Known as pizza all’ortolana (pizza with things from the vegetable garden), this vegetable pizza is finished with dots of pesto that you add just before serving. It’s important the vegetables are cut thinly – a peeler does this job well.
For the dough
5g fresh yeast or 2.5g dried yeast
½ tsp caster sugar
300g/10½oz Italian 00 flour
200g/7oz strong white flour
35ml/1¼fl oz olive oil, plus extra for greasing
For the topping
1 small red pepper
1 small aubergine
1 small courgette
2–3 tbsp olive oil
300g/10½oz smooth tomato sauce or passata
For the pesto
1 garlic clove
100ml/3½fl oz olive oil
60g/2¼oz parmesan, grated
To garnish (optional)
fresh basil leaves, courgette flowers or raddichio
To make the dough, dissolve the yeast in 300g/½ pint of room temperature water and add the sugar. Leave in a warm spot for 10 minutes, during which time it should start to bubble gently.
Place the flours in a mixing bowl and mix in half the yeast liquid. Add the salt and oil and mix again before adding the rest of the liquid. Continue to work the ingredients together to form a soft dough.
Rub your hands and work surface with olive oil and turn out the dough. Knead, using the heel of your hand to fold the dough up and over itself, for 3 minutes. Put the dough in a clean, lightly oiled bowl, cover with a cloth and leave to sit in a warm place for 2 hours or until it doubles in size.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and cut in two, then tuck the corners under to make neat balls. Put on a tray, cover with clingfilm and leave to sit for another 20 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 250C/230C Fan/Gas 9 (or as hot as your oven will go).
To make the topping, prepare the vegetables by cutting the pepper into slender strips and using a peeler to make ribbons of courgette and aubergine. Put all the vegetables all in a bowl and toss with salt and olive oil.
To make the pesto, put the almonds, garlic, basil and oil in a blender and blend to a chunky sauce. Stir in the grated parmesan and season with salt to taste.
Roll the balls of dough into thin pizza bases and lift onto large baking trays. Dip your fingertips in oil and then dimple the dough by lightly pressing your fingertips onto the surface.
Spread the tomato sauce or passata over the circles leaving the edges uncovered. Divide the vegetables between the pizzas, pressing them down so they are sitting on the dough and drizzle with oil.
Bake in the middle of the oven for 15 minutes, or until the dough is golden and the vegetables browning at their edges.
Dot the cooked pizzas with pesto and return to the oven for a minute. Garnish with torn basil leaves, courgette flowers, ribbons of raddichio rubbed with oil or a handful of grated parmesan if you like.
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