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Quattro Formaggi (Four Cheese) Pizza

This is the classic version of one of the most wonderful combinations of bread and cheese imaginable. You can, of course, vary the cheeses, but the ones I've chosen here are a truly magical combination. 


Vegetarians might like to know that a vegetarian parmesan-style cheese is available from www.bookhamcheese.co.uk

 
 
 Quattro Formaggi (Four Cheese) Pizza

  Sufficient for a 10 inch (25.5 cm) base pizza – serves 2

Ingredients
For the pizza base:
 6 oz (175 g) plain white soft flour
 1 level teaspoon salt
 1 level teaspoon easy-blend dried yeast
 ½ level teaspoon golden caster sugar
 1 tablespoon olive oil
 2-3 level tablespoons polenta (cornmeal) to roll out, plus a little extra
For the topping:
 2½ oz (60 g) ricotta
 2 oz (50 g) Mozzarella, cut into 1 inch (2.5 cm) slices
 2 oz (50 g) Gorgonzola Piccante, cut into 1 inch (2.5 cm) slices
 1 oz (25 g) Parmesan (Parmigiano Reggiano), grated (see recipe introduction)
 Pre-heat the oven to its lowest setting.
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Equipment
You will also need a pizza stone or solid baking sheet measuring 14 x 11 inches (35 x 28 cm).

This recipe is taken from How to Cook Book One and Delia's Vegetarian Collection.

Method

Begin by warming the flour slightly in the oven for about 10 minutes, then turn the oven off. Sift the flour, salt, yeast and sugar into a bowl and make a well in the centre of the mixture, then add the olive oil and pour in 4 fl oz (120 ml) hand-hot water. Now mix to a dough, starting off with a wooden spoon and using your hands in the final stages of mixing. Wipe the bowl clean with the dough, adding a spot more water if there are any dry bits left, and transfer it to a flat work surface (there shouldn't be any need to flour this). 


Knead the dough for 3 minutes or until it develops a sheen and blisters under the surface (it should also be springy and elastic). You can now either leave the dough on the surface covered by the upturned bowl or transfer the dough to a clean bowl and cover it with clingfilm that has been lightly oiled on the side that is facing the dough. Leave it until it looks as though it has doubled in bulk, which will be about an hour at room temperature. 

Having made the dough and left it to rise, pre-heat the oven to gas mark 8, 450°F (230°C), along with the pizza stone or baking sheet. 

The next stage is to tip the dough back on to a work surface that has been sprinkled generously with polenta to prevent it from sticking. Knock all the air out of the dough and knead it for a couple of seconds to begin shaping it into a ball. Then dust your rolling pin with polenta and roll the dough out to a circle that is approximately 10 inches (25.5 cm) in diameter. 

Then finish stretching it out with your hands, working from the centre and using the flat of your fingers to push the dough out; it doesn't need to be a perfect round, but you want it to be a fairly thin-based pizza, with slightly raised edges. Then, using a thick oven glove, very carefully lift the baking sheet or pizza stone out of the oven and sprinkle it with a little polenta (cornmeal). Now carefully lift the pizza dough on to the stone or baking sheet and quickly arrange teaspoonfuls of ricotta here and there all over. 

After that, scatter the Mozzarella and Gorgonzola pieces in between and, finally, scatter the Parmesan over. Bake the whole thing on a high shelf for 10-12 minutes, until the crust is golden brown and the cheese is bubbling. 

You can lift the edge up slightly to check that the underneath is crisp and brown. Carefully remove the baking sheet or pizza stone from the oven, again using a thick oven glove, and serve the pizza on hot plates straight away.

 

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