Call me the pizzaiola

20 Jan

That’s me! Or at least it was last night.

Delicious vegan pizza on a whole wheat crust. I asked for crust recipes last week and gave one submitted by my fellow former Scrippsie Jessie a whirl. Here’s her recipe, and below are my modifications:

  • I used one cup of unbleached white flour and one cup of whole wheat
  • I used a Fleischmann’s yeast packet, which has slightly more than two teaspoons
  • The seasoning was oregano and thyme only
  • I reduced the olive oil to 1 tablespoon
  • I subbed two pinches of raw sugar for the honey (and mixed it with the dry instead of the wet)

The tweaks sound like a lot more than they really were. We followed the instructions to a T, except that I “rolled” the dough out by hand since I don’t own a rolling pin. It was actually really fun, but obviously it resulted in oddly shaped pizzas. The dough came together super quickly and tasted incredible. Seriously. I can see spicing it up differently and using it like a flatbread with all kinds of toppings: hummus, refried beans, pesto pizza, etc. If you’ve never worked with yeast before, I highly recommend this recipe. It was foolproof, even with the small changes I made. Thanks so much, Jessie!

We decided to whip up a homemade sauce to go with it. This is more of a method than a recipe, since most of the measuring was to taste, but I’ll share anyway.

Roasted Tomato Sauce

  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes
  • Two drizzles of olive oil
  • 1/2 medium onion, chopped
  • 2-6 cloves of garlic, sliced thinly (depending on your preferences)
  • Dash (maybe 1/4 cup) dry red wine, optional
  • Pinch of salt
  • Dried oregano
  • Crushed red pepper

Preheat oven to 400° F. Wash and dry the tomatoes, then place them in a small baking dish (not a cookie sheet — use something with sides) and drizzle on a little olive oil. Toss to coat, and stick ’em in the oven until they get soft and start to shrivel. It’ll take 10-15 minutes, or longer if you like ’em thoroughly roasted.

Heat the other drizzle of olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic with a pinch of salt, and saute until they soften. Add the tomatoes as well as the juices they released in the baking dish. Use your stirring implement to mash the tomatoes and stir it all together so it becomes saucy. Add the wine, if using. I only threw some in because we were drinking an old-vine Zinfandel. Now add the oregano and crushed red pepper to taste. Stir and reduce the heat to low while you finish preparing the rest of your pizza ingredients. If you like your sauce pureed, feel free to throw it in the blender or use an immersion blender.

It was a really tasty and easy sauce. It’s a little oniony, though, so if that’s not your thing, feel free to use less. I’m pro-onion myself. Same goes with the garlic. I may have used more than six cloves honestly, but I do have a love affair with the stuff. The recipe made the perfect amount for two people, plus a little extra for today’s lunch, which I’ll talk about below.

We each had our own incredibly delicious, filling pizza topped with the sauce, fresh cremini mushrooms from the farmers market, artichoke hearts (from a can, but packed in water), and caramelized onion (thanks for the suggestion, Lynn!). These totally made the pizzas!). His also had mozzarella cheese, but I went with a healthy sprinkle of nooch. These were a meal in themselves, and I can’t wait to make them again!

Ways to reduce the fat from this meal:

  • I will use less oil in the pizza dough next time. The result wasn’t oily-tasting at all, but I think I could get away with a teaspoon.
  • Tossing the tomatoes with oil before throwing them in the oven wasn’t necessary. I was worried about them sticking, but a shot of cooking spray would have done the trick.
  • I might even try sweating out the onions and garlic in a little broth next time.

The best part about making pizza for dinner last night is today’s experimental lunch. I set aside a small amount of the dough and some toppings to throw together a calzone of sorts.

Yes, very rustic. I didn’t pre-bake the dough like I did for the pizzas. Instead, I just piled sauce, veggies, nutritional yeast, and crushed red pepper in the middle of the dough, folded it, and coaxed the edges together. I baked it for about 15 minutes by accident (did I mention the old-vine Zin?), but it survived the cooking time admirably. Today, I reheated it for 1:30 in the microwave, and it was delicious! It didn’t get mushy or anything. The flavors had time to meld and mingle overnight, and it was really a mid-day delight. I served it up with some farmers-market lettuce topped with salad dressing (TJ’s balsamic vinaigrette) stolen from the work kitchen again.

Delicious and a lot more exciting than yesterday’s PB sammie.

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2 Responses to “Call me the pizzaiola”

  1. actorsdiet January 20, 2012 at 6:34 pm #

    yay onions! looks good.

  2. Jessica Loebs January 20, 2012 at 8:16 pm #

    Yay! I’m glad the recipe worked out well for you! I don’t think we’ve ever made a perfectly round pizza (even with a rolling pin) but it’s definitely tasty for a “healthy” crust! And I’ve never tried it as a calzone, so good to see that works!

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