Thursday, 7 October 2010


Considering that this pizza takes 25 minutes to make, from scratch, it's absolutely outstanding. The taste of it is up there with the best pizzas I've ever had. And, I tell you, I've eaten some pizza in my life. I'm like a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle in a wig.

The texture of the dough is the thing that you sacrifice for speed and ease here - although it's by no means the worst-textured pizza base I've ever had. It's probably up there with all the commendable-but-still-second-rate pizzas.

This is, again, from Jamie's gramatically-incorrect 30 Minute Meals book because I got it last week and I'm mostly cooking from it.

This is the pizza as I made it, not quite to his recipe. If you wanted to do it to his exact recipe, I'm sure you could track it down somewhere, although it's not on his website yet.

Chorizo "Cheat's" pizza for 1 greedy person, or 2 not-greedy people

110g self-raising flour
some water, about 100ml
olive oil
chorizo - about a handful of small cubes
basil leaves
1 clove garlic
1 ball mozarella
1 tin chopped tomatoes
splash of vinegar
1 red chilli

1 Start by chopping up all your topping ingredients and whizzing up your tomato sauce.

2 To make the tomato sauce, put 1/3 a can of tomatoes, 5 basil leaves, I small clove garlic, 1 glug olive oil, I good pinch of salt and a splash of red wine or cider vinegar into a food processor and whizz for 10 seconds. Set to one side.

3 To make the pizza dough, put the self-raising flour, 2 good pinches of salt and 1 glug olive oil into a bowl. Then add water by splashes and mix until you get a dough. Turn it out onto a floured surface and pummel into a consistent ball, then roll out into a more-or-less round shape - as thin as you can get it, is my advice. Don't be afraid to use a lot of flour here. The aim is for the dough to not stick to itself or anything else.

4 Okay, now let's talk frying pans. What you are going to do with this is first fry it to cook the bottom and then grill it to cook the top (unless you have a wood-fired pizza oven in which case I HATE YOU).

So the frying pan you use is a bit of an issue.

The first time I made this, I used an All-Clad skillet and the pizza stuck to the bottom and had to be chipped off by my husband, hence:

So this time, I decided to use a non-stick pan. I know, I know, but I couldn't see another way. The only problem was that I was worried the plastic handle would melt under the grill, so I wrapped a wet tea towel round the handle to protect it.

You can use whichever frying pan you like for this, but I wanted you to be armed with the potential pitfalls of all types.

So once you've chosen your frying pan, set it on the hob, pour in a glug of groundnut or vegetable oil and then heat it until it's red hot. And I mean hotter than the fires of hell and tarnation. Swill the oil around so there are no dry bits. At the same time, put your grill on to full whack.

5 Lower your pizza dough into the frying pan. This is fiddly and I spazzed it completely first time round. The second time, I made sure the dough was well-floured and so less liable to tear and then picked it up by laying a rolling pin across it, wrapping one side of the dough over it and then carrying to the pan and laying it down.

6 Cook this for about 2 min 15, which is approximately when the bottom will start to burn. If you're using a non-stick pan it ought to be fairly straightfoward to lift up the edges of the pizza to have a look at what's going on underneath. The top will go bubbly.

7 Pour over your tomato sauce and spread around a bit, then scatter on your other topping ingredients.

8 Shove the pan under the grill - wrapping a plastic handle in a wet tea towel if you're feeling neurotic, or just taking your chances - for about 4 minutes or until the edges of the dough blacken a bit and the topping is bubbling away and brown. Until it looks like a pizza, basically.

This is a thing to do for only one or two people because it's just impractical and mad to attempt to do it for more - one person or couple will have pretty much finished their pizza by the time the next one is made. I did think that this might be a really fun thing to do with a couple of 8 year-olds, (although probably with a different topping), but I may possibly be mis-understanding what 8 year-olds like to do with their spare time.

The first time you do this, it'll probably be a disaster, as mine was. But if you fancy making a pizza, do persevere, because it works and it is, I promise, delicious.

For a better dough, (although I haven't tested it out yet), Jamie Oliver's At Home book has an authentic-sounding recipe on p.182.


  1. I think my next book is going to be called '30 Minute Meals' and it will be a collection of thirty of the smallest meals imaginable.

  2. So that book tells you how to make 30 really small meals?

  3. As an Italian, I must confess that the idea of frying the pizza and then roast it sounds wrong and not promising...but I will give it a go and let you know! I have a pizza recipe myself in my blog you might like to try (and let me know what you think!).


  4. Another thing you could try is getting a really heavy duty cast-iron pan, putting it dry on a high heat for ten minutes while heating the grill, and then cooking the pizza on the bottom of it under the hot grill. It's what Heston suggests in his book. Scary but worth it.

  5. When I make pizza I use oil on my hands rather than flour to stop the dough sticking. I'm also incredibly lazy and make my breadmaker make the dough for me so I don't know if it will work for this dough, but I don't see why not. Before I had the bread maker I used to make pizza dough using Jamie Oliver's recipe from 'The Naked Chef' and found it to be pretty good.

  6. I've made the 'original' pizza recipe from Jamie's Italian cookbook a few times, and it was out of this world awesome. Great sauce, loads of olive oil and cheese melted just right. The recipe made hundred, but I troughed the lot (over a whole day I should add, not in one sitting).

  7. The husband built a wood fired oven in our urban back garden which was not as difficult as you might think but it is not a thing of beauty for that you need to fork out thousands. It makes spectacular pizzas but you have to find decent logs as apparently petrol station logs won't do and you have to start the fire about 3 hours before the pizza so not so convenient. I will be trying this version for winter.

  8. Have you tried a pizza stone?

    Good for bread baking too.

  9. If it's grammatically incorrect recipe books you're after (and who isn't?) try Bill Granger's 'Bills Sydney Food'. No apostrophe in sight! But the recipes are divine. Am cooking my way through it as we speak, and now I only spend around 2-3 minutes each day fretting about that apostrophe – a vast improvement.

  10. Hi Esther – loving your always very entertaining blog.

    So… is the new Jamie book any good? I wavered over buying it at lunchtime but wondered if it'd be a total faff if you wanted to mix and match dishes from different menus. Really tempted though. The pizza looks yum.

  11. Hi, that pizza is looking good! I usually end up with a 'soggy bottom' on mine. Looks like this method of cooking would get round that, which means I can now try Pizza making Take 2 - so I thank you. PS> Hope pregnancy is going well and you're feeling fine. It's nine years since I had my baby girl, but still feels like yesterday. Happy times.

  12. Sounds vg but I must put in a word for the Pizza Instantanea that you will see in the less pretentious Italian delis and bakeries- Barilla do one, and so do San Martino. Definitely sub 30 mins and you get dough mix (just add oil and water), chopped toms, sachet of oregano and a little wax paper baking sheet all in the box.

    As with the above, texture is what you lose, but still not bad and tastes lush. And no scary jiggery pokery with scorching frying pans...

  13. Sarah - it is a good book but there are a lot of pasta recipes, it having a speedy theme. I also think that you might find a bit of repetition if you're familiar with jamie's other books. Mixing and matching isn't much of an issue but you do feel a bit naughty - and of course the finished thing might end up taking you longer than the advertised 30 mins.

  14. Hi Esther. Inspired by your post I had a go at this last night and after looking around my kitchen, I decided to use the bottom of one of those separate-able baking tins as my 'frying pan'. Just put to dough straight on and into the oven. Worked quite well!