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Homemade Polpo pizzetta

A few months ago, I was lucky enough to be treated out to a meal at Polpo Smithfield for work - there are definitely some perks to being client side.

The memory of that meal stayed with me so strongly that I not only purchased the cookbook for a friend, I also bought it for myself. As far as cookbooks go (and I have a few) this one is one of my favourites. It's got everything I look for - food porn, a storyline, wonderful narrative, a beautiful cover (anyone who says you can't judge a book by its cover is a liar), what looks to be a hand stitched spine, and most of all; recipes you can actually make without too many odd ingredients or lengthy preparation times.

Anyone who's had the pleasure of a Polpo pizzetta will know the crust is a joy to behold. Perfectly light, crispy, and proportioned to the topping, it was the dish that made the biggest impression on me. I was determined to recreate the magic at home.

I didn't even realise I liked pizza until fairly late in life. Growing up, I honestly thought that Pizza Hut was the standard - and I hated it. I never, ever, requested pizza for a meal. It wasn't until I went travelling around Italy in 2004 that I realised just how much more there was to pizza, and how wonderful it could be.

After a bit of prep, Miss J stationed herself at the rolling pin, and we started to experiment - different sizes, toppings, cook times...no matter what we did, our pizzettas came out better than we could have imagined.

The CG declared we would never eat pizza outside again, as he waited impatiently at the oven door for more.

Thanks to our new pizza stone for Christmas (thanks mum-in-law!) we revelled in the joy of perfectly crisp pizza. De-li-cious.

What you'll need:
  • 500g strong white flour (I used 00 grade)
  • 1 x 7g fast action yeast packet
  • 300ml tepid water
  • 2 tsps table salt
  • 2 tbsps extra virgin olive oil

Mix the lot together and then give the dough a good, 10 minute knead on a floured surface. Leave for around 30 minutes, or until it's doubled in size in a bowl under cling wrap. And that's it. You're ready to make pizza with whatever bad-boy toppings you care to throw at it.

Take your toppings as far out to the edge as possible, and if you can do it quick enough to not lose too much heat, top straight on the pizza stone - we had toppings sliding into the centre during our transfer from bench to oven. The crust is great, but who doesn't love the part of the pizza with topping more?

I'm already lining Miss B and Lizzie up for pizza with spinach, soft egg and parmesan (damn Miss J and the CG's weird egg issues). Although there's a gorgeous little mussels and clams with garlic breadcrumbs dish calling my name from page 128...