Genovese Pizza

Genovese Pizza

By 3 June, 2014

You have to see pizza-spinner Salvatore D’Avola in action to believe what he can do with pizza dough. Salvatore doesn’t just twirl a circle (or two) of pizza in the air and then assemble the toppings.  Sure, he twirls it, but then he lets it fall on his head – to become a pizza hat; then onto his shoulders – to become a cloak; then he twists it to become a sling for his arm; then lets it fall down his back to become a backpack.
I’d never seen anything like it, and I certainly didn’t expect to find an acrobat at work on the night I visited Casa Ristorante at Kings Wharf, Darling Harbour, recently. Salvatore has kindly given me this recipe for one of his pizzas, a very delicious citrus-marinated prawn pizza (which, quite unusually, requires self-raising flour for the dough), but I can only suggest you attend one of his pizza-making classes to see him in action and learn some of his tricks. You never know, you might become a pizza acrobat too.
As Barbara Santich points out in Looking for Flavour (Wakefield Press), "Cooking itself is performance, as all serious cooks know instinctively, and anyone knows who has watched, entranced, as the pizza cook tosses the dough, spreads and garnishes it as though he had the six arms of an Indian goddess."
He’ll be running eleven Exclusive Open Classes on the first Thursday of every month throughout this year as part of the new-look Casa Ristorante. For more information, contact one of the Casa team on (02) 92794115.



Make the dough: Dissolve the yeast in the water and set aside.  Mix flour, salt and sugar together . Add the olive oil to the yeast and water mix. Make a well in the center of the flour and pour the yeast in the center. Gradually combine the flour and yeast mix until you have a soft, fairly wet dough. Turn onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 8-10 mins until smooth. Cover the dough with a tea towel set aside in a warm, draught-free place to rise for 30 minutes or until dough doubles in size.
Make the sauce: Mix the crushed tomato, herbs and crushed garlic together, then season to taste. Leave to stand at room temperature.
Make the Pizza:
Pick up the dough and give it a quick knead and split into two balls. Roll out one of the dough rounds on a floured surface, into a base of about 25cm across, using a rolling pin. spread with a thin layer of the tomato base sauce and the creamy pesto sauce. Place the rest of the toppings on the pizza.
Once ready place in the woodfire oven and bake for 10 minutes till crisp. Serve with a little more olive oil, and rocket leaves. Repeat step for remaining pizza.
Tip: For those without a woodfire oven, bake in a hot oven (225degC) for 18 – 20 minutes or until crust is golden and crispy around the edges.
Note: Salvatore uses semolina when hand-stretching the pizza base to remove moisture.


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