I recently had the pleasure of attending an Italian masterclass at Signorelli Gastronomia to celebrate the launch of Val Verde’s new San Marzano P.D.O Peeled Tomatoes.
The San Marzano tomatoes are grown in the volcanic soils surrounding Mt. Vesuvius in Southern Italy. The specific conditions under which they are grown give the tomatoes a sweeter and stronger taste. The Val Verde San Marzano Protected Designation of Origin (P.D.O) guarantees an authentic and distinctive flavour. Until now, San Marzano tomatoes have only been accessible by professional chefs.
Under the instruction and watchful eye of Chef David Rasconi, I attempted to make my first homemade pizza. Actually that’s a lie. I have made pizza before, but considering my poor cooking skills, I decided to tell everyone at my bench that I was a newbie. I was convinced I would find a way to mess up this seemingly easy recipe.
For the most part I felt surprisingly happy with my efforts. Although I was a little “too gentle” when it came to the handling of the dough, I managed to get a reasonable looking pizza base in front of me.
The final step was to add the San Marzano P.D.O tomato sauce to the base and choose my toppings. Taking a step back from my bench, in true MasterChef style, I was pretty proud. Chef Rasconi collected the pizzas to be cooked in the oven. Mine was the last to go in and by this point I was rather excited (and rather hungry).
Alas, my work was not as successful as I had hoped. My dough was too thin, creating a hole when it was picked up. I was the only person in the class to have to make a new pizza. Typical.
On the plus side however, I did get a one-on-one lesson with the chef in rolling out my pizza base. And when it finally came out of the oven and into my mouth, oh boy did it taste good!
If you want to attempt your own, the Val Verde San Marzano Tomatoes are now available at select Woolworths stores across Australia. Hopefully your “first” attempt will be more successful than mine!
- Pizza Dough
- 3 cups (450g) plain flour
- 2 teaspoon (7g/1 sachet) dried yeast
- 1 1/12 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon sugar
- 1 1/4 cups (310mls) lukewarm water
- Pizza Topping
- 1 tablespoon Moro Pure Olive Oil
- 400g can Val Verde San Marzano P.D.O Peeled Tomatoes
- Sea salt & freshly ground black pepper
- 200g buffalo mozzarella
- Sliced basil leaves to garnish
- Pizza Dough
- Place the flour, yeast, salt and sugar in a large bowl and mix well.
- Make a well at the centre and add the warm water and olive oil. Stir until combined and then use your hands to bring dough together in the bowl.
- Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 3-5 minutes or until the dough is smooth and elastic.
- Spray a large clean bowl with olive oil spray.
- Place the dough in the bowl and cover with plastic wrap and a dry tea towel and place in a warm draft free place until dough has risen and doubled in size; approx. 1 hour.
- Pizza Base and Toppings
- Divide the dough into three portions.
- Roll out one portion of dough on a lightly floured surface to fit a 28cm greased pizza tray.
- Transfer to tray and repeat with remaining portions of dough.
- Using a stab blender; process Val Verde San Marzano P.D.O Peeled Tomatoes (juice and all), until smooth.
- Season with salt and pepper.
- Spread sauce evenly over the prepared bases.
- Top with slices of buffalo mozzarella.
- Bake pizzas at 230°C (210°C fan forced) for 20 minutes or until golden brown and the pizza slips easily off the tray.
- Garnish with basil leaves and serve.
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