Classic Vegetable Cheese Pizza

Pizza or Pittsa, what Italians called it, has bowled over the whole world with bready, cheesy and spicy flavors. The origins of Pizza can be traced back to Romans, when they baked flat bread called Focaccia(see recipe here) and called it Picea, yes you read it write Focaccia is the inspiration for Pizza. The modern day Pizza has it’s roots in Naples, Italy and in the honor of Queen Margherita, the famous Margherita Pizza got it’s name.

Ingredients:

For Base:
1 cup lukewarm water
1 tsp sugar
2 1/2 tsp instant (or active dry) yeast
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp olive oil
For Marinara Sauce:
2 tbsp olive oil
4 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 small onion, finely chopped
4 Tomatoes, Blanched and Pureed
1 tsp chilli flakes (or less)
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 Cup Fresh Basil leaves
1/2 tsp salt
For Topping:
1 Onion chopped
⅓ Cup Green Olives
⅓ Cup Chopped Jalapenos
⅓ Cup Assorted Bell Pepper Chopped
1 Cup Grated Mozzarella Cheese
A Fistful of Fresh Basil leaves

Instructions:

For base:
In a large bowl, mix ½ cup water, sugar and yeast. Let it sit for 5-10 mins until frothy. This means that the yeast is active.
In a bowl sieve flour and salt. Make well in centre and pour in activated yeast. Cover it with flour and let it sit for another 5 minutes.
Add the olive oil and Knead the dough using remaining water by rolling it backward and forward, using your left hand to stretch the dough toward you and your right hand to push the dough away from you at the same time. Repeat this for 10 minutes, until you have a smooth, springy, soft dough.
Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl. Cover with a kitchen towel or plastic wrap and let double in size for about 45 minutes.
This could take 30 minutes to 1 hour depending on the weather.

For sauce:
Heat the oil, saute the garlic and onions until soft (around 3-5 mins), do not brown the onions. Add all remaining ingredients, and simmer for 3-4 minutes or until tomatoes are soft and mushy. Remove into a bowl and blend into a coarse paste.

For Assembling:
Preheat oven to 275 degree celsius.
Keep the toppings of your choice and mozzarella cheese ready.
Divide the dough in two. Wrap one half in plastic wrap and freeze for another batch.
Grease pizza tray with olive oil. Place the ball of dough and with fingers stretch it out by pressing, into 7-8″ diameter circle. Brush with oil and allow this to rest for 5 minutes. Smear the generous amount of sauce over the base of your pizzas and spread it out to the edges. Top with cheese (teared or grated) and then with the toppings of your choice (olives, jalapenos, bell pepper, onions etc.). Scatter the basil leaves on top. Drizzle with a tiny bit of extra virgin olive oil and add a pinch of salt and pepper. Bake for 30 minutes.
Cut into wedges and drizzle a splash of olive oil. Serve hot!!!

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