Famiglia – La Casa del Formaggio

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Disclaimer – I was sent a review copy of the book Famiglia: Recipes made with Love and Tradition

When we first returned to South Australia I saw lots of La Casa del Formaggio cheeses in the supermarkets but it took me a very long time to figure out that it was actually a South Australian company. I may be the last person in South Australia to realise this but it is – and there is even a factory shop that you can visit in Glynde. I haven’t yet done this but it’s definitely on my to-do list. Because – cheese.

So when I received an invitation to the book launch of the Casa del Formaggio cookbook I was disappointed not to be able to go, but happily I was sent a review copy! Review copies are an excellent way of getting around the supposed household ban on purchasing cookbooks and while we both love cheese, Andy can be a little bit hoo-hum when it comes to Italian food, so Italian cookbooks are especially good because they’re an excuse to cook Italian.

The book is divided into primi, secondi and dolce and while I haven’t cooked any of the dessert recipes yet – they look amazing. Obviously there are recipes for tiramisu and cannoli but how good does rhubarb semifreddo amaretti sandwiches sound? Or four layer chocolate mascarpone cake?

I ended up trying out the pizza recipe. We almost tried the potato, bocconcini and prosciutto cake – until I saw it contained 2kg of potatoes. Our family of three would have been eating it for a week! In fact, a lot of the recipes are geared for massive families. This makes them perfect for entertaining (or if you do indeed have a massive family) but if you have a small family be prepared to do some sums!

In the interest of thoroughness, I even followed the pizza dough recipe. The main difference between this recipe and our usual one is that it includes olive oil along with the water. The resultant dough was very soft and a bit tricky to handle but made a great pizza base. Andy thought that the dough would be really well suited to making a thicker crust pizza – you can see from the photo how much crust we had. I liked it – and thought it looked fab – but the fact that the dough was harder to handle means I’ll probably revert to using my usual recipe next time (after all – I don’t need to look anything up!).

The topping was Italian sausage, bocconcini, thyme and rocket. Proper Italian pizzas are a GREAT reminder NOT to load up on toppings. Keep it simple. The real revelation here was using bocconcini in lieu of your standard big ball of mozzarella. It was soooooo creamy and delicious. OK – you don’t get those big long stretchy strings of cheese but the creamy flavour and texture was something else. From now on, our pizzas will be topped with torn bocconcini.

Rather than tomato paste, the recipe calls for passata (we just happened to have some open). Although it’s a lot looser than tomato paste, I thought that because of the relatively simple topping it worked well. Tomato paste would have dominated the flavours and made everything taste too sweet.

We both really enjoyed the pizza (and – more importantly for a cookbook review – it worked!) and it was lovely to make the bocconcini discovery.

The is available from the factory shop for $15. Throughout June you might find your local independent supermarket offering it as a gift with purchase in-store promotion.

Italian Sausage, Bocconcini, Thyme and Rocket Pizza

Serving Size: 1 30cm thin crust pizza

Ingredients

    Dough
  • scant 200mL warm water
  • 1 tsp dry yeast
  • 250g strong plain flour
  • salt
  • 1½ tbsp olive oil
  • Topping
  • Bocconcini - at least 3
  • 2 Italian sausages - cooked and then crumbled
  • 2 tbsp passata
  • fresh thyme
  • rocket

Instructions

  1. Please water, yeast and a sprinkle of flour in a bowl (or the bowl of a stand mixer). Allow the yeast to activate and add the remainder of the flour, the salt and the olive oil and form a soft dough. Allow to prove until double in size.
  2. Preheat oven to 250C (fan) - or as hot as your oven will go.
  3. Knock back the dough, give it a light knead and then line a 30cm lightly oiled pizza tray.
  4. Spread the passata over the base and scatter over the crumbled sausage and the torn bocconcini.
  5. Cook for 10 minutes.
  6. Scatter hot pizza with thyme leaves and then top with rocket.
http://eatingadelaide.com/famiglia-la-casa-del-formaggio/

Two Ingredient Pizza Dough

2 ingredient pizza dough

The idea of a two ingredient pizza dough recipe has been floating around the internet for a while. This hit my inbox at some stage and while I noted it, I never really thought there was anything wrong with my existing pizza dough recipe.

We had pizza a week or so ago and had some mozzarella hanging around in the fridge, so I was determined to use it up before it needed binning.  Unfortunately, inspiration was a bit thin on the ground at the end of last week so … pizza it was. However, given that we always have yoghurt in the fridge I thought maybe it would be worth a bit of an experiment.

I don’t know where the two ingredient dough originated but kidspot seems to stake an early claim. However, by both my standards and those of many of the commenters, the recipe given is really rather deficient.

  • Serving size? 1 pizza base. Because there’s some kind of universal standard for pizza bases …
  • Greek or natural yoghurt is given in the list of ingredients … but the recipe creator says in the comments she hasn’t tried with natural yoghurt …
  • There are a ton of complaints about the ratios
  • There’s no cooking temperature
  • There’s no cooking time

And that’s before I complain about the fact that the flour quantity is given in cups, rather than grams.

I’m all for playing fast and loose with recipes but I suspect that had you never made pizza dough before you’d be facing an uphill battle with this one!

The following recipe makes a thin crust for a 30cm diameter pizza tray. We find that this is perfect for dinner for the two of us (the small child won’t touch pizza on account of the bread component).

Of course, the really important part of all of this is … how did it taste? While it was OK it was … just OK. While it was a thin and crispy base it had a slight but discernible taste of raw flour and the texture was slightly too crumbly (for want of a better word). The dough is also very soft which makes it difficult to work with.

I can see the appeal in this dough – no yeast and no rising time. But with dried yeast so readily available and the rising time for pizza dough less crucial (and, indeed, for ease of dinner prep I made this dough in the afternoon so there was no advantage to me at all there) I’m not sure that the compromise in taste, texture and easily workable dough is worth it.

We’ll be returning to our standard recipe.  Yes, it’s 4 ingredients but so worth it!

 

Two Ingredient Pizza Dough

Ingredients

  • 200g self raising flour + extra for kneading
  • ¾ cup plain yoghurt (I used Paris Creek B-D Yoghurt)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 250°C fan (or as hot as it will go).
  2. Mix the flour and yoghurt until they come together in a soft dough.
  3. Knead well on well floured board and roll out to fit 30cm pizza pan (greased with olive oil).
  4. Top with your favourite toppings - we use a base of tomato paste, oregano and chilli flakes, topped with mozzarella, bacon, red onion, hot salami and capsicum (for example).
  5. Bake for 10 minutes and serve immediately.
http://eatingadelaide.com/two-ingredient-pizza-dough/

Perfect Pizza Dough Recipe

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So back in November last year, I attended the Food SA awards and promised to put some focus on South Australian producers.

I’ve not done the world’s best job of that, have I? Still, the other week at the Cellar Door Festival Pangkarra, based in Clare, had a stand so punters were able to try their pasta and purchase a wide range of their foods.

Pangkarra started life as a legume and cereal producer but these days, this fifth generation family owned business produces fine foods, such as flours and pastas, too. And while I have no doubt that this kind of value adding takes a lot of effort that many primary producers can’t afford, it is a brilliant way of ensuring that more money flows back to the people who produce the food, rather than middle men.

I’ve seen Pangkarra pasta in my parents’ local Foodland (unfortunately not in my own) but never had the presence of mind to purchase it. And the Cellar Door Festival wasn’t really the place to buy pasta – it being fragile and all. But I was easily tempted by a 1kg bag of the stone ground, wholegrain durum flour. It was offered at the special price of $3 (I think it’s normally around $7, so this is quite a discount) and I could have bought 6kg at an even greater knock down price. I also knew I had no hope of carting 6kg of flour around for an afternoon!

Now, Pangkarra does actually have a pizza dough recipe on the website, but I’ve been using an Antonio Carluccio “recipe” (you can find it in Complete Italian Food) for years and there are some things I find need no fiddling at all.

For one pizza, mix 1 generous tsp of dried yeast, with a generous ½ tsp of sugar and 125 mL of warm water (think tepid). Leave to allow the yeast to activate (the mixture will start to froth a little) and add in 200 g of flour. I was warned that the Pangkarra flour would be more thirsty than run of the mill (ahem!) flour – and it certainly was, so have some additional water to hand to bring the dough together.

This is usually quite a stiff dough and was especially so in this case because I didn’t want to end up with dough that was too wet. I always let my KitchenAid do the first lot of kneading for me, then I just form the dough into a ball, cover it with a slick of oil and leave it to rise.

Making the pizza is easy! Preheat your oven to as hot as it will go (250°C fan in our case), lightly oil a pizza pan, and roll out the dough. Put the dough in the pizza pan, add a generous slick of tomato paste, some dried oregano and chilli flakes and then lots of slices of mozzarella cheese. Finish off with toppings of your choice (in our case, onion, ham, spicy salami, some green capsicum, artichokes, and black olives) and bake until done. In our oven, this is just 10 minutes.

Slice and eat immediately!

The Pangkarra flour made a good dough and good base. I usually add salt to my pizza dough but in this instance I forgot (thanks to my pint sized kitchen ‘helper’) and while I did notice (don’t you always, if you know!) Andy said he didn’t think it needed it – a sign that the flour itself has plenty of taste.

It’s obviously very strong flour so I really am going to have to have a go making my own pasta with it …

NOTE:  This post has not been sponsored in any way.  I paid for the flour and, had it been awful, I would have told you so!