Every non-EU person entering Italy for work or study has to submit his papers to the permit of stay within 8 working days after crossing the border. An applicant should request a special kit in the post office, fill in the forms and send the documents via mail. Easy, isn’t it?
So me and Antonio headed to the nearest post office to get the kit. However, we learned that the kit shall be requested in sportello amico, a service available only in selected post offices. We were advised to go to the main post office, which we did to discover that the sportello amico is in a separate building. In the separate building the kits were over, but there was another office in a close proximity. However close it may have been, we spent a good amount of time looking for it in a labyrinth of streets (unintended sightseeing of Milan’s centre). We found it around 2.10PM, but unfortunately this day it was open till 2PM. We came back to the central office to check if there were some other options. A lady advised to go to Montevideo (luckily she was referring to a street, not to a city in South America). So we took a tram to Montevideo, found the post office and spent an hour queueing and thirty seconds receiving the kit. It total, the kit hunt took more than 4 hours! (An intro into Italian bureaucracy in a grace).
The same day we decided to treat ourselves to a pizza. Antonio promised me a great place with really big portions. We came there only to discover it was closed (deja vu?). We went to another pizzeria, with smaller portions. I ordered a simple pizza with vegetables. When I saw my order coming, I changed in face. The waiter got scared and asked Antonio what was wrong… the size. This pizza was not just big, it was enormous. This evening I was able to eat only a quarter of my pizza (Antonio told I was crazy and ate the remaining part). It took me four months of training to be able to finish pizza in one go, and I got my Italian permit of stay shortly after it (not sure if these two events are interconnected).
I have had so many pizzas since that evening, but this enormous pizza with grilled vegetables is the one I will always remember.
Recently, as one London pizza delivery let me down, I started wondering if there is any alternative. It seemed impossible to prepare a proper crunchy pizza at home, and I would not believe until I tried. With this quick pizza dough the pizza is ready in 30 minutes, which is actually faster than a delivery, plus it is extremely simple to make and can be customised up to your taste.
Quick and Easy Pizza Dough
- 3 glasses flour
- 1 tsp dry yeast
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 glass water warm
- 7 tbsp olive oil
- 1 cup tomato sauce
- 1 zucchini
- 3 artichokes
- 150 grams mozzarella
- 20 min
- 10 min
- Ready in:
- 30 min
- In a bowl combine flour, dry yeast, and salt
- Pour in warm water, mix it with a spoon
- Add olive oil, and start kneading the dough. To work out pizza dough properly you will need 5-7 minutes. Form a ball out of the dough and leave it to rest
- Heat the oven to the maximum temperature, that for majority of ovens will be 250C
- Prepare the topping: slice and grill zucchini, halve artichokes (I use jarred in oil), and slice mozzarella. You don't have to use the same cheese and vegetables as I do, we all love pizza because it is so easily customizable
- Take the dough, knead it briefly, just to remove any extra air. Flatten it either with a rolling pin, our with your hands, stretching the dough. According to the Association of true NApoletanean pizza, pizzaiolo (a man, who makes pizza) should use nothing, but his hands. I would advise going for a rolling pin, as the pizza basis will be more even
- Grease the basis with olive oil (this will prevent it from soaking) and spread over the tomato sauce. Add mozzarella and vegetables
- Bake for about 7 minutes. It is easy to understand, when pizza is ready: the basis should become lightly brown, cheese melt but not begin to dry out.
It is always better to use home-made tomato sauce, moreover, it is so easy! Here you can find a recipe for a Basic tomato sauce
The dough has a very short time to raise, so the quality of yeast is one of the key factors to success. If your pizza did not turn out as it should be, most probably yeast is to blame. If you have any doubt about the quality of your yeast, mix yeast with a teaspoon of sugar and some warm water. In 15-20 minutes, the mixture should get a white foamy top – if this hasn’t happen, yeast is not active any more and should be thrown away