Classic Pizza

Caroline Marson, Banbury
One hour +

This is the ultimate in convenience food on a budget ;and a great way to use up leftovers. Keep the dough ready rolled out in the freezer so all you have to do is top it and cook from frozen.

500g strong plain flour
1 sachet(7g) dried yeast or 15g fresh yeast
2 tablespoon olive oil
20ml milk
275ml warm water
1 teaspoon salt
Toppingpizza sauce or chopped tomatoes
toppings of your choice (see below)
grated Parmesan
Tip the flour into a warm large bowl with the salt and dried yeast. (If using fresh yeast mix into the warm water.) Pour the warm water, milk and oil into the flour and stir until all the ingredients come together.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead, punch, pull and thump by hand until smooth. It should take about 15 minutes for the dough to become smooth and soft to touch or if using a mixer; use a dough hook attachment on the slowest speed for about 8 minutes.
Place in a lightly oiled bowl, cover with cling film and leave to rise and double in size in a warm place for 1 hour.
Divide the dough into four equal pieces and roll or stretch the pizza dough to a disc approx 25cm in diameter and place on a lightly oiled baking sheet. Leave in a warm place for about 15-30 minutes.
If you want to freeze any bases now slide them into the freezer on trays. Then take off the trays when hard (about 2 hours) and store in freezer bags.
To cook straight away: Preheat the oven to 220C (425F) mark 7.
Spread the tomato sauce thinly over the bases and top with your chosen toppings (see below) leaving a 2cm uncovered around the edge.
Cook in the middle of the oven for 7-10 minutes.
Delicious pizza combinations using frozen vegetables;Frozen Spinach – defrost and scatter over with chopped tomatoes, top with grated cheese, goats cheese, ricotta or mozzarella works well and crack an egg in the middle if you like.
Frozen Sweetcorn – distribute frozen sweetcorn, cooked chicken strips, pepper slices and chopped bacon or salami with chopped tomatoes then top with grated cheese of your choice.
Frozen Broccoli – place florets of frozen broccoli with chopped tomato and scatter over pine nuts, raisins, olives and capers. Grate over the ends of any hard cheese such as Parmesan or Cheddar.
Frozen Peas – flake over a tin of tuna fish with some chopped tomatoes, olives, capers, anchovies and scatter over frozen peas or French beans. Add dollops of pesto and grate over the ends of hard cheese.
Cooks tipIt’s not always necessary to smear pizza with tomato sauce, try adding chopped fresh tomatoes or just use a can of chopped tomatoes for ease.Pizza dough is dead simple to make, there is no reason to be wary of yeast, which comes in packets and just gets on with the job once made active by liquid and warmth.If you have one, use a bread making machine or mixer with dough hook, it does all the hard work for you.If you are really short on time you could buy pizza bases and add your own leftover toppings.For an instant ‘woodfired’ type pizza roll out the dough thinly and cook on a smoking hot griddle one side, flip and smear with tomato sauce and toppings and grill until bubbling.