I have a bit of a weakness for pizza, namely the Pizza Express Calabrese, which we have once a month (ok, maybe twice) because of the huge amount of calories and, the fact that it’s never included in any of their deals (apart from Orange Wednesdays).
The Pizza was created by Francesco Mazzei, back in 2009, seeing it’s still on the menu demonstrates how popular it must be.
I decided to try to make my own version of the pizza, as we had some meats in the freezer and were decorating over the flat over Easter and we needed a treat.
The Pizza Express description
Spicy Calabrese sausage D.O.P, hot soft n’duja sausage, green chillies, roquiti peppers, red & yellow peppers, mozarella, rocket, pesto, oregano, grana padano
Most Delis will sell Calabrese, if not a spicy Salami alternative will do the trick, I usually go to Leeds market and pick up either, depending on what they have in. I have recently discovered Unearthed Calabrian Nduja which you can roll into little balls and add on top of the pizza. I also use some chorizo.
Along with the meats I use Peppadew peppers to give my pizza a sweet kick. For the topping it has to be soft Mozzarella, NEVER the grated stuff.
If you like the thin crispy pizza base I would say invest in a Pizza Stone, we are now on our second one as this first was dropped (Less said about that the better). We lasted about a week without one before we ordered a replacement.
This is the one we ordered: http://amzn.to/J3jjwm
When cooking with a Pizza Stone remember to place the stone in a hot oven for at least half an hour, the longer the better. Pizza stones are brilliant for baking Nann breads on as well.
I just guess the amounts to make this, it consists of; strong plain flour, a good glug of olive oil, packet of yeast, salt, pepper, lukewarm water and a lot of kneading.
For a good pizza base recipe I would use Jamie Oliver, put instead of faffing around with flour mounts on your work surface mix it in the bowl. When my other half attempted the latter method I ended up scraping pizza dough off utensils and the work surface for days afterwards.
I am not a fan of tomato puree for a pizza base and prefer to make my own. For this I use:
- Small red onion, finely chopped
- Small chorizo sausage (cut into cubes)
- red pepper chopped
- 2 garlic cloves
- Half a tin of tomatoes (drained)
- Chili flakes
- Couple of peppadew peppers finely chopped (see photo)
- Olive oil
Fry the onion, chorizo and garlic together until they are soft. Add in the, peppers, chopped pepper and tomato sauce and leave to thicken on a low heat, add the chili and season to taste.
You need a good cured meat on a pizza, we have used a variety in the past it’s all a bit trial and error to find the right balance for you.
What I will say is steer clear of the cheaper supermarket pre-packed stuff if you can and try and get it from their the deli counter, or better still your local deli.
Other toppings included:
Red peppers (Any but green, as I don’t like them)
Red chopped Jalapeno
I usually serve this with a watercress salad, some pesto and a nice glass of wine.
Enjoycalabrese > Francesco Mazzei > Leeds > pizza > pizza express > pizza stone