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Recipe Box Pizza, James Sturdy

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Recipe: Box Pizza, James Sturdy

James Sturdy is the founder of Box Pizza. With a passion for pizza and five years experience of cooking traditional Italian cuisine in restaurants in and around Leeds. Box Pizza was established by James Sturdy along with Michelin-starred chef Henry Vigar, in 2005. The emphasis is on traditional-style pizza with a different twist. Here he shares the recipe for one of their most popular dishes - a light and refreshing pizza for warm, summery evenings.

Roasted vegetable pizza with pesto

Serves 2

For the dough
360g Italian ‘00’ flour
10g fresh yeast (most supermarket bakeries will give you this for free. If not dried yeast can be used)
8g salt
8g sugar
Warm water (approximately 200g, but more or less may be required)

For the tomato sauce
1 good quality tin of canned tomatoes (use the best available, cheap ones will be watery and will make the dough soggy)

For the toppings
2 balls of baby mozzarella.
1 red pepper cut into strips
6 slices of courgette (about the thickness of a pound coin)
1 red onion cut into quarters
6 slices of aubergine (about the thickness of a pound coin)
100g feta cheese.
Good quality pesto

To make the dough, combine all the dry ingredients in a mixing bowl. If available, a food processor with a dough hook can be used and will give better results.

Slowly add small amounts of warm water and mix well, continuing to add water until the dough is formed. If all the flour has not been incorporated, add more water, conversely if the dough seems too wet and sticky, add more flour.

If using the food processor, mix the dough on low speed for five to six minutes. If mixing by hand, knead the dough for 20 minutes, it should feel firm, stretchy and aerated after kneading. If it seems flaccid, it needs further kneading.

Divide the dough into two equal balls and roll the dough into a ball shape on a work surface with the palm of your hand.

Leave the dough balls in a plastic container covered with cling film for two hours in a warm place, allowing enough space for each ball to double in size. When the dough balls have doubled in size, they are ready to use.

In the meantime, place all the vegetables onto a baking tray, season with olive oil, sea salt, black pepper and a sprig of fresh thyme. Roast for around 20 minutes at 180 degrees until the vegetables are nicely roasted, but not too soft.

To make the pizzas, heat a baking tray or pizza stone in the oven on the highest temperature possible. Roll out the pizza bases with a rolling pin and transfer on to a large well floured dinner plate (flat if possible). Top the bases with the canned tomatoes (if using whole tomatos they can be crushed by hand), followed by the roasted vegetables and feta cheese. Cover with chunks of torn baby mozzarella.

When the baking tray or pizza stone is as hot as possible, remove from the oven and transfer the pizza from the plate to the hot tray or stone - this can be tricky but try and slide the pizza from the plate onto the tray or stone in one quick movement.

Bake at the highest temperature possible until the base is golden brown and the cheese is bubbling 10 minutes should be enough.

Top with pesto and serve.

Posted on Wednesday 29th April 2009

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