Pizza Dell’Orto. Cheap Eats.

One of my New Year’s resolutions included a desire to eat more frugally and to shop less.

My aim is to produce meals that cost close to $1.00 per person on a regular basis. Can this be done with a large pizza for two?  The following costing is based on my free garden produce, which at this time of the year, is dominated by the prolific zucchini crop, followed by cucumbers, tomatoes and basil.

A casual table setting under the trees.
A casual table setting under the trees.

A Pizza dell’ Orto is my favourite vegetable garden pizza in summer, especially on a hot evening, in giardino, outside under the trees.

The following costing is pretty accurate, without pedantically weighing the olives, anchovies and so on. I buy Extra Virgin Australian olive oil,  Cobram 3 litres @ $24.00 a tin), Italian anchovy fillets in oil@ $11.00 for 750 gr and Laucke bakers flour @$11.00 for 5 kilo, pitted black olives @ $16.oo a kilo,and Mozzarella cheese, sliced finely @ $11.00 a kilo.

The dough.  ( recipe found here),

  • 500 grams of strong bakers flour = $1.10.
  • dried active yeast, Olive oil, salt=3o cents.
  • half of the dough is used to make a large 35 cm/15 inch pizza for two . The rest is stashed for tomorrow’s foccaccia.
  • total cost of pizza dough= 70 cents

The Tomato Sauce

  • Can of tomatoes, Italian brand, 60 cents.
  • Home grown garlic and oregano.
  • Half used on pizza. The rest of the sauce is stashed for another use.
  • total cost= 30c

    Mr T grills the zuchini and cooks the sauce.
    Mr T grills the zucchini and cooks the sauce.

The topping.

  • 10 thin slices of Mozzarella, around $1.00
  • anchovies from bulk jar and pitted black olives, a handful, around 50 cents.
  • Garden produce includes zucchini, cherry tomatoes, basil.
  • total cost= $1.50

Total Cost for this Pizza= $2.5o


  • grilling the zucchini and sauce, 10 minutes.
  • weighing and mixing the dough, 10 minutes
  • rising time ( summer),1.5 hours.
  • cooking time, 15 minutes.


The little children and their parents visit often over the lazy summer months. Five large pizzas are enough for a family meal for 8 adults and 5 young children. I usually work on 3- 4 slices per adult and 2-3 slices per child. One of the family favourites is a pissaladiere, the budget South of France model and a pepperoni version for the meat lovers, which is a slightly more costly version.

Feeding my Pizza loving family costs around $15.00 so long as I have the ingredients on hand. The only items purchased from the duopoly chain of Australian  supermarkets, Coles and Woolworths, were the flour and the yeast.


37 thoughts on “Pizza Dell’Orto. Cheap Eats.”

  1. That’s impressive! Costing out ingredients portions, to the gram used to be a regular thing in my working days. This is a timely reminder that costs rise and need to be reevaluated from time to time. You are making me hungry for pizza. My favourite in summer is blanco, with finely sliced and purged zucchini, lemon zest, loads of lemon thyme, feta and garlic oil.


    1. And now you are making me hungry. I must add some lemon zest and thyme- an intersting topping,yum, but then there’s gremolata or fresh rocket, growing like an invasive weed too, bocconcinni and pesto, potato and rosemary…..
      I am doing this little costing thing as I haven’t bothered before, and really wanted to know, especially when the invading hordes arrive.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Such beautiful looking pizza! I’m going to try doing zucchini like that – I just got one of those griller pans and that will be my first use! Your table setting also is so lovely ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s pretty good, most wouldn’t make it for much under $10.00 for four or so Curtis Stone and Coles will have us believe. My $1.00 food really does rely heavily on il giardino!


  3. That is one beautiful pizza! I made one yesterday with a cauliflower crust. It was delicious, but not very attractive by the time I scraped it off the oiled foil (per directions). I can assure you it cost more than $2.50, however. It required one whole cauli, and so that is double your cost before adding anything else. Well done, Francesca.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Bravo in reaching your $1 goal! Now, I’m going to be cheeky (having been presented with the following logic by my husband on numerous occassions): add the cost of growing the veg, the cost in travel to and from the market, the cost of energy used in grilling/baking… It all adds up! However, I do admire how you manage to eat from the garden and buy quality ingredients at reasonable prices. We all need to do this! Also, it helps if you eat less, like the healthy proprtions that you have mentioned. Hmm…haven’t made pizza lately, but it sounds like a good idea.


    1. Very cheeky but true. The cost of running the oven for pizza making is a very real cost and one that I factor in when making sourdough. The cost of purchasing the food, with regard to fuel costs, is the same whether you buy cheap raw ingredients or you buy truffles and lobster. The cost of growing the veg might be measured by my occasional visit to the osteopath.
      I’m staying on my el cheapo path until I see a significant dent in my pantry.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Sorry, couldn’t help myself! I am usually on the receiving end of these sorts of comments from my nearest and dearest. One thing you have inspired me to with your cost-cutting goals is to go through my pantry supplies and start planning meals around what is there already. I have a huge supply of dried legumes and various grains. Looks like we’re in for some interesting meals!

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Amazing. What a great way to feed a crowd. Often, eating-on-the-cheap means using inferior ingredients and serving up a below-average meal but you have revealed the truth that more often, it means eating well xx


  6. Beautiful pizza Francesca! Is it cooked in a normal oven?
    I too enjoy using free ingredients from the garden/friends/foraged to produce super cheap meals, but as you discuss above it only really works if you’re valuing your inputs and labour at almost nothing!
    Though I hasten to add it’s still worth it for the feeling of virtue, if nothing else 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, it is a normal oven but the Ilve comes with a Pizza function, which has a heat setting of 250c but the bottom supposedly cooks faster than the top. Sometimes, however, the top is a bit too cooked.
      Virtuous yes, but setting some sort of example to the young ones too.

      Liked by 1 person

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