How To Make Your Own Italian Pizza At Home?

Pizza is one of the greatest discoveries that humanity has made, I thank Napoli and Italy from my heart. I have eaten many different takes on pizza in my life, but once you eat an authentic Italian pizza is very difficult to return to Dominos or Frozen Pizza. The truth is that pizza, along with much Italian cuisine is at its best when its kept simple and made with fresh quality ingredients. I want to share with you a recipe I learned to make great tasting pizza at home in the oven. 

Napoli will always be the true home of pizza, they have perfected the art and not many can even come close, making pizza is really in their blood, the tradition has been caressed through the generations. The pizza there is just on a whole new level, much like the taste of coffee in Napoli. I don’t know how they manage it, but they do. The best pizzerias in the city only serve two types of pizza Marinara and Margarita. They stick to the basics and something incredible emerges from the wood-fired oven. 

In Italy, many houses have a wood-fired pizza oven either built into the kitchen or stand alone in the garden. It provides the perfect opportunity to host a pizza party and prove your pizza making skills. During my time in Sardinia last year, we hosted many pizza parties, and I soon inherited a perfect pizza recipe. However, when I’m in the UK I don’t have access to a wood-fired pizza oven, so I have adapted the recipe for the oven. This is a recipe for 4-5 margarita pizzas. 

Ingredients 

The Pizza Dough

  • Strong White Flour 200 g
  • 00 Flour 400 g
  • Water 300 ml
  • Extra virgin olive oil 1 Tablespoon
  • Salt 12g
  • Dried Yeast 30g

Pizza Sauce And Toppings

  • Italian Passata 400 g
  • Dried oregano 1 Tablespoon
  • Salt 1 Teaspoon
  • Fresh Basil to taste
  • Extra virgin olive oil to taste
  • Mozzarella

The Method

The Pizza Dough

  1. To prepare the pizza Margherita, begin by making the basic dough. Pour the water at room temperature into a pitcher, add the yeast and stir with a teaspoon so that it dissolves and reacts with the water
  2. I have chosen to knead by hand but if you can also you a mixer if you have one. In a fairly large bowl mix the two flours. Then add the salt and gradually stir in the water with the yeast.
  3. Continue working the dough with your hands until you get a smooth result. At this point add also the oil, always little by little. Continuing to knead so the oil becomes absorbed by the dough. Then transfer the mixture onto a surface and work it vigorously for 5-10 minutes until it is elastic and smooth. Make sure that you have Italian music playing to help with this process.
  4. Bring the dough to a sphere shape, and place in a bowl. Cover the bowl with a cloth and place the dough in a warm place. I recommend leaving it to rise for 3 hours, it will raise at different times depending on the temperature, and time of year. The volume of the dough should increase two and a half times. 
  5. When the dough is leavened tip the dough out onto a clean floured surface. Cut the dough into 4 or 5 pieces. 
  6. Carefully work each of the four pieces of dough by bringing it towards you and then moving it away repeatedly until you obtain a smooth and regular ball. 
  7. Place the doughs on the side to rest and rise again, make sure you cover with a cloth. 
  8. Once, the dough is ready I like to keep them in the fridge, as it allows you to roll out the dough with greater ease later on. 

The Pizza Sause

I think pizza sauce tastes best when it is cooked slowly for a long time. Some recipes will prepare the sauce without cooking but I think cooking help infuse the sauce with the herbs and the passata becomes sweeter. If you like garlic then you can add it into the sauce.

The sauce is one part of the pizza that is often overlooked, take your time with it and keep tasting until your happy with it. Don’t forget to add salt.

  1. Add a tablespoon of olive oil to a pan, followed by the passata. Continue to stir occasionally, you want the sauce to thicken through the cooking process. 
  2. Add your herbs, remember dried herbs are four times stronger than fresh herbs but nothing beats fresh herbs. 
  3. Continue to cook for over 30 minutes on low heat.
  4.  Let the sauce cool down, then place into the fridge until you are ready to use. 

Forming The Pizza

The moment has come to bring all of the elements together to create your pizza. You can always experiment with different toppings, just don’t share them when you are walking around in Napoli. If you put too much cheese it could create a soggy pizza base, as an oven cannot cook as well as a wood-fired pizza oven. A wood-fired pizza oven can cook a pizza in a matter of minutes with the temperature reaching 400 degrees, whereas a household oven can only reach about 250 degrees.

  1. Firstly, strain the water from the mozzarella, this is very important as you do not want a soggy pizza. 
  2. Preheat the oven. In my experience every oven is different. In my case, I cook the pizza at 250 degrees, which is the highest setting which has worked best for me. The first time you try the recipe, please pay close attention to make sure the pizza doesn’t burn. 
  3. Take the dough from the fridge, and roll out the first pizza base. Place the dough on the bed of flour, and slowly roll it out keeping a circular shape. (this is an authentic rustic pizza, so don’t worry if it’s not a perfect circle) I try and roll my pizza to 4mm. Keep turning the dough to keep the shape. 
  4. Add the pizza sauce consistently around the dough, not too much and not too little. I recommend 3-4 tablespoons per pizza. 
  5. Add the mozzarella, onto the top of the pizza (you can add the cheese halfway through the cooking time if you don’t want it to cook to golden. 
  6. Place on a tray, and place near the top of the oven. 
  7. Cooking time is from 12-17 minutes, it depends on many factors, such as the thickness of the pizza, the toppings, and the oven. Please watch carefully, at least for the first pizza. The best results happen when you cook each pizza one at a time. When the pizza is in the oven you can prep the other one ready to go in. 
  8. Allow the pizza to cool before serving. Don’t forget to a couple of leaves of basil on top, and a drizzling of olive oil. 

Enjoy your pizza. Buon Appetito.

Let me know how you get on, I would love recommendations for toppings and also improvements on the recipe.

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Adopting A Sardinian Dog: How To Get A Pet Passport, And How To Travel From Sardinia To The UK With A Dog?

This year I was very lucky to adopt a beautiful Miniature Pincher. I want to write about my experience of bringing a dog from Sardinia/Italy to the United Kingdom. If you have any additional questions about the process please email me and I’ll try my best to help. 

My friend Giovanni named my Dog Penny-Lane after the classic Beatles song, which has now become her anthem. She was found on the side of the street by my friend’s mother, as she was driving through the Sardinian countryside. It was clear that the dog was abandoned, and was starving. We scanned her for a microchip but nothing came up, and it was clear that she had either ran away from her owners or was abandoned by a farm. 

You could see every bone in her body, and we had to be very careful when feeding her, as it would have been dangerous to give her too much food at one time. For the first couple of days, we decided to feed her raw eggs because of the high nutritional content and the ease to which she would be able to digest. We then began to feed her small amounts of dry dog food that she would eat without taking a breath. This was a trait that I thought would stay with her for years, after experience starvation and food scarcity. Today, she is happy to eat from her food bowl gradually throughout the day, even with other dogs around. 

I spent one week deciding whether or not I could take on the responsibility of adopting this beautiful dog, which would involve travelling to the UK together without a car which is very problematic. By the end of the week, I committed my self to care for Penny-Lane and taking full responsibility for her. Soon after my decision, Covid19 was beginning to show up in Lombardy and shake the whole of Italy. 

I spent lots of time trying to get her to respond to her name and stay with me when I’m in the garden. In the small village where I was staying its normal for dogs to leave their owners for the day and wander around the town together for hours at a time socialising with other dogs and coming back for food, attention and the nights. I gave her a little too much freedom in the beginning and have been raining it in since, to make it more feasible for her to stay with me, if and when I move to another place where the consequences are much higher if she decides to run away. 

How to obtain an EU Passport for your dog?

To travel through Europe you will need an EU Passport for your dog. I would give yourself at least 2 months in order to conduct all of the procedures and appointments. 

Firstly, you need to make an appointment at your nearest veterinary (Ambulatorio veterinario) Your vets will give you dog a general health check, ensure that there is not already a microchip that would indicate an owner, and also prescribe medicine for worms and other common parasites found in abandoned dogs. 

The vet will microchip your dog, which is placed under the skin of your dog, usually on the back of the neck. It is a 16 digit number that acts as an identifier for your dog if it goes missing. It is essential to have your dog microchipped to start the process of getting a passport. I cost me under 20 Euros for the Microchip but the price will differ depending on where in Italy or in Europe you are. You will also be given a series of stickers displaying the 16 digits and a barcode (keep these stickers in a safe place as they are needed for complete future documents, including inside the passport.)

Vaccination for rabies must be administered before applying for a dog passport. My dog’s vaccination was delayed by two weeks, as the vet recommended that my dog is treated for worms, and parasites before the vaccination. Also, your dog must be over 12 weeks of age before it is able to have the anti-rabies vaccination. 

You will only be able to travel with our dog 21 days after the rabies vaccination, with a valid passport, treatment for Ecchinococcus, and after a final health certificate from your vet days before travelling (certificato di buona salute)

We returned two weeks following my first visit to vets, to administer Penny’s rabies vaccination, I think it costs around 20 Euros. 

The vet also recommended that I buy medicine from the pharmacy that would control ticks and other parasites, it cost 30 Euros for 4 tablets, one to be taken each month. 

Health Book (Libretto Sanitario Del Cane) And The Issuing Of The Passport

Your vet will give you a book that records all of your pet’s treatments and information that is need to get a passport. You will need to ask your vet where you need to go to apply for a passport. In my case, I would need to go to ASSL in Sassari. Unfortunately, this organisation is very underfunded and under-resourced and I had to be very persistent in order to meet with someone who could administer the passport. I had to go with an IBAN number to the bank to pay 13.70 Euros for the passport before it would be issued. 

Echinococcus Treatment And The 5 Day Window

To enter the UK your dog will need an Echnococcus treatment, this medicine is very cheap, I think it was 0.50 Euros. But you will need to go to the vets in order for them to sign off the treatment inside your passport. You also 5 days to reach the UK from the moment of the treatment. During this visit to the vet, you will also need a certificate of good health, which is needed for travel. 

My Journey Traveling From Sardinia To The UK With A Dog

My journey from Sardinia to the UK, was very complicated due to the Covid19 situation, I was travelling at the end of June 2020. I had initially planned to fly with British airways from Sardinia to the UK, believing that I could put Penny-Lane in the hold. I was later informed that this service is only possible from two airports on the mainland. But both were not running due to Covid 19. 

I must have changed my travel plan at least 4 times before figuring out what seemed like the best option to get to the UK, without spending thousands, and to avoid hot spot covid19 area where restrictions may be in place. I took the ferry through the night from Porto Torres to Genova, then I took the train from Genova to Nice (which was a very scenic journey along with the coast, and I even changed trains at the last Italian town before entering France, and had 30 minutes to wander around with Penny-Lane. 

I was very happy to visit Nice for the first time, lucky I have a friend who I met in Sardinia, who couldn’t wait to see Penny-Lane again. I would have loved to stay longer in this beautiful city but I could only stay one night because I had to arrive in the UK within 5 hours. 

From Nice Airport I flew to Amsterdam with Transavia, it was the only airline I could find running at the time that would allow dogs to travel in the cabin. Furthermore, travelling to the UK with a pet without a car is very difficult, dogs are not allowed on the Eurostar, and the only port that allows foot passengers with dogs is Hoek Van Holland near Rotterdam. It was the only option, it would have been much easier to get to Calais from Sardinia, but I had to reach Rotterdam. 

Penny-Lane was very calm throughout the flight, I had purchased a carry for her that would go under the seat in front of me. It was lovely to travel with her to so many different places and introduce so many new experiences. She really enjoyed all of the train rides where she would often be sitting on my lap watching outside the window. We also met so many lovely people in France, Italy, and the Netherlands, so many friendly dogs who quickly bonded with Penny. 

I spent the night in Amsterdam in a very cheap hotel/hostel, I think it was about 25 Euros, the next day we slowly made our way to the ferry port, visiting much of Amsterdam and Rotterdam on the way. From Rotterdam to Hoek Van Holland I took the metro with took just under an hour. 

The ferry from Hoek Van Holland to the UK, was the hardest part of the journey because Penny-Lane was separated and had to stay in a kennel. There is a TV in the cabins, showing a CCTV of the dogs in the kennel. Penny-Lane would not stop barking and I couldn’t bear watching her suffer, so I decided upon a rescue mission, to run down to the kennels and bring her up to my cabin where I know she would sleep well. 

In the morning we arrived, I just had to show my UK Passport and we were on our way, ready to do two weeks quarantine, I didn’t have to show Penny-Lanes EU passport again as I was checked upon entering the ferry in the Netherlands. 

I hope this is helpful to you, it is a bit of a messy blog post recollecting my accounts of the process of obtaining a passport and my journey from Sardinia to the UK with a dog, if you have any questions as you a due to make a similar trip please email me. 

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How To Get To Sardinia From Rome?

Sardinia is an island in the Mediterranean sea, located 354 kilometres or 220 miles from the eternal city of Rome. There are two ways to get from Rome to Sardinia, either by plane or by boat.

Flying is by far the quickest way to reach the island, alternatively, you can take a ferry from Porto Civitavecchia which is 88 kilometres (55 miles) outside of Rome. Driving to the port from the centre of Rome will take an hour and 20 minutes.

The train from central rome to Civitavecchia, also takes approximatly one hour and 20 minutes. The train station in Civitavecchia is located one mile from the port, but there is a free shuttle bus that takes you directly to your terminal.

how to get to sardinia from rome, plane window, a guide to sardinia, how to get to sardinia

Traveling From Rome To Sardinia By Plane

There are two airports in Rome, Fiumicino, and Ciampino. Fiumicino is the largest airport of Rome, and Ciampino serves smaller budget airlines such as EasyJet, RyanAir and Wizz Air.

During the summer months there are many more flights, as Italians make there way over to Sardinia for their holidays, but keep in mind that the cost of a plane also rises. I recommend that you buy your tickets in advance. I have seen budget flights to Sardinia begin at 20 euros.

Sardinia is only a one-hour flight West from Rome. The Meditteranean island has three main airports, Cagliari Elmas AirportOlbia Airport, and Alghero Fertilia Airport, all of which can be reached with a direct flight from the two airports of Rome. Fiumicino (FCO) Lenardo da Vinci Airport, and Ciampino (CIA).

You can find some really great deals on flights from Rome to Sardinia, especially during the off-season which is from September until May. If you would like to travel from Rome with a car, you can take a Ferry from the port of Civitavecchia which serves Rome.

There are daily flights connecting Rome with Sardinia. There are more than 10 daily flights which links up Rome with the three airports of Sardinia. The majority of the flights are served by AirItalia, only with a few budget airlines making the trip each week.

Flying To Alghero From Rome

Alghero Airport is located 8km north-west of Alghero and is named after the village of Fertilia nearby. It is a small airport that is a gateway to the north-west regions of Sardinia. From Alghero airport, you can easily reach beautiful destinations such as Castelsardo, Sassari, Stintino, Bosa, S’Archittu, and Porto Torres.

Alghero is the smallest airport in Sardinia. There are two flights every day, seven days a week, from Fiumicino (FCO) Leonardo da Vinci Airport. One is a morning flight, and the other is an evening flight, both of which are provided by Alitalia.

Flying To Cagliari From Rome

Cagliari Elmas Airport is the leading international gateway to Sardinia. The airport handles 3 million passengers a year. It serves the south of Sardinia and tourist destinations such as Carloforte, Iglèsias, The Costa Verde, Carbonia and Pula.

The eternal city of Rome heavily connected with Cagliari with around 7 flights every day. Most of the flights are from Fiumicino (FCO) Leonardo da Vinci Airport, but you can also fly with budget airlines from Ciampino.

Cagliari is by far the largest city in Sardinia, and has close economic ties with Rome. Italians also make the trip from Rome to Cagliari when they are chasing the sunshine, in total Cagliari gets a whole week more of sun than Rome.

Flying To Olbia From Rome

The Olbia Costa Smeralda Airport is a prominent entry point to explore the north of Sardinia, the Costa Smeralda and tourist destinations such as Budoni, Golfo Aranci, La Maddalena, Palau, and Santa Teresa di Gallura.

As Olbia sits on the East coast, its the nearest Airport to Rome, bringing the total flight time to 55 minutes. Along with Alghero, there are only around two flights each day, a morning flight, and an evening flight. Although more flight routes may be added during the summer months.

The Airports Of Sardinia – Read The Article

Traveling From Rome To Sardinia By Ferry

The port of Civitavecchia is connected to several ports of Sardinia. Olbia in the north-east is the shortest route and is located just below the Costa Smeralda. Porto Torres is in the north-west of Sardinia, a short distance from Sassari. Arbatax is situated on the east coast of Sardinia and gives you reasonable access to the mountainous central regions of Sardinia. Most of the journies will depart in the evening to arrive in the morning in Sardinia.

These are the current routes from Civitavecchia (Rome) to Sardinia, as covered by Grimaldi and Tirrenia.

Grimaldi

Civitavecchia to Olbia – 6 hours and 30 minutes, 7 weekly sailings

Civitavecchia to Porto Torres –  7 hours and 15 minutes, 4 weekly sailings

Tirrenia

Civitavecchia to Arbatax – 10 hours, 2 sailings weekly

Civitavecchia to Cagliari – 13 hours, 7 sailings weekly 

Civitavecchia to Olbia –  5 hours 30 minutes, 3 sailings daily

Getting To Civitavecchia Port From Rome

To arrive at the port from the center of Rome takes around 90 minutes by car. To reach the Civitavecchia from Rome Fiumicino Airport takes 50 minutes and its a 1 hour and a half drive from Rome Ciampino Airport.

Civitavecchia is 72 km drive from the center of Rome, be aware that there is a toll. Take A12/E80 to SS1 Via Aurelia in Santa Marinella. Take exit Civitavecchia Sud from A12/E80.

From Rome To Civitavecchia By Train

There are 38 trains a day from Rome Termini (Romes largest train station) to Civitavecchia, and the journey takes approximately 1 hour and 5 minutes, although this may vary. Train tickets can cost as little as 4.60 Euros depending on the time of day you travel and if your tickets have been booked in advance.

You can buy tickets from the station or by in advance from thetrainline.com, omio.com or directly from trenitalia.com.

From Civitavecchia Train Station To The ports

Once you arrive at the train station, you can take a local ‘Argo’ bus towards the port or alternatively walk. The bus costs 2 euros and can be purchased at the new stand or from the bar inside the station. This journey runs every 20 minutes, they depart from the area directly in front of the station. The bus will drop you off at the Rome Cruise Terminal and its from here that there is a free shuttle bus to the terminal your ferry will depart from. It is possible to work from the station to the terminals if you start walking right when you leave the train station, walking along the seafront, within 700 meters you will find the pedestrian entrance, here on the right you will find a bus stop to take a free shuttle to your terminal.

To take the Ferry from Civitavecchia to Sardinia starts at €25-40 without a car. It takes 14 hours to reach Sardinia. The basic rate doesn’t include a cabin. When I have taken the ferry, I can usually find a quiet place to sleep in a cafe on the ship or in a lounge room. But this doesn’t guarantee a good night’s sleep, sometimes the crew will close Lounge rooms in the early hours of the morning to prepare for the next day. This can leave you wondering the ferry with other zombie looking passengers in a similar position looking for somewhere to catch a few hours sleep before the ferry docks. Sleep is essential, and if you’re arriving in Sardinia for a holiday, it’s good to begin day one after a good night’s sleep.

Where Is Sardinia? – Read The Article
Who Is On The Sardinian Flag? – Read The Article
Why Visit Sardinia? – Read The Article
Is Sardinia Expensive? – Read The Article
A Guide To Renting A Car – Read The Article
What Is An Agriturismo? – Read The Article

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Visiting Sardinia in August

If you love hot Mediterranean summers, you will love visiting Sardinia in August. August may be the warmest month of the year. But luckily there is a gentle sea breeze on the island. What makes it despite the heat very pleasant to do activities around Sardinia.

There is nothing more relaxing than enjoying your days on one of the many stunning long stretched beaches of Sardinia. Because August is still the high season, some beaches clubs host very fun and vibrant beach parties. Where you can dance the night away with Sardinians and people from all over the globe! If this is not your cup of tea, don’t worry as most beaches are quiet and peaceful.

A aerial view of a sardinia beach

If you are looking for some sporty activities I would recommend watersports. Sardinia has the bluest water of Europe! Because of the wind, sailing and windsurfing are perfect activities. Porto Pollo is the most famous place for this. But there are good spots and water schools all around the island.

Besides all the beach fun, Sardinia had so much more to offer. The inland is just as stunning. For me, there is not a better way to explore the inland by car. Especially in August when you want to avoid the crowds sometimes! The island is quite big so there are many hidden gems! There are thousands of stunning bays and rock formations that you will see from the road. Probably you will see some sheep along the road as well!

When you are on your road trip you can stop to explore some castles along the way. There are 82 castles in Sardinia and the castles are very cool inside and most tourists are all on the coast, so sometimes you even have the castle for you alone! (Yes, also in August.) I can also highly recommend visiting the Neptunes Grotto. It’s a spectacular cave in the North-West of Sardinia. The cave is about 9 meters deep, so in the hot summer days, it’s very pleasant to spend some time there. The temperature is just perfect.

Especially in August, you won’t be bored as there are a lot of cultural events happening. Think about markets, fairs, classical concerts, dance performances. August 15th is Ferragosto. It’s an Italian summer festival. All Italians have Holliday then and they all enjoy a day out. Sardinians but also people from the Italian mainland. On this day many parties and festivals are happening. If you want to book an activity for this day, make sure you make a reservation on time, as all things will be fully booked this day.

The last Sunday of August is maybe the most important party of the year for many Sardinians! They celebrate Sarga del Redentore, the place for the celebration is in Monte Ortobene. They celebrate the statue of Crist who is located on the top of the mountain. If you are around Nuoro and love historic Italian culture, make sure not to miss it!

So if you plan to visit Sardinia in August I’m sure you will enjoy it and not a day will be boring!

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