Si, Mama Tabbynera ha fatto una pizza sabbato. But now to continue in English, My Italian is not good enough and the Italians would shake their heads. First of all the photo was taken when Mr. Swiss and I were on holiday for a few days in the North of Italy. Just a stones throw from the Italian Swiss border in a place called Bellagio on the Lake of Como. It is actually one of those places that one often meets personalities from film and tv - a sort of secret tip. We didn't meet anyone as it was end of October, but the weather was still very pleasant, and in this particular restaurant you could eat very well. Papa did the cooking with Mama and their son spent most of the time accompanying various American female tourists around the village and showing them the sights. At least it seemed like it to me as we were always seeing him strolling around with a female on his arm during the day.
Now back to the actual subject of this blog. Now and again I make a pizza for Saturday evening meal. I don't like the ones you buy and since our local supermarket has been selling the ready made pizza pastry I started doing my own. Mr. Swiss bought a frozen one whilst I was on holiday in England, but decided it was a mistake and will not buy any ready made pizzas any more. The genuine italian would of course make their own pastry (with yeast naturally) and would cook the tomatoes to be put on the pizza in a sauce about one hour. My version is a bit quicker, but we like it at home, so here we go.
First of all the ingredients: pizza pastry, gruyere cheese, mozarella cheese (in a plastic bag as it is a fresh cheese and preserved in liquid), fresh tomatoes, mushrooms, ham (I use Malbuner which is a Swiss dried smoked ham but if you don't have anything similar on your market, normal smoked ham would do), and a tin of artichoke hearts. Every Italian has his own favourite topping on a pizza, but this is the mama tabbynera family favourit. Sort of quattro stagioni (4 seasons).
First of all the ready rolled pizza pastry is spread onto the pizza form. This can be square or round, I am making a big round one for three persons (perhaps 4 as my son usually counts as 2).
I now spread some mustard over the pastry and sprinkle origano over the pastry for some flavour. Origano is used in almost everything Italian and is actually a wild majory plant. I do have some in the garden, but to be quite honest, the better flavour is from the bought dried herbs.
I now cut the rinds off the gruyere cheese, grate it on a raffel and cover the pizza pastry with the grated cheese evenly. I don't give any quantities on my recipes as I am a believer in making things how you like them and not according to some sort of strict recipe. For my tast just a layer of cheese is enough (say about 200 grammes).
I use fresh tomatoes, but like to get rid of the peel as I find nothing more disturbing that having bits of tomato peel stuck in between the teeth when eating. For this purpose I boil water and put the tomatoes for a minute in the boiling water. Afterwards I drain the water off and the tomatoes land in the sink,
which may not look so appetising, but it saves the mess. Now you can just pull the skins off the tomatoes with no problem.
The tomatoes can now be cut into slices and evenly put onto the layer of cheese on the pizza pastry. I used about 5-6 tomatoes and they should cover the cheese.
Now the smoked ham should be taken out of the packet and cut into thin stripes. These now make a layer over the tomatoes. Due to using this sort of ham, there is no need to salt the ingredients of the pizza as the ham gives the salt needed.
Now open the tin of artichoke hearts and drain off the liquid. Cut the hearts into pieces. I prefer to quarter them, but they can also be halved of course. This is our next pizza layer.
Now peel the mushrooms and cut into slices.
I think I may have mentioned before I am a butter cook. It might not be the most healthy, but I like it. So I take special frying butter, heat it in the pan and fry the mushroom slices.
And what do we do with the mushrooms - we distribute them over the pizza. This is where I have to be careful where I put them, my son does not eat mushrooms, so I always leave a mushroom-free area on my pizza - it does simplify things afterwards.
This is the mozarella cheese, taken out of its packet and the liquide drained off. Cut the cheese into slices.
Distribute the mozarella cheese over the pizza leaving enough space in between - don't forget this cheese melts.
Now a fair sprinkling of origano over the pizza once again. As already mentioned, it is not necessary to put salt over the pizza, but you may add pepper.
Bake the pizza towards the bottom of a pre-heated oven about 180° C. I have an oven that circulates the warm air, but I usually also switch on the heating at the base of oven to make sure the base of the pizza gets nice a brown. I just don't know the english expression for this type of oven as it was developed after I left England and only know the German expression. You might think that the meal is now finished.
Not quite. Whilst I was busy in my pizzeria, Mr. Swiss made a salad sauce and a salad. Salad sauces are very individual. I grew up in a family in England where the sauce came from a bottle known as Heinz salad creme and you just threw it over the salad. I had to revise this idea when I got married into a Swiss family - after all what would Swiss mother-in-law think of a daughter-in-law that couldn't make a salad sauce. Mr. Swiss actually showed me how to do it, although since I have developed things myself.
Finely cut up an onion and chop some chives (if you have any). Sprinkle Aromat over it (I built in a link as I am sure that outside of Switzerland no-one has ever heard of it - if I mention that Mr. Swiss will not leave the country without taking Aromat with him, then you can judge how important it is for a Swiss citizen), and put a squirt of mustard and mayonnaise on it from the tube. A spoonful of vineager (fruit vineager, not non-brewed or malt vineager - please) and mix. Of course you can spice it up with other flavours, but that is the basis. Then put the salad in the bowl and mix just before serving.