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I make pizza just about every week at our house because I think my husband loves pizza more than any other food. It is also an economical dish and usually healthy. Between the two of us, we get 3 meals out of one pizza: two dinners and one lunch. I usually try to make our pizzas with seasonal vegetables because they make the most tasty pizzas, in my opinion. Once in awhile, we will splurge and go for the deep-dish Chicago style sausage pizza. Over the past two months, I have made the following pizzas with veggies I had on hand and I am sharing those recipes with you. The sausage pizza was a treat for my husband’s birthday.

Use your favorite pizza dough or use my easy to make no knead dough. The recipe makes enough for three pizzas and the dough stores beautifully in the freezer. I like this recipe more than any other I have tried. The overnight refrigeration adds to the dough’s great flavor and makes a crunchy but tender crust.

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Easy No Knead Pizza Dough

Ingredients for the dough

  • 3 cups warm water (about 100 degrees F)
  • 1 tablespoon instant yeast
  • 1 tablespoon Kosher salt
  • 8 cups 00 Italian Style flour or 7 ½ cups bread flour

Directions for making the pizza dough:

Pour the water into a 5 quart bowl or lidded food container. Add yeast and salt to the water.

Measure the flour with the “scoop and sweep” method. (Dip cup into flour and scoop it up. Level the cup with the back of a knife.)

Add all the flour and mix with a wooden spoon. You only need to mix it until all ingredients are combined. No kneading is necessary. (The dough will be very moist and will actually conform to the shape of the container you put it in.)

Cover, but don’t seal the lid tightly, and let the dough rise at room temperature until it begins to flatten on the top (about 2 hours).

DO NOT PUNCH DOWN THE DOUGH! This method is designed to retain as much gas in the dough as possible. After rising, refrigerate the dough in the container and use the dough over the next 14 days. Once it’s refrigerated the dough will collapse slightly and it will not rise again in the container — that’s normal.

Directions for making pizza:

Pull up and cut off a 1 1/3 pound piece of dough from the container of refrigerated pizza dough. My pizza pans are large, so I usually get 3 pizzas from a batch of dough.

Extra dough may also be frozen. I freeze two portions of dough, individually, in freezer ziplock bags. To use, defrost the dough overnight in the refrigerator.

Hold the dough in your hands and dust your hands with flour to keep the dough from sticking to your fingers.

Form a ball, by stretching the surface of the dough around to the bottom on all four sides and rotating the dough a quarter-turn as you go.

Place the ball in an oiled pizza pan and press and stretch the dough to the edges of the pan.

Cover with a kitchen towel and let rest for 30 minutes.

Place an oven rack on the bottom shelf of the oven and preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.

After the dough has rested, add the toppings as indicated below.

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Roasted Broccoli Rabe and Tomato Pizza

Ingredients

  • 1 large bunch broccoli rabe, trimmed and cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes
  • 2 shallots, sliced
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Directions

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Mix the broccoli rabe, tomatoes and shallots with the olive oil to thoroughly coat. Sprinkle lightly with some salt and pepper.

Spread the vegetables onto 2 large baking sheets.

Roast until the tomatoes have deflated and the broccoli rabe is brown around the edges and cooked through, about 25 minutes.

Divide the mixture in half. Use one half of the roasted vegetables for the pizza and the other half as a side dish for another dinner.

For the Pizza:

Ingredients

  • 1 lb pizza dough at room temperature
  • Half of the roasted vegetables
  • 8 oz mozzarella, sliced
  • 1 cup whole milk ricotta cheese
  • ½ cup pitted black olives, cut in half

Directions

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.

Place the sliced mozzarella on top of the dough. Arrange the roasted vegetables evenly over the cheese. Do the same with the sliced olives.

Drop tablespoons of ricotta cheese over the vegetables.

Place the pizza pan on the bottom rack in the oven and bake for 15-20 minutes. Let rest 5 minutes before cutting.

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Pizza with Artichoke Hearts, Fontina Cheese and Tomato

Ingredients

  • 1 lb pizza dough at room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 package frozen artichoke hearts, defrosted (or use canned if frozen are not available)
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 small onion, sliced
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • ½ teaspoon dried oregano
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 thinly sliced plum tomatoes
  • 8 oz sliced Italian Fontina cheese
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese

Directions

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.

Cook the defrosted artichokes in the olive oil with the garlic, onion and the juice of one lemon until softened and the onions are caramelized. Add the oregano and black pepper.

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Place the sliced Fontina on top of the dough. cover the Fontina layer with the shredded mozzarella cheese and then the Parmesan cheese.

Arrange the artichoke mixture evenly over the cheese. Do the same with the sliced tomatoes.

Place the pizza pan on the bottom rack in the oven and bake for 15-20 minutes. Let rest 5 minutes before cutting.

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Deep-Dish Sausage Onion Pizza

Ingredients

  • 1 lb of pizza dough at room temperature
  • Yellow cornmeal
  • 8 ounces Italian fennel sausage, casing removed
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • One 14 1/2 ounce can diced Italian tomatoes, drained
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh basil
  • 8 ounces thinly sliced mozzarella cheese
  • ¼ cup grated Parmesan or Pecorino-Romano cheese

Directions

Generously grease a 10-inch springform pan with oil. Sprinkle the bottom of the pan with cornmeal.

Place the pizza dough in the prepared pan. Using oiled hands, press and spread the dough evenly over the bottom and 1 1/2 inches up the sides of the pan.

Cover and let rise in a warm place until nearly double in size (30 to 35 minutes).

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

For the filling:

In a medium skillet cook sausage and onions over medium-high heat until brown, using a wooden spoon to break up the meat as it cooks.

Drain in a mesh (or one with small holes) colander. Using paper towels, pat sausage and, then, wipe out the skillet to remove additional fat.

Return the sausage and onions to the skillet and stir in tomatoes and basil. Cook and stir until heated through.

To assemble the pizza:

Arrange the mozzarella cheese slices over the bottom of the dough lined pan.

Spoon the filling over the cheese and sprinkle with the Parmesan cheese.

Bake for 45 to 50 minutes or until the edge of the crust is crisp and golden and the filling is bubbly.

Cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Remove the side of the springform pan and cut the pizza into wedges.

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