Parma ham pizza with lemony rocket and avo

It’s social, perfect for sharing and possibly the most appealing aspect is that you could successfully rope your guests into making their own. Pizza is top of mind this week and we’ve got a recipe here that will tempt even the most apprehensive pizza eaters. This pizza is a minimalist classic, true to Italian style. A crispy base with those puffy edges of comforting, warm air, homemade sauce and just zesty, fresh toppings.

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Ingredients (for 2 pizzas):

For the tomato base
500g rosa tomatoes, cut in half
Drizzle of olive oil
Salt and pepper
1 onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
Big pinch chilli flakes
2 Tbsp sugar
1 Tbsp rosemary needles
Handful basil leaves
1 tin tomatoes

For the pizza toppings
2 balls of pizza dough
4–6 Tbsp homemade tomato sauce (as per recipe above) or store bought
150g taleggio cheese
100g mushrooms
Marjoram or oregano
Rocket, to serve
Zest of 2 lemons
Dash of olive oil
1 packet parma ham
1 avocado, optional but delicious. In fact, any of the above toppings are optional, really. There are no pizza police.

Method for the tomato base:

1. Heat oven to 180°C.
2. Place the tomatoes on a baking tray and drizzle with olive oil, season with salt and pepper. Place in the oven for 45–50 minutes until the edges are slightly charred and the halves are de-hydrated. Remove and allow to cool slightly.
3. Place the onions in a saucepan and cook until softened and translucent. Add the garlic and cook for another minute or two.
4. Add the chilli flakes, tomatoes, sugar and rosemary. Turn the heat to low and add about 100ml water and basil leaves. Simmer slowly for 10–15 minutes for the rosemary to infuse. Stir in the tinned tomatoes for the last 10 minutes.
5. Remove from the heat and cool for a few minutes, then blend your roasted tomatoes and the tomato sauce with a stick blender to form a smooth paste.

The sauce will keep in the fridge for a few days, or freezer for two months. You can obviously also sub in a store bought tomato sauce for days when pizza cravings are high and time, low.

Method for the parma ham pizza:

1. Preheat the oven to 250°C.
2. Roll out your pizza dough into 2 pizza bases.
3. Bake for 5–10 minutes, ideally on a pizza stone. Remove from the oven and spread over the tomato sauce, taleggio cheese, mushrooms and marjoram or oregano.
4. Place back in the oven for 10–12 minutes until the pizza is cooked through.
5. Toss the rocket with the lemon zest and a dash of olive oil.
6. Remove from the oven, top with your parma ham, lemony rocket and avocados.

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Can you smell it? It smells like freshly baked bread mixed with the aromas of summer and a side walk deli. Share you favourite and most uncomplicated pizza toppings with us. We’re sure some great combos will be born once your guests take over.