30-minute meal: Italian feast (for three!)

How many of you are having a mid-week dinner party tonight? I know I'm not! Ha. In saying that I'm a big fan of hosting mid-week dos, and if you're having one tonight, good for you! It's an excellent way to get a few friends (or family members) together, for a fraction of the price if you were to spend the evening out. Just make sure you remind your guests to bring bits and bobs to help you out - you serve the food, they can be guest sommeliers or cheese and biscuits professionals. Granted, it is a little bit more effort, but, with a plan on hand it really isn't that much effort at all. Take this Italian feast that I cobbled together with some help from Jamie Oliver's 30-minute meals, which is comprised of two very fresh salads, and a delicious handmade pizza. So, Jamie's 30-minute menu actually consisted of a pizza, 3 salads, and a dessert - but I challenge Jamie and everyone else who say you can actually do it in half hour to PLEASE DEMONSTRATE LIVE!!! Hahaha I must be doing something wrong if I can't achieve it in 30 minutes! I blame it on me not having a large pan. Ha. Anyway. Here's the recipe...

1 1/2 mugs self-raising flour + extra for dusting
1/2 tepid water
1/3 of a 400g tin of chopped tomatoes
Fresh basil
1/2 clove garlic, peeled
Red wine vinegar
1/2 of 125g ball of buffalo mozzarella
Parmesan cheese
8 slices salami
1/2 fresh red chilli, sliced

Rocket salad
100g washed wild rocket
1/2 lemon
1/2 fresh red chilli, sliced

Mozzarella salad
1 1/2 of 125g balls buffallo mozzarella
1/4 jar pesto
1 lemon
Salt and pepper

First things first... Get everything ready. Ingredients, equipment, the lot! You'll need a food processor for this, by the way. Next, put the grill on high. Jamie Oliver suggests putting a large ovenproof frying pan on low heat, but I didn't have a large one, so I had to split my pizza into two!!! Afterwards, dust a clean surface with flour, and put the flour in the food processor with the water, a pinch of salt and some olive oil. Blitz until well combined, and then put on the floured surface. Make sure to sprinkle flour on top of the dough as well as your rolling pin. I couldn't believe how wet this dough actually was!!!

Roll the dough out roughly 1cm thick, sprinkle more flour on top and fold it in half and then move it to the pan. Unfold the dough and turn up the pan high. Then, blitz the tinned tomatoes with some basil, the garlic, a bit of red wine vinegar, some olive oil and some salt. Pour this mixture over the middle of the pizza base - if you have a small pan like I did, make sure you only pour half this mixture over the base. Tear up the mozzarella into bite-sized pieces and arrange it all over the base. Grate a layer of parmesan over. Top this with the salami slices - again, I halved it as I ended up having two smaller pizzas. In other words, if making two pizzas, put 4 salami slices on each one. Grate parmesan over again if you fancy it. Scatter the chilli over the pizza. Put the pan under the grill for 4-5mins.

Whilst all this is grilling away, get cracking with the salads. This is easy-peasy. Tear up the mozzarella into medium-sized chunks and arrange on a big plate. Spoon some pesto over the mozzarella. Top with basil leaves. Grate over the lemon zest and drizzle with olive oil. Crack some salt and pepper over it and you're done. Now, for the rocket salad: Place the rocket in a bowl, drizzle olive oil, squeeze the juice of 1/2 a lemon over the salad and season well with salt and pepper. Sprinkle chopped chillies over the salad, and serve.

Et voila!

Dinner is served. Enjoy!

Hungry for more,
The Academicook