I used to work very closely with just one other person, a dude. He was super friendly and we got on really well, despite having exactly nothing in common with one another. We shared absolutely no referential points in our lives outside of work, other than that we were both white people living in Brisbane. But, we did share a desire to have as fun a time as we could, and for that reason we got along pretty great.
Every Monday we would do the usual – hey how are you, how was your weekend – and this guy was constantly having ‘gone out’ to clubs, or headed to some body of water to ride jetskis or something. Which I thought was great! But I couldn’t help but feel a little hint of pity and mistrust creep into his eyes when I would fill him in on my jam-packed weekends. What did I do? Probably read a book or five, baked some muffins and then watched Spinal Tap and ate pizza with my boyfriend. So every now and then – and I’m ashamed to say this really, it’s so lame – I would be like, oh you know, had a bunch of people round and hung out, made some drinks ate pizza ha ha ha! SO MUCH FUN! SO HUNGOVER! Just to try and live up to his expectations of what a weekend should be, you know?
That’s not to say that I never actually did that…but I never actually did that. Then he said to me one day how funny he thought it was that I would describe my ‘heavy weekend’ (the lie as told above) and it was so tame! All I ever did was hang out at my house with mates! LAME! It was then that I quit bothering. If old mate jet-ski clubber thinks my fake-party is lame, then I’m lame, it’s fine. Bless his heart, he knows no other kind of life.
What does this have to do with pizza? Well, if you really paid attention then you will see that pretty much the only thing my fake weekend and my real weekend had in common was pizza. Because I straight up cannot imagine a weekend without it. Homemade, chewy-crusty based pizza, with a sparse number of funky funky toppings.
This here is a new favourite of mine. A deep-dish style crust, filled with charred, blistered burnt tomatoes, a scattering of mozzarella, and thin slices of crispy-smoky chorizo. The flavours of the fire abound in this recipe, particularly strongly from the burnt tomatoes, which are my latest obsession. In truth, I left a tray of overripe tomatoes roasting in the oven for a little too long. But their blistered, blackened, olive oil soused edges softened as they sat in the pan, and turned into little umami bombs. With the fatty chorizo and the milky mozzarella? Unbelievable. You couldn’t make this shit up.
- For the crust:
- 2½ cups (375g) plain flour
- 1¼ cups (310ml) warm water
- 1 tsp sea salt flakes
- 1 tbsp caster sugar
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tsp dry active yeast
- 4-5 ripe, ripe, ripe tomatoes
- 2-3 tbsp olive oil
- salt and pepper
- optional: a sprinkle of dried or fresh herbs, such as oregano, rosemary or thyme
- ¼ cup tomato puree (tomato passata)
- 1 ball buffalo mozzarella
- 1 small, cured chorizo sausage, thinly sliced
- basil leaves, to serve
- Place all the ingredients for the pizza dough into a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook. Work on a medium-low speed until the ingredients just come together, then turn down slightly and knead for about 5 minutes, or until smooth and climbing the hook. It will be a wet dough, but that's cool. Cover with plastic and set aside to rise for 40-60 minutes or until doubled in size.
- To make the burnt tomatoes, wash and cut the tomatoes into quarters. Pour the olive oil into a small baking dish, which will fit the tomatoes in a single layer, and then throw them in, along with a generous scattering of salt and pepper, and herbs if using.
- Turn the oven up to 220C/400F and roast them for 30-45 minutes, or until blackened, but still juicy. Depending on how fast your oven is, this could take considerably more or less time, so keep checking. Set them aside to cool completely in the pan.
- To make the pizza, divide the dough into two and roll each out into 28cm/11inch disk. The dough is quite soft, so use a lot of flour. Carefully flop each disk onto a baking-paper lined baking sheet, or into a greased baking dish (I used an enamel pie dish, but I think the baking sheet approach is better) and then spread the dough back out into shape gently.
- Spread half the tomato puree over each base, then top with half the blackened tomatoes, half the mozarella, torn into pieces, and half the sliced chorizo.
- Turn the oven up to 250C/480F or as hot as it will go, and bake the pizzas for 12-15 minutes, or until the edges are puffed and crunchy and the toppings are bubbling.
- Scatter over the basil leaves, slice and serve.