A thin focaccia topped with rosemary, garlic and chilli, moistened with olive oil, and finished with crisp sea salt. After the guests have had the wonders of Ruocco’s pizza, they complain that they could never duplicate the oven (except for one architect who went home and built himself one), and therefore need not even try. To counter this I make this simple dish and cook it in a domestic oven. The results speak for themselves.
You will need two baking sheets, a rolling pin, and the base of a loose-bottomed flan ring, the bigger the better.
Preheat the oven to its maximum well in advance, as it must be as hot as you can get it. Put
Put the baking sheets in your very hot oven. Cover your work surface liberally with flour and press one ball of dough on it with the heel of your hand until it forms a 1 cm thick disc. Flour the rolling pin and roll out into a 20 cm oval by only rolling in one direction. Turn this oval through 90 degrees and roll in one direction away from you. You will now have a rough circle. Flour your hands and lift the dough circle and sweep more flour under it, then with your hands press the dough into a very thin and regular circle, trying to leave the edges a little thicker. Flour the flan ring base and, holding at a 20 degree angle, quickly insert it under the dough.
Dribble the pizzetta lightly with some of the flavoured oil, making sure some garlic, rosemary and chilli goes with it. Do not swamp and do not allow the oil to run over the edge of the pizzetta as this will prevent rising. Slide this pizzetta off the flan base on to one of the baking sheets in the oven and cook for 8–10 minutes until brown, slightly risen and bubbly. Immediately you put it in the oven start another one, it will be needed! Serve hot sprinkled with sea salt, and drink a coarse red wine with it. Don’t burn yourself in your greed.
© 1996 Alastair Little. All rights reserved.