Autumn pizza.
Autumn pizza.

Tardy tomatoes turn up for home-cooked delights

For some reason (I'm guessing the high humidity), the usual summer delight of ripe red tomatoes didn't happen in my neck of the woods (including my own vegetable garden).

They seem to be just coming into their own now, which is not such a bad thing. I usually end up bottling my own passata and it's much nicer being chained to the stove when it's not stinking hot.

I'm celebrating tomatoes right now by cooking as many Italian-inspired recipes as I can. As I write this I have a beef ragu simmering gently in my slow cooker right next to me, and it's smelling rather delish.

Also on the menu (last week) was a simple pizza, topped with fresh sliced tomato, rocket and basil (also from the garden) and a few olives preserved with lemon and garlic by a friend using fruit from her parents' trees.


Serves 4


500g 00 flour; pinch salt; 1 tsp dried yeast; 1 tsp sugar; 1/2 cup tepid water; 1 tbsp olive oil, plus extra to oil a bowl; 2 cups grated mozzarella; 4 ripe tomatoes, sliced; 1/2 cup pitted olives; 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves; 1 cup rocket


Place flour and salt into a bowl. Mix yeast, sugar and water together and leave in a warm place for 10 minutes. Mixture should have formed bubbles. Pour into flour and mix until a dough is formed. Knead on a floured surface until smooth, or mix in an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook for eight minutes on slow speed. Oil a large clean bowl and roll dough ball around to cover surface lightly with oil. Cover with a clean tea towel and leave in a warm place to double in size.

Preheat oven with a pizza stone or metal slab to 220C. Punch dough down and divide into four pieces. Roll out thinly and place each on a pizza tray lined with baking paper. Sprinkle with cheese and top with fresh tomato slices, basil and olives. Bake at 200C for 10-15 minutes or until base is golden and puffed. Scatter with rocket and serve.