • handful fresh basil
    or 1 tsp dried
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed

For the topping:

  • 125g ball mozzarella, sliced
  • handful grated or shaved Parmesan
  • handful cherry tomatoes, halved
  • handful basil

leaves (optional)

Method

Make the base: Put the flour into a large bowl, then stir in the yeast and salt. Make a well, pour in 200ml warm water and the olive oil and bring together with a wooden spoon until you have a soft, fairly wet dough. Turn onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 5 minutes until smooth. Cover with a tea towel and set aside. You can leave the dough to rise if you like, but it’s not essential for a thin crust.

Make the sauce: Mix the passata, basil and crushed garlic together, then season to taste. Leave to stand at room temperature while you get on with shaping the base.

Roll out the dough: If you’ve let the dough rise, give it a quick knead, then split into two balls. On a floured surface, roll out the dough into large rounds, about 25cm across, using a rolling pin. The dough needs to be very thin as it will rise in the oven. Lift the rounds onto two floured baking sheets.

Top and bake: Heat oven to 240C/fan 220C /gas 8. Put another baking sheet or an upturned baking tray in the oven on the top shelf. Smooth sauce over bases with the back of a spoon. Scatter with cheese and tomatoes, drizzle with olive oil and season. Put one pizza, still on its baking sheet, on top of the preheated sheet or tray.

Bake for 8-10 mins until crisp. Serve with a little more olive oil, and basil leaves if using. Repeat step for remaining pizza.