Pizza all' alice e fiori de zucca

Pizza all' alice e fiori de zucca

Although the first pumpkins are already in the shops, some of those in the garden are still in bloom, and it would be a real shame only to harvest the pumpkins and let the blooms go to waste. You can harvest the blooms once you think they've been pollinated, or when, after a few days, the outer edges of the blooms get wrinkly.

We're preparing this pizza alla Romana, meaning with a thin, slightly crispy base (unlike the Neapolitan thicker or the American very thick dough).

For a one-person pizza, you need:

  • ½ cup (100ml) tepid water
  • 12g fresh yeast
  • 150-200g flour
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 fresh tomatoes
  • 2 pumpkin blooms or courgette blooms
  • 4-5 anchovies
  • 125g mozzarella cheese

Dissolve the yeast in the tepid water, then add the olive oil. In a bowl, mix the salt and flour, then pour in the water, mix well until you have a dough. Remove from the bowl and knead well, adding more flour if necessary, until you have a smooth dough that does not stick to the fingers. The longer you knead, the better.

Put the dough back into the bowl, cover and let stand in a warm corner of the room for at least 15 minutes.

In the meantime briefly boil, then skin the tomatoes. Whizz them in a blender, then pour into a pot, add a bit of salt and olive oil and let simmer for some 10 minutes, the longer, the better.

Careflully pluck the pumpkin blooms apart, removing the hard bits, so that only the soft petals remain. Then carefully tear each bloom into 4-6 longish vertical stripes, depending on the size.

Cut the mozzarella cheese into smallish stripes or cubes. Pre-heat the oven to 250°C.

Remove the dough from the bowl and roll it out with a rolling pin until it is fairly thin. It should have something like a 12" diameter or slightly more. You can also pull the dough with your hands, but be careful that it doesn't tear.

Put the dough on a slightly-oiled baking tray. With a spoon, put a thin layer of the tomato sauce on top of it (if you didn't let it simmer very long, you may have too much tomato sauce - don't use all of it, or the pizza will not become crispy, but watery and yukky!). Next comes the mozzarella cheese, then the pumpkin petals and the anchovies. As the pumpkin blooms have a very subtle, delicate flavour, don't use too many anchovies, nor a different kind of cheese, or it will spoil the flavour.

Put in the oven and bake for about 5-10 minutes, until the cheese has melted, but not browned. Serve with a glass of red or white wine.