Pizza is a many splendored thing,
pizza lifts us up where we belong,
All you need is…
…oh, wait. Pizza? I think the lyrics from that “Moulin Rouge” song are actually meant to say “love”. But who needs love, when you have a slice of homemade pizza in your plate?
Nailing the recipe for pizza dough was one of my Foodie Resolutions for 2014, and I’m really proud I achieved it. People tend to assume that, since I’m Italian, I hold the key to making the most delicious pizza in the world; I lost count of the times I cast my eyes down to the ground, and awkwardly replied that my pizza never came close to being edible in the first place. Now that I finally righted this lifelong wrong, I feel I’m on the right path to mastering the basics of Italian cuisine – although I won’t be satisfied until I learn the secret of my mother’s ragù.
By now, you’ll have guessed that homemade pizza is the undisputed showstopper in February’s Recipe Roundup. Let’s not forget about my other experiments, though: most of them are just as worth a try.
1. Mondomulia’s Pizza Dough
You’ll turn up your nose if: You don’t really get the point of homemade pizza. Why wait ages for your dough to rise, when you can head to the restaurant and have a smoking hot pizza coming out of a real wood-fired oven? Fair point; just make sure you head to that land of wonders that is Franco Manca, instead than to Domino’s or Pizza Hut.
My experience: Homemade pizza and I go a long way back. A way made of doughs that never rose, and rock-hard crusts stuck to the bottom of the oven dish. The well cooked, tasty pizza I made last month is proof that a little trial and error goes a long way; after testing and discarding more than one dough recipe, I’m happy to say that Mulia’s version is the one for me.
2. Martha Stewart’s Mustard-glazed Salmon with Lentils
You’ll like this if: You want to move away from the classic cooked vegetable side dishes you’re used to. This quick lentil side, spiced up with a little cumin, is an excellent complement to the taste of the mustard-glazed salmon.
You’ll turn up your nose if: Your idea of a fish dinner involves a trip at the local chippy. However tasty, this meal is probably far too healthy, and not quite filling enough for your liking.
My experience: Out of the many I tried, this is my favourite salmon recipe so far. Besides, I’m really happy to be cooking fish at home more often. Can you believe that I haven’t had fish and chips in more than a year? Well, neither can I, but I swear it’s the truth!
3. delicious. Magazine’s Spiced Prawn and Pea Pilaf
You’ll turn up your nose if: You’re a lover of strong flavours and bold combinations of spices. This is a quite delicate dish, so you’ll need to double or treble the amount of spices to adapt it to your taste.
My experience: Although I was really excited about trying this pilaf rice main, I have to confess I didn’t like it as much as I expected. Too little spices fail to compensate for the complete lack of salt, resulting in a bland, almost tasteless dinner. I don’t regret giving it a try, but won’t give it a second chance either.
4. My Side of Life’s White Beans with Spinach and Sausage
You’ll like this if: You’re after a winter warmer; a hearty lunch or dinner you can savour in the comfort of your home, while rain beats on your windows. This is just perfect for those grey days: it will fill you with so much goodness, you’ll instantly forget about the dreary weather outside.
You’ll turn up your nose if: You’re a lover of light meals. Despite its many healthy ingredients, this is a very filling dish; if you’re looking for a quick bite or a vegetarian main, follow Melanie’s suggestion and make it without the sausage.
My experience: This was the first time I tried pairing sausages with spinach, and I’m pleased to report that the experiment is worth trying. If you’re worried about nutritionals, just look on the bright side, and consider that this dish alone contains three of your five-a-day. How does that sound?