Pizza al Prosciutto

Pizza al Prosciutto (peet-zah al proh-shoo-toh) is one of the most delicious and simplest of pizza recipes. If you cannot obtain prosciutto, substitute any cooked ham, although the flavour will not be so authentically Italian.

½ oz. fresh yeast

½ teaspoon sugar

4 fl. oz. plus

1 tablespoon lukewarm water

8 oz. flour

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon olive oil

14 oz. canned peeled tomatoes, drained and coarsely chopped

½ teaspoon dried basil

½ teaspoon dried oregano

½ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon black pepper

6 oz. Mozzarella cheese, thinly sliced

4 oz. prosciutto, cut into strips

6 black olives, halved and stoned

1 teaspoon olive oil

Crumble the yeast into a small mixing bowl. Add the sugar and the

1 tablespoon of water and cream the water and yeast together. Set the bowl aside in a warm, draught-free place for

15 to

20 minutes, or until the yeast mixture is puffed up and frothy.

Sift the flour and salt into a warmed, large mixing bowl. Make a well in the centre and pour in the yeast mixture and the remaining water.

Using your fingers or a spatula, gradu-ally draw the flour into the liquids. Continue mixing until all the flour is incorporated and the dough comes away from the sides of the bowl.

Turn the dough out on to a lightly floured board or marble slab and knead it for about 10 minutes, reflouring the surface if the dough becomes sticky. The dough should be elastic and smooth.

Rinse, thoroughly dry and lightly grease the mixing bowl. Shape the dough into a ball and return it to the bowl. Dust the top of the dough with a little flour and cover the bowl with a clean, damp cloth. Set the bowl aside in a warm, draught- free place for 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until the dough has risen and has almost doubled in bulk.

Preheat the oven to very hot 450 °F (Gas Mark 8,230°C). With the 1 teaspoon of olive oil, lightly grease a large baking sheet and set aside.

Turn the risen dough out of the bowl on to a floured surface and knead it for 3 minutes. Cut the dough in half. With a lightly floured rolling pin, roll out each dough half to a circle about .J -inch thick. Carefully arrange the dough circles, well apart, on the prepared baking sheet.

Arrange the chopped tomatoes over the dough circles to cover them completely. Sprinkle over the basil, oregano, salt and pepper. Place the Mozzarella slices on top and arrange the prosciutto and olives over the cheese.

Moisten each filling with the remaining teaspoon of olive oil.

Place the pizzas in the centre of the oven and bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until the dough is cooked and the cheese has melted.

Remove the pizzas from the oven and transfer them to a warmed serving dish. Serve immediately.

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