Grana Padano Pizza with Courgette, Lemon and Thyme
This recipe has been created by Danilo Cortellini, the Head Chef of the Italian Embasy in London.
Everybody loves pizza! It is so glorified that it is almost unbelievable it was originally a peasant recipe. It is recognised worldwide as the “get together food”, the “weekend vibes food” a true example of what social dining should be all about - sharing! Nowadays you can find pizza in a million ways with any topping you like, but as every good Italian I prefer to stick to simple versions and focus on just a few ingredients.
Versatile, nutritious and with Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) status, Grana Padano invites you to share the love of food this summer with their recipes made for friends and family.
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For more details on the characteristics, nutritional values and consorzio (non-profit organisation for producers and curers to protect and promote Grana Padano PDO cheese worldwide) visit granapadano.it
Serves 4 Preparation time: 3 hrs 10 mins Difficulty: Easy
To make the dough, knead all the ingredients well until smooth. Remember to melt the yeast first in the warmed water and then add the salt and everything else.
Divide the dough into 4 equal parts, shape them into rounds and let them prove in a warm area of your kitchen. Cover with a towel to prevent them drying out. Now prepare the Grana Padano sauce. Melt the butter in a pan and add the flour. Stir well with a wooden spoon and cook until golden. Now pour in the milk and bring it to the boil, constantly mixing with a whisk to avoid lumps from the flour. Once the sauce has thickened remove the pan from the heat and stir in the grated Grana Padano cheese and a touch of black pepper to taste. The flavoursome cheese will work as seasoning too. Let it cool on the side.
Now slice the courgettes thinly and season them with salt and pepper to get rid of the excess of water. Dust your working surface with flour and start working the proven pizza balls with your hand to create large circles. They have to be about ½ cm thick. This part could be tricky, as if overworked, the delicate dough will lose all its accumulated air and become stiff and elastic as it was before the proving. Press with your finger while pulling gently the dough from the centre to the edges and rotate the circle as you go along too. It sounds complicated but is really not, it only takes a few practices rounds to get the hang of it, I promise.
Place the pizzas onto lightly floured baking trays and pre-heat the oven to 230 degrees. Now cook the pizzas for 3 minutes and then take them out of the oven. Very quickly add 2 spoons of Grana Padano sauce to each pizza and put them straight back to the oven and cook at 200 degrees for 5 more minutes, until the cheese sauce is well caramelized. Again, take the pizzas out, scatter over the sliced courgettes and the diced mozzarella, sprinkle with a few thyme leaves, drizzle with oil and cook for 2 more minutes.
Remove from the oven, add a touch of lemon zest and finish off with extra shaves Grana Padano cheese.