Chelsea & Me: Pizza

Chelsea Winter. Winner of Masterchef NZ in 2012, author of two (nearly three, eeeeeek!) cookbooks, and my go-to gal when I’m in a recipe funk. At My Table and Everyday Delicious are the most-used and most-recommended cookbooks in my kitchen, so I’m making it my mission to try every recipe.

Chelsea & MeThere’s something about making pizza dough that I find both satisfying and frustrating. I love that it is so easy to create your own bases on the cheap, but I really don’t enjoy the kneading. However, I’ve tried many no-knead versions and they just don’t have that same texture as a base that’s been pummeled massaged gently for a good ten minutes.

Pizza Dough - Chelsea Winter The pizza dough recipe in At My Table is very easy and relatively quick to make – the mixture rises quite quickly in a warm environment, and even though there’s still a lot of kneading involved, it’s kinda worth it in the end. The recipe makes a lot of dough, but it freezes really well, so I often make the full batch, pop one or two portions in the freezer, and when there are enough in there for a meal, out they come, almost as good as fresh.

The pizza sauce recipe is pretty standard; I switch between using it, plain tomato paste, or my own pizza sauce recipe, depending on what kind of pizzas we’re having, and how much time I have to spare.

Chelsea offers seven topping recipes, and we’ve tried five of them:

Chilli, olive and tomato – enjoyed by the adults, not by the children. They were wary of the delicious, salty wee anchovies, and the slices of tomato.

Greek lamb – this cheese-lee baby was really tasty, and even though my boys picked off the tomato, they liked the flavour of the lamb. I’ve also tried it with the addition of crumbled feta (pictured on the slightly over-cooked pizza below) which adds an extra sharpness that I liked but was a definite no-no for my babies.

Greek Lamb Pizza - Chelsea WinterPrawn, garlic and aioli – YUM. We are a prawn-loving family, and this simple pizza is now one of our favourites. Occasionally I’ll leave the cheese off my portion, but the boys (all three of ’em) prefer it to have a little hint of stretchy mozzarella.

Proscuitto, mozzarella and basil – given the price of proscuitto and fresh mozzarella, I’ve only made this once for a date-night-in dinner. The flavours were so good – the saltiness of the proscuitto was tempered by the fresh mozzarella and the freshness of the basil. I like pizzas where there are toppings added after cooking, as it keeps things texturally interesting and flavours high.

Salmon, caper and cream cheese – another divine seafood offering, using parmesan cheese. The addition of fresh rocket and lemon juice before serving cuts through the richness of the salmon and cream cheese, and we love capers. I always add a little sprinkling of dried dill, simply because I love it, and it works really well with this flavour combination.

Salmon, Caper and Cream Cheese Pizza - Chelsea WinterI don’t bother using any other pizza dough recipe now (the grease marks on the page are testament to that fact!), and it’s always nice to have suggestions for toppings when the motivation to create something that looks and tastes pretty is low.

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