Make Italian-style homemade pizza that’s better than frozen and half the price

Frozen pizza from the supermarket has more than doubled in price, but making your own is easier and cheaper than you might think, says Pedro Komai, chef and manager of Bono Pizzeria in Herne Bay.

Making homemade pizza can be done on a budget, with authentic Italian flavor, he says.

Let’s start at the beginning – the base of the pizza. Of all the ingredients, your base may be the cheapest and most versatile. Buying pizza dough can chip away at your budget – a two-pack at Countdown costs $3.50 – but easy and cheaper replacements such as pita bread, tortillas or flatbreads, available in packs of 10 , are recommended.

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The cheapest and easiest route? Make from scratch.

“You can spend a really low budget,” says Komai, “just with four dishes, salt and a bit of yeast, that does the trick. If you want to go crazy with milk and oil and stuff, you can, but ultimately both do the same job.

Komai says that since the pandemic, “all prices have gone up,” but the most notable price jump has also been the most essential – mozzarella.

Before Covid, Komai would buy 1kg of mozzarella for $35+GST – it has since nearly doubled to $65+GST.

Pedro Komi of Bono Pizzeria in Herne Bay said he

Bono Pizzeria/Provided

Pedro Komi of Bono Pizzeria in Herne Bay said he would ‘sell his kidneys’ to put mushrooms on his pizza

“It’s the most expensive item in pizza,” he says.

Komai also claims that due to rising prices, “most people are mixing [the mozarella] with another variety of cheese to reduce the cost. We never do that.

However, for your easy and budget-friendly mid-week recipe, Komai recommends mixing it up a bit.

“You can play around with the cheese, it would drastically reduce the cost of the pizza.”

Yet you can do so without ever compromising the true Italian essence.

“Basically you just need tomato sauce, pasta and mozzarella – it’s real Italian. With two pieces of basil on top, you have the pizza. You go to the stores in Milan or Rome and that’s what you’ll see sitting on the shelf.

We all have our favorite toppings, but for Komai, there’s one ingredient he’ll always break the bank for.

“I will have mushrooms no matter what. I will sell my kidneys to buy mushrooms.

For a classic pepperoni pizza, there’s “no law” for a specific thinly sliced ​​topping, Pedro suggests exploring your supermarket fridge for the most economical: “The supermarket has a different range of salamis than you can choose.”

“You can use prosciutto and salami,” Komai says, but he also recommended exploring both the fridge and the freezer, so you can offer “all kinds of sausages, beef or ground meat.”

For more style?

“Two or three pieces for the filling if you want to be fancy is enough – when it’s ready to come out of the oven, you put them on top.”

For spice, chili packs the most punch, but Komai says dried chili flakes suffice.

At Bono Pizzeria, Komai adjusts orders to taste — replacing brie with an alternative, removing onions to taste — and the same goes for “whatever is most affordable and to your liking.”

“Price matters,” says Komai, but the great thing about pizza is that “you can always play with it.”

Putting 100g of mushrooms, six tortillas, 500g of mozzarella, fresh basil and tomato paste in your Countdown trolley will set you back around $24 – that would equate to making around six pizzas, or $4 per pizza, the cost frozen pizzas used to be.

To make it even cheaper, dust off your rolling pin and try making your own base from scratch – it’s great value and tastes just like Nonna’s.