When I make pizza there are no shortcuts. Making it all from scratch from fresh ingredients does take a little longer but it is so worth it, and, good news, batch cooking pizzas is so easy and they freeze really well. Most of the pizza preparation time is waiting for the dough to prove or the sauce to reduce so you can mostly leave it to itself and then reap the rewards in the weeks to come. Coming home and knowing that dinner will be ready in 20 minutes is even better when you know it’s a fantastic homemade pizza.
I do like a tin of food. There’s something very humble about tinned fruit and vegetables particularly; and I am not one to overlook anything that comes in a can. My favourite canned good of all is the artichoke. That’s how this recipe for Chicken, Olive and Artichoke Stew with Risotto came about. Artichokes are very expensive, covered in oil (normally sunflower rather than nice olive oil) and quite small if you buy them chilled or in a jar; but in a can they can be half the price, bigger and once drained you get more for your money. So I wanted to make something comforting, filling and delicious and make the most of the wonderful artichoke.
The next pasta recipe up my sleeves is a super quick one; ideal for a midweek meal you need in a hurry but still want it to be tasty too. My Spicy Tomato Fusilli with Garlic Pangrattato takes less than thirty minutes from fridge to plate, is super cheap and great at using up odds and ends you may already have in the fridge and cupboards.
You will need (for two):
- 175g pasta (I used fusilli)
- 1 can chopped tomatoes
- 1 small onion, finely chopped
- 1 chilli, diced (I used a jalapeño but use whatever you have)
- Oil for cooking
- Salt and pepper
- 1 slice stale white bread
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 large garlic cloves, crushed
Heat a little oil in a saucepan on a medium heat and add the onion. Fry for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
While the onion cooks blend the bread in a food processor until you have breadcrumbs.
A few juicy stems of wet garlic arrived in my vegetable box. I knew they would be pretty powerful and pungent and it seemed only right to make garlic bread. However, garlic bread alone does not a meal make and fortunately I had some brilliant tiger tomatoes that I picked up from the farmers’ market. I’m not sure how clearly you can see the tomatoes but they are glorious; vibrant red flesh, green seeds and dark green striped skin.
You will need, a light lunch for two:
- For the dough: 500g strong white flour, 1 tsp sugar, 1 tsp salt, 7g sachet yeast, 300ml warm water
- 3 wet garlic bulbs
- Small handful fresh parsley
- Tomatoes, spme very ripe and tasty ones
- 6-8 tbsp olive oil
- 1 1/2 tbsp white wine vinegar
- A few fresh basil leaves
- Salt and pepper
Start by making the dough. I confess that since the acquisition of my food mixer, making bread dough is simple and carefree. Put all of the ingredients into the bowl, turn the dough hook on and come back 10 minutes later to perfectly kneaded dough. Lazy? Perhaps. Easy? Definitely. Leave the dough in the bowl, cover the top and leave until doubled in size; an hour or so.