Inspiring vegetarian recipes
Try our vibrant veggie dishes, from meat-free lasagne to vegetable curry and vegetarian chilli
The night before pizza-making day, make the poolish by mixing together the flour and yeast with 150ml of lukewarm water. Cover with a clean tea towel and leave overnight. It should be very bubbly by the morning.
To make the dough, tip the poolish, flour, olive oil and 275ml of lukewarm water into a stand mixer with the dough hook attached. Mix on low for 5 minutes until the flour is fully incorporated. Alternatively, mix together in a large bowl really well with clean hands until there is no unmixed flour left
Leave for 20 minutes, then tip in the salt with 2 tbsp more lukewarm water and mix for another 5 minutes – it should be a smooth, combined dough that has started to come away from the sides of the bowl. Alternatively, use clean, wet hands to stretch, pull and knead the dough for 10 minutes on a floured worksurface until it becomes a stretchy, single piece of dough.
Tip into a lightly oiled bowl and leave, covered with a clean tea towel, to prove for 3-4 hours, giving it a stretch and fold every 30 minutes for the first 2 hours (gently pull up one side of the dough with wet hands and fold it over the rest of the dough. Turn 90 degrees and repeat three times). Leave the dough until nearly doubled in size and is really bubbly.
Turn out onto a floured worksurface and divide into four equal pieces. Shape into four tight balls and at this point you have two choices: 1) leave the dough at room temperature for another 2 hours, lightly dusted with flour and covered with a clean tea towel, after which it is ready to cook; or 2) put the balls into a flat container or onto a plate, sprinkle with flour, then cover and chill for up to 24 hours. Remove from the fridge 2 hours before cooking to reach room temperature.
For the sauce, tip the tomatoes, tomato purée, sugar, pepper and some seasoning into a food processor. Whizz until smoothish. Add the vinegar, mix and check the seasoning.
To shape the pizzas, sprinkle a chopping board with the polenta/flour mix, take one of the dough balls, sprinkle liberally with more polenta/flour, then gently use your fist to spread the ball wider, taking care not to push on the very edge of the ball. Gently press and stretch the dough, turning it so that it becomes an even circle roughly the same size as the base of the frying pan.
Heat a large, non-stick, ovenproof frying pan over a high heat and heat the grill to high, with a rack at the top. Once the frying pan is very hot, carefully slide the dough circle into the pan and, working quickly, spoon on some of the tomato sauce, swirling it to the edge, tear over some of the mozzarella and place the pepperoni slices on top. Cook on the hob, carefully lifting the base with a spatula every few minutes to check that the dough has crisped up and charred in places. Put the pan under the grill and cook until puffed, bubbling and charred. Carefully slide the pizza out of the pan, sprinkle over the basil leaves and drizzle with oil. Repeat with the remaining dough and toppings.