Russell writes, “In the restaurant we make pizzette, which are slightly smaller than pizza, about 20cm in diameter rather than 30cm. As well as being prettier, this size is also more convenient – you might get two or three pizzette on to your pizza stone rather than a single large one. We use fresh yeast, which you can find in health food shops, bakeries and even by asking at the bakery departments of some supermarkets. Otherwise use fast-action dried (instant) yeast.”
Recipe source: adapted from a recipe by Russell Norman in the book of his restaurant Polpo
Makes: 12 pizzette
- Large bowl
- Measures – jug, tablespoon, teaspoon
- Clingfilm or plastic wrap
- 500g strong white flour, Italian 00
- 2 teaspoons fine salt
- 2 teaspoons instant yeast
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 300ml tepid water
What to do:
- In a large bowl, mix the flour, salt and dried yeast with the olive oil and the water and form the mixture into a ball.
- Now knead the dough on a floured work surface. To do this, push the dough backwards and forwards simultaneously with your two hands so that you are stretching it and then pushing it back down into a ball. Repeat this, giving the dough a good working over. You shouldn’t break into a sweat but it should feel like a little workout for your hands and forearms, and you should be feeling the dough getting more and more springy.
- After 10 minutes of kneading, push the dough back into a ball, flour the top, place in an oiled bowl and cover with clingfilm. Leave to rise in a warm place.
- After at least 30 minutes, but ideally when doubled in size, your dough is ready.
- If you want to use the dough later, place the balls of dough on a tray, cover with a damp cloth and leave in the fridge for up to 12 hours. Just remember to take them out 30 minutes before you’re ready to use them.
Notes: Why do we have to wait for the dough to rise? What is this process called? Do we have to make allowances for different sorts of weather?
Orecchiette resemble little ears, which is where they get their name, and is the traditional pasta of Puglia. A perfect orecchietta is just under 2cm across and has a slightly domed shaped which enables it to hold pasta sauce well.
Recipe source: adapted from a recipe by Lara Scala Quinn on marthstewart.com
Serves: 4 starter serves or enough tastes for 20
- Large stockpot with lid
- Measures: cup, ½ cup, ¼ cup, tablespoon
- Chopping board and knife
- Baking sheet
- Tea towel
- Large bowl
- Serving bowls
- 1 cup semolina flour, plus more for baking sheet
- 1/2 cup plain flour
- 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
- 1/2 cup water, plus more if needed
What to do:
- Fill the large pot with water and set to boil with the lid on.
- Measure semolina, plain flour and salt into a large bowl.
- Using your fingers, swirl ingredients together until combined then create a well in centre. Pour 1/4 cup water into well and gradually incorporate flour mixture into water using your fingers.
- Once all the water is absorbed, continue adding water, 1 tablespoon at a time, until mixture begins to form a dough.
- Turn out onto a large, clean work surface and start to gather and knead dough, working it until no dry flour remains on work surface.
- Continue to knead until smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes.
- Divide dough into 8 equal portions, and cover them with a clean, damp kitchen towel.
- Roll 1 portion of dough into a 45-cm-long rope.
- Use a knife to cut and drag a 1cm piece of dough from end of rope facing you — a grainy wooden cutting board helps grip the dough.
- Holding knife at a 45-degree angle to work surface, press and roll dough toward you.
- Unfurl each piece of dough over your thumb in the opposite direction to form a concave shape, and transfer to a baking sheet lightly sprinkled with semolina flour. Repeat with remaining dough.
- When the pot of water is boiling add the orecchiette and a tablespoon of salt, stir and replace the lid. Cook for 2 or 3 minutes until the pasta bob to the top.
- Using a slotted spoon, scoop out into a big bowl with a little of the cooking water and then toss in a tablespoon of olive oil before adding your sauce.
- Orecchiette can be stored at room temperature in a single layer overnight: cover with a clean kitchen towel or plastic wrap. Any extra orecchiette can be frozen up to six weeks: First, freeze them in a single layer on a baking sheet, then transfer them to a resealable plastic bag and return them to the freezer. Boil directly from the freezer.
Notes: What does orecchiette mean? Name some other pasta shapes. What do they mean?