It’s amazing what you can put on a pizza. You can serve many of your favorite garden vegetables on a pizza, everything from tomatoes, potatoes, corn and beans. Some may seem a little strange but, if you like the vegetable, chances are—you’ll like it on a pizza. When peppers, squash and cherry tomatoes are at their peak, there’s nothing like enjoying them on a pizza.
It doesn’t always have to be a red sauce, either. White pizzas can be made with a white cheese sauce or simply a coating of olive oil. You want to add just enough, so that your pizza is not dry, but not too much, if you want a crispy crust.
Except for tomatoes, partially cook your vegetables before putting them on a pizza. A thin light crust, one that is intended to be crispy, will not stay crispy, if the vegetables are expected to cook on the pizza.Top your vegetables with just enough cheese to hold things together.
The crust . . .
You can’t make a thin crust with bread flour. It’s too stiff and springs back too much. You need a soft, pliable dough with not too much gluten. You can do it with all-purpose flour. Better yet, add a 1/2 cup of rye flour to your pizza dough recipe made from all-purpose flour. Whole wheat flour is another good low gluten option.
Pre-baking the crust for 5 -6 minutes will also help the dough stay crusty.
Don’t want to heat up the kitchen, try grilled pizzas. Here are some tips:
Grilled pizzas are versatile and easy to accommodate everyone’s likes and needs. The cheese melts evenly and quickly and the crust gets crispy. What’s more, you get that smoky taste from the grill.
Because the pie gets topped right on the grill after the crust has been turned over, the ingredients must be prepped in advance. Take the ingredients out to the grill in small bowls on a cutting board or tray. Preparing different toppings in advance means you can make a variety of pies. Or make personal pies: one to suit each person.
Before you get to the grill, shape the dough into the right size. Simply put the dough on a lightly floured surface and dust the top with a little more flour. Dimple it with your fingertips to shape it into a thick, flattened disk. After that, it’s just a quick job with a rolling pin or your fingers to shape it into a rustic circle or oblong.
Sprinkle cornmeal on the pizza peel or baking sheet before transferring the dough to it. Give the dough a shake to make sure it will come free when it’s time to slide it onto the grill. Once at the grill, slide the dough onto the grill grates.
Close the lid and let the crust get brown on one side, 3 to 4 minutes. Use a metal spatula to gently lift the dough and check for brown grill marks on the underside. Use a pizza peel or large metal spatula to turn the dough over.
Working quickly, top the dough with the prepared ingredients, leaving a 1-inch border. Close the lid and cook until the toppings are heated through, the cheese is melted and the crust is brown. Remove the pizza from the grill and cut it into serving pieces.
Sausage & Pepper Grilled Pizza
Prepare the Dough:
Whole Wheat Pizza Dough for the Grill
- 1.5 cups of whole wheat flour
- 3/4 cup of warm water
- 1.5 teaspoons of rapid rise yeast
- 1/2 teaspoon of Italian seasoning
Combine all the ingredients together in a food processor or electric mixer until dough forms a ball.
Place dough in a greased bowl covered with plastic wrap and let sit for 20 minutes.
Prepare grill for medium-high heat. Oil the grates.
Prepare the Toppings:
Cook 6 oz hot Italian turkey sausage (casings removed) in a small frying pan over medium-high heat, breaking up clumps with a slotted spoon, until no longer pink, about 4 minutes. Drain on paper towels.
Roast 1 pint mini sweet peppers on grill until charred and softened, about 4 minutes. Remove to a cutting board. Halve peppers lengthwise and remove seeds.
Divide the dough in half and stretch each into a large circle and lightly coat 1 side of each with olive oil spray. Put crusts oil side down on the grill and heat until the bottoms are golden brown, about 2 minutes.
Turn crusts over and spread 1 cup marinara sauce evenly over the top of each pizza.
Sprinkle pizzas evenly with 3/4 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella, cooked sausage and roasted peppers.
Grill until bottoms are golden brown and the cheese is melted, about 2-3 minutes longer. Remove to a cutting board.
Sprinkle with fresh arugula, if desired and cut each pizza into 4 slices.
Farmers’ Market Pizza
Note: Zucchini Preparation: salt and microwave for a minute or two before putting on the pizza– less sogginess– and they are cooked when the pizza is done. Use the same preparation with eggplant.
- 1 3/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour and
- 1 1/4 cups semolina flour.
- 1 tablespoon Italian Seasoning
- 1 teaspoon instant yeast
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 1/4 cups lukewarm water
- 1/2 cup marinara sauce
- 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
- 1 cup thinly sliced zucchini
- 1 1/2 cups halved cherry tomatoes
- 1/2 cup fresh corn kernels
- 1 small red onion (3 ounces), thinly sliced
To make the crust:
Mix and knead together in an electric mixer all of the ingredients until a soft, smooth dough forms.
Let the dough rise, covered, for 45 to 60 minutes, then refrigerate it for 4 hours or overnight.
To prepare the pizza:
With lightly greased hands, stretch the dough into a lightly greased rectangular pan about 13″ x 9″ or into a greased round pizza pan. Cover and let the dough rest for 45 to 60 minutes.
Place a baking stone in the middle of your oven. Preheat the oven to 450°F.
Spread the tomato sauce onto the dough and place the pizza pan directly on the stone.
Bake for 6 minutes and remove from the oven.
Distribute the cheese over the sauce, then place the zucchini on 1/4 of the dough, the corn on another 1/4, the tomatoes on 1/4 and the onions on the last quarter.
Return the pizza to the baking stone and bake for 12 to 15 minutes, until the crust is nicely browned.
Yield: 1 large pizza.
Pistachio and Mortadella Pizza
Makes Four 10″ Pizzas
- 1½ cups shelled pistachios
- 1/2 tablespoon grated Parmesan
- 1/2 cup olive oil, plus more to taste
- 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- Kosher salt, to taste
- 1 lb. pizza dough, divided into 4 equal pieces
- Fine semolina, for dusting
- 4 oz. thinly sliced mortadella, cut into quarters
- 1 lb. fresh mozzarella, thinly sliced
- 1 oz. grated pecorino romano cheese
- 16 fresh basil leaves
Place a pizza stone under the broiler; heat for 30 minutes.
Puree pistachios, Parmesan, oil, lemon juice, salt and 1/4 cup water in a food processor until smooth.
Working with one piece of dough at a time, dust 1 ball dough with semolina.
Using your fingertips, press dough into a 10″circle about 1/4″thick, leaving a 1″ crust around the edges. Hold dough straight up, and with fingertips circling crust, slide fingers around crust in a circular motion as you would turn a steering wheel until dough in the center is stretched to about 1/8″thick; transfer to a semolina dusted pizza peel.
Spread 1/2 cup pistachio pesto over dough and distribute one quarter each of the mortadella, cheeses and basil over the top; drizzle with oil. Slide pizza onto stone; broil until cheese melts and crust is puffed and charred in spots, 3-4 minutes.
Repeat with the remainig three pieces of dough and toppings.
Cheese and Tomato Deep Dish Pizza
Pizza dough, tomato sauce and mozzarella are layered in a springform pan for deep-dish pizza.
Although traditional Chicago pizza has all the cheese on the bottom, here it is divided between the top and the bottom.
Use your favorite pizza crust recipe or purchase dough from a local pizzeria.
Chunky Tomato Sauce:
- 1 (28-ounce) can crushed or diced tomatoes (the chunkier the better)
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 2 tablespoons red wine
- 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning or 2 tablespoons fresh, chopped Italian herbs
- 1 1/2 teaspoons dried onion
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon Freshly ground pepper to taste
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 16 ounces pizza dough (at room temperature)
- 4 cups shredded part-skim mozzarella, divided
- 3/4 cup chunky tomato sauce, homemade or store bought
- 2 tablespoons freshly grated Romano cheese
- 1 tablespoon dried oregano
To prepare the sauce:
Combine all the sauce ingredients in a saucepan, bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer about 10 minutes. Let cool. You will not need all this sauce for the pizza.
To prepare the pizza:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Pour oil into a 10-inch round, deep-dish pan or springform pan. Place dough in the center of pan and work dough from the center outward, pressing to cover the bottom of the pan and halfway up the sides of the pan. Prick with a fork. Bake crust in the oven about 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool 10 minutes.
Spread 2 cups mozzarella cheese on crust, top with 3/4 cup of the tomato sauce. Sprinkle remaining 2 cups mozzarella cheese, Romano cheese and oregano on top. Bake 35 to 40 minutes, rotating pizza every 15 minutes. The crust should be golden brown and the cheese should be bubbling when cooked. Remove pizza from the oven and let cool 3 minutes. Remove pizza from pan using a large spatula, cut and serve.
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