How to Make Jamie Oliver's "Cheat's" Pizza in 30 Minutes or Less
I'm constantly searching for a homemade pizza dough that tastes good, but isn't too challenging to execute—in other words, a recipe that doesn't require the learned and magical skill of "dough whispering" (something I've yet to attain, but hope to achieve someday).
Making bread or any rising dough is difficult. It's no surprise that many sculptors go into the business of making bread—my experience indicates it requires patience, practice and somewhat of a magic touch.
I've tried Jim Lahey's no-knead pizza dough recipe, but I'm always looking for other variations. On a recent long airplane flight, I watched an episode of Jamie Oliver's 30-minute meals, a program that presents 3-4 recipes that can be made within the duration of approximately 30 minutes. His "cheat's pizza" presented an interesting alternative to traditional recipes.
Jamie's pizza is indeed a cheat—you substitute the challenge of kneading and the time constraint of rising with a food processor and self-rising flour. It's also quick to assemble and cook: simply fry the dough stove-top for 3-4 minutes, and finish under the broiler for the same. The result? Not bad. Pretty decent, in fact. It won't have the wonderful elasticity that some of the best pizza doughs have, but if you like a light and crispy crust, you should be able to nail a tasty outcome in 2 attempts or less.
The below ingredients should feed 2-3 people. I doubled and made two batches of the dough for 4 people; this yielded one large pizza, and two smaller (this was dictated by my cast iron pan options).
Ingredients (SERVES 2):
- 1 cup self-rising flour
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 pinch salt
- 1 can chopped tomatoes
- 1 1/2 handful basil
- 1-2 cloves garlic
- fresh mozarella
- toppings of choice (I used thinly sliced dried salami, green bell peppers, sliced zucchini and basil)
- balsamic vinegar
- olive oil
- food processor
- broiler-safe or cast iron pan
Step 1 Gather Your Ingredients
"30-Minute Meals" is a shticky TV concept—the time it takes you to prepare the pizza is entirely dictated by A) how organized you are and B) how comfortable you are with the process. The first time I made it took approximately one hour, the second time I was much more comfortable with the process and managed to do it in a little over 30 minutes.
Before you start: take out all your ingredients, set up your food processor and blender, oil your cast iron pan. Turn on the broiler, and pull out your measuring cup.
Step 2 Prepare Your Sauce
You can use any sauce you like—canned, jar or fresh. Jamie recommends a quick option that combines a canned tomato base with fresh ingredients.
Open and empty a can of crushed or chopped tomatoes into your blender. I used one with roasted garlic, but you can choose any variation you like.
Chop about 1 1/2 handfuls of basil (you will use 1/3 now for the sauce, 2/3 later for the pizza topping). Roughly chop 1-2 cloves of garlic.
Throw the garlic and basil into the blender with the canned tomatoes; add a swig of balsamic for taste, plus a drizzle of olive oil.
NOTE: The can size above is more than enough—I probably only used a third of it for 4 people. You should use a smaller can.
- Jamie recommends rolling your basil for easy chopping, a process is called "chiffonade". See below.
Step 3 Make Your Dough
This is the easiest dough I've ever made! Even beats Jim Lahey's no-knead bread (though I'm not sure it tastes as good).
Measure 1 cup of self-rising flour (MUST BE SELF-RISING, NO SUBSTITUTES) into your food processor. Add 1/2 cup of water, a drizzle of olive oil, and a pinch of salt. Pulse.
Your first pulse will result in a soft, wet dough that looks like the above image to the left. The goal is to work toward a firmer, processor-formed ball as pictured to the right. Do this by slowly adding more flour—I added as much as an additional 1/3 to 1/2 cup. In the end you want your dough to be somewhat wet and elastic, but not so wet that it's impossible to work it with a rolling pin.
Once you have a satisfactory ball of dough, cover a dry surface with a layer of flour. Remove the dough from the processor and add remnants to your solid "baseball"; coat lightly with flour and roll into a flat, round piece with a rolling pin.
- Jamie recommends that the dough be about 1 cm thick. In my second round with this recipe, I made it a little bit thinner, and liked the results better (a thinner, crispier crust).
Once you have a good thickness and large enough piece to fill an approximately 14-inch cast iron pan (or two smaller pans), fold your dough in half or quarters to easily transport to the WELL OILED (olive oil) pan. Unfold and spread/smooth slightly with your fingers if necessary.
Step 4 Prepare Your Toppings
Before you start cooking your dough, you should have your sauce, cheese and toppings on hand. Have all your toppings chopped—I prepped bell peppers, zucchini, basil and thinly sliced dried salami.
Use fresh mozzarella! It tastes better than the shredded stuff. Tear it into chunks beforehand.
Step 5 "Fry"/Broil Your Dough
Now for the fun part! Turn the heat on high, and let your dough get crispy. Stand by with a spatula and lift the edges to make sure the bottom isn't burning (this is why coating the pan with olive oil is so important—you don't want the dough to stick to the bottom).
You want it to get it crispy, but not charred. Let it go for 3 to 4 minutes, and once it's almost finished, spoon sauce in the center and spread. Remove from the heat entirely, and top with cheese and toppings.
Now that your pizza is ready, place it under the broiler for another 4 minutes or so. Leave the oven light on and watch it. Remove when it looks good to you.
- Hold off on the basil until the last second when you're about to remove the pizza from the broiler—that way the leaves will be warm and slightly cooked without being charred.
- Jamie added fennel seeds and freshly grated Parmesan to the top as well—I'm going to try next time, sounds delicious!
Step 6 Eat!
Enjoy. :) If you know of a good pizza dough recipe, please post below. I'm always looking for new ones.