Pizza, food of the poor? No, the luxurious way!

Pizza was invented as food of poor people in Italy. Today it is everywhere and I give you a basic recipe and some suggestions on how to prepare your personal favorite. It is food for low budget which can be pimped luxurious very easy! Be creative, lots of ingredients are there to be tested – and enjoy!

It’s time for some cuisine again. And since I love to do my own stuff, have no big budget, food shall be saturating, easy to prepare, and of course enjoyable, I present you my basic recipe for Pizza. I taught it to many people on my travels and Pizza is awesome! By Pizza I am referring to thin, crusty pizza, not to the American way of doing it, I will never be able to appreciate the thick dough which is still kind of raw inside.

It will cost you maybe $10 or EUR 8 for 3 pizzas, so a meal for 3 people, which is a steal. Of course it can become more expensive, when you use luxurious ingredients for the topping. The topping of a Pizza is the most expensive part.

The Pizza Dough

The dough it the reallyinexpensive part about a pizza and prepared right, very enjoyable! You need the following ingredients:

  • Water, which should be warm at the time you put in the dry yeast
  • Dry yeast for baking, half a package
  • Half a teaspoon of sugar and a teaspoon of salt
  • Flour, regular type 405
  • 3 spoons of olive oil

This basic recipe is the basis for every great pizza! What you put on there is totally up to you. First of all you take a glas of warm water, about 300 mL and put it into a big bowl. You add salt and sugar and assure everything is in solution. The sugar is necessary, that the yeast you add (half package) is activated properly. Wait 10 min if you have the time, since the yeast will start to foam and add the flour by that time and the oil immediately afterwards. For 300 mL of water you will probably need 500 g of flour. Best is to try it and work the flour in. The dough forms immediately and is ready, when it is not clammy anymore. Add flour as much as necessary to assure that and work in everything that is sticky to the side of the bowl. When you are done with that let it rest for 30 min to make sure, the yeast can start to work – you will see that due to increase of size of the doughball.

The Sugo

In the meanwhile you can prepare the sugo. I always take binned tomatoes in a piece and puree them, equally to the sauce of the Lasagna.

  • Binned tomatoes, a small bin is sufficient for 3 Pizzas
  • A small bin of concentrated tomato paste
  • An onion and a garlic clove
  • Olive oil
  • Italian herbs, pepper, salt as much as you wish, but you don’t need much

You slice one little onion very fine and grate one clove of garlic. You heat both together in a deep pan with some olive oil, until the very fine slices of onion are starting to get brown. Then you add the self made puree of the tomatoes and a small bin of concentrated tomato paste, if you wish you can add about 100 mL water at this point which you use to rinse the empty bins completely into the sauce. In addition put some Italian herbs, salt and pepper and let this mixture cook on low heat for 5 min. Afterwards it is ready for use!

For some ingredients as topping, I suggest you to put mascarpone on the pizza as well. It is very nice, when you have mushrooms or strong tasting ingredients, like a good proscuitto, which is the dried ham, not the cooked one.

The Preparation & Topping

Once you have dough and sauce prepared you can actually start to prepare the pizza itself. You have to put some flour on a clean and dry table and put a handful orb of dough on the flour and press it into a flat form. Then you roll the dough into a round and thin form (about 2.5 – 5 mm thin), a tad bigger than a big plate. You transfer this processed dough on a metal or bolus pad you want to bake the pizza on – it becomes best if you bake it at maximum heat on a specific pizza pad. Roll in the frame a little bit, not much but like the frame is a tad thicker than the rest. Put the sauce all over the pizza but just a thin layer as well.

Now to the topping in general:

  • Cheese is a topping that should not miss on any pizza – mozarella works best here, but for some variations I use additional gorgonzola or parmigiano reggiano
  • Various ingredients given in the pictures

You put cheese, and here it’s best to take mozarella either grated or if you get it in your region, take the mozarella block and cut down very thin slices to obtain quadratic pieces which you can distribute all over the tomato sauce. I prefer to put the cheese under the toppings, since it builds a connective layer with the dough and the ingredients will not fall off afterwards – Don’t use too much cheese either!

Topping suggestions on top of the tomato sauce and mozarella:

  • Gorgonzola, and freshly collected mushrooms. You can use chanterelle or all kinds of boletus or the brown champignons from the supermarket
  • Salami piccante (get the European one from Tader Joe’s if you are from the US), the thin and hot bell peppers, referred to as Pizza Diavolo
  • King prawns and garlic, without cheese
  • Proscuitto di parma – baked – and when out of oven, rucola and parmigiano reggiano added
  • Thuna, a freshly sliced onion in rings, some chili

A new creation of mine is Pizza with mozarella, gorgonzola with mascarpone, fresh figs and proscuitto from Alto Adige, better known in the German language as Tyrolean Speck. You find the picture on instagram:

Another creation of mine is Pizza with a cheese from the mountains, strong in taste, called Andreas Hofer cheese – but any stronger cheese will do – prawns which have been fried for one minute with garlic, and thin sliced zucchini. You find the picture on instagram:

Put the toppings but don’t overload your pizza, the above showed pictures are good examples and in the description is given, what I used. After 10 to 15 min in the preheated oven enjoy your pizza! There will be constantly new entries, since I love to experiment with my pizzas and always try new compositions. For the moment please be patient, I have to take new pictures, when I do pizza the next time 🙂

Summer delicacy – Boletus Carpaccio

The carpaccio of raw Boletus edulis is a delicacy of the summer time. When you have time to go hiking in the forests, take a look for those great mushrooms. It is a dish which is easy to prepare as entree or a full meal. It is healthy, luxurious and you will love it! Out of season I recommend to use big Champignons, although it is not comparable, but still good!

As promised in my last entry, Treasures of the forest, about my hikes into the forests of the Alps, where we collected dozens of different, delicious mushrooms, I bring up my first recipe. It’s the prime recipe if you have been successful on your hunt for the king of the mushrooms, Boletus edulis (Steinpilz, porcino, cèpe). You could use Champignons as well, the advantage: You don’t have to hike, you can have it all year long!

Boletus edulis the king of all mushrooms which grow above-ground.
Boletus edulis the king of all mushrooms which grow above-ground.

This dish is not comparable to all the other tasty dishes you can prepare when you have been successful, it’s easier to prepare and even more outstanding! The precondition: The mushrooms you use have to be in perfect condition, free of maggots and snails, with hard and fresh flesh. If you have older specimens as well, which are not in perfect condition, remove the sponge-parts and the skin on the cap, slice them thin and put those slices into the oven at around 70°C (160°F) for a couple of hours, while the oven is open a little bit so the humidty can escape. This makes sure all the insects and maggots inhabiting the mushrooms are killed – they crawl outta there and can be removed after the drying process. With the dried Boleti you can prepare Risotto for example, but this is another story…

The main ingredient, Boletus eduli. The older mushrooms can be sliced and dried. The fresh ones (right) can be used for the carpaccio.
The main ingredient, Boletus edulis. The older mushrooms can be sliced and dried. The fresh ones (right) can be used for the carpaccio.
Fine shaved Parmigiano Reggiano is the cheese of choice, but you can also leave it away if you prefer.
Fine shaved Parmigiano Reggiano is the cheese of choice, but you can also leave it away.
The ingredients besides parmesan: fresh black pepper, native olive oil, the mushrooms, sea-salt and sliced parsley (not depicted).

You do not need lots of ingredients, parmesan cheese – which is available under the names Parmigiano Reggiano or Grana Padano – some good native olive oil, half a lemon, parsley, sea-salt and black pepper. The less spice you use, the better you will taste the mushroom itself.

Slice the mushroom exactly like that, slowly and smooth.
Slice the mushroom exactly like that, slowly and smooth.
The marinade looks like that if you did it right. Don't use too much of a single ingredient!
The marinade looks like that if you did it right. Don’t use too much of a single ingredient!

You have to use a sharp knife and slice the mushrooms very thin, not too thin, otherwise the pieces are going to break. In a little glas which can be closed or in Tupperware with a lid, you put 3 – 4 spoons of olive oil, the juice of half a lemon, some sea-salt and a teaspoon of ultrafine chopped parsley – this amount is for one average sized Boletus. Close the lid and shake the glas to obtain a homogenous marinade.

Add all the ingredients, starting with the mushroom slices, layer for layer.
Add all the ingredients, starting with the mushroom slices, layer for layer.

When you have the slices, stratify the mushrooms, add cheese and black pepper, then drip marinade over all of it. Repeat that, as long as you have slices left – layer for layer. Like that the marinade can penetrate equally everywhere. And when you are done with that, leave the plate for about 20 minutes. After that: Enjoy this delicious and luxurious meal!

Boletus carpaccio, a delicacy of the summer, fresh, very tasty, very healthy and luxurious!
Boletus carpaccio, a delicacy of the summer, fresh, very tasty, very healthy and luxurious!