There is so much to love about pizza.
Some love a thick base, while others prefer their base paper-thin and crispy.
Then there’re the toppings. Some prefer the classic Margherita with marinara sauce and ’n klomp kaas, while others like a topping with alles on the double: extra meat, extra cheese en of course, extra geld.
And then there are the pineapple-on-pizza people, ek weetie so mooi van daai nie, maar I’m not going to judge.
We love pizza so much that it gets its own day to be celebrated – 9 February is National Pizza Day.
The most expensive pizza in the world, which includes grains of pink Australian sea-salt from the Murray River, lobster from Norway and three different types of caviar, will set you back a massive R180 000!
In the United States, 350 slices of pizza are eaten every second and if you’ve seen the size of those slices you’d know that one slice is a meal on its own.
Luckily here in South Africa, our modest-sized pizzas make it easy for almost anyone to finish a whole pizza alone without being called a giemba.
Pizza is the second most enjoyed fast food in South Africa, after fried chicken and ahead of burgers, with the favourite toppings being pepperoni, chicken, mushrooms, ham, pineapple, bacon, feta and avo.
However, that queen of pizzas – the good old Margherita – still tops the polls when it comes to the most ordered pizza.
South Africa is the current holder of the 2020 Global Pizza Challenge.
Fortunato Mazzone, chef-patron of Pretoria’s Forti Grill & Bar, won the competition with his gastronomic Oro dal Mare creation with a topping that includes a full Natal rock lobster, prawns, calamari, clams, basil, ripe Neapolitan tomatoes from Salerno and imported buffalo mozzarella.
The man himself has described it as a “pizza composed to be the last word in fine dining”.
To celebrate National Pizza Day, I selected a few simple, cheap yet lekker pizza recipes to try at home.
Capsicum Culinary Studio
10g packet of active dry yeast
1 tsp white sugar
1 cup warm water
2½ cups bread flour
2 tbs olive oil
1 tsp salt
1 cup of grated mozzarella cheese
Preferred toppings – chopped ham, shredded chicken, mushrooms, olives etc
Preheat oven to 230°C.
In a medium bowl, dissolve yeast and sugar in warm water. Let stand until it froths (about 10 minutes).
Stir in flour, salt and oil and combine until smooth. Let rest for 5 minutes.
Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and cut into 6-8 equal size pieces.
Stretch or roll out each one until very thin
Carefully transfer to a lightly greased pizza pan.
Spread the base with tomato paste and cover with grated mozzarella cheese.
Top with other desired ingredients (except if using avo – which you add after the pizza is cooked)
Chef’s tips: Avoid adding fresh tomato before baking as they will make the base soggy.
For a crispy base, brush the raw pizza dough with a mix of olive oil and crushed garlic before adding the toppings.
HAWAIIAN PIZZA ROLLS
1 packet Sasko regular plain white buns
12 slices of gouda / cheddar Cheese (200 g)
50 g ham
440 g can pineapple rings
Salt and pepper
Preheat the grill in your oven.
Cut each roll in half and place onto a large baking tray.
Top each of the halves with a slice of cheese.
For smiley-face pizza rolls:
Cut the pineapple rings into halves for the smiles and the ham into triangles for the eyes.
For the palm tree pizza rolls:
Cut the pineapple rings into equal-sized pieces for the branches and the ham into tree trunk shapes.
Decorate as seen in the picture.
Season with salt and pepper.
Grill until the cheese has melted and the rolls are just beginning to brown.
Pizza on the braai
As you all know when we braai there is a period where we have to wait for the coals to reach the perfect temperature before we can braai our meat. Well, what I do is when the coals are that hot I make pizza.
I place my tray with my pizza on top of the braai until the base bakes golden brown then I place it in a very hot oven on the grill to finish it off. Tastes amazing.
So while we wait for the meat we can nibble on delicious Cheesy Pizza.
2 cups of flour
1 teaspoon of salt
1 teaspoon of instant yeast
1 tablespoon of olive oil.
1/2 a cup of lukewarm water
Mix all ingredients together and knead for 5 minutes - Place in a lightly oiled bowl and cover and allow to rise for an hour.
You can make a big pizza, 2 small pizzas or small cocktail pizzas with this dough.
I used white mature Cheddar, fresh basil, tomatoes, garlic and a little tomato sauce to spread on the base.
Always bake in a very hot oven or place the pizza in a hot pan on the stove or hot coals while braaing until the base turned golden brown and then grill further in a very hot oven until cheese has melted and edges of the pizza are golden brown.
You can use any topping of your choice.
Mini ham and pine pizza rolls
Recipe by Rhodes
1 x 400 g roll puff pastry, defrosted
125 ml (½C) Rhodes Tomato, Basil & Origanum
120 g thick slices of ham, cut into small cubes (you can use any polony)
1 x 440 g can Rhodes Pineapple Pieces in Light Syrup, drained
10 ml dried Italian herbs
250 ml (1C) grated cheddar cheese
1 egg, lightly whisked
Unroll the puff pastry and spread the surface with the Rhodes Tomato, Basil & Origanum.
Top with the ham, Rhodes Pineapple Pieces, dried herbs and grated cheese.
Roll up the pastry and using a sharp knife, cut into slices.
Arrange the slices on an oiled baking sheet and brush with the egg, then bake in a preheated oven at 200°C for 20 minutes or until the pastry is puffed and golden.
Add your signature touch. Try garlic and chilli or better yet, experiment with all the flavours of your favourite pizza.
Colleen Heugh’s homemade pizza
Perfect for Friday pizza night made the 2 ingredient dough
2 cups self-raising flour
1 cup plain yoghurt or buttermilk
Pinch of salt
Mix until a soft pliable dough
Roll out and onto a pizza plate or in an oven tray
Brush with a tomato sauce for a base or any sauce of your choice,
Add toppings of your choice.
Add your cheese and herbs, I used pizza spice and I baked it at 180 degrees until the cheese had melted and the base is bit brown.
Remove from the oven.
I drizzled some dhania chutney over the one and minnies creamy mild dip over the other.