Piece de resistance . . . is futile

4 Sep

Friends, I interrupt my regularly scheduled post on what I ate over Labor Day weekend to bring you, instead, the greatest thing I’ve ever created in the kitchen. Excuse me, make that my tour de force, my magnum opus, my piece de resistance . . . is futile.

Yep, it’s a pizza.

But it’s not just a pizza. It’s a symphony featuring a homemade crust, homemade sauce, and a medley of veggies grown right here in the LA area.

I’ve become totally obsessed with my sourdough starter (mentioned here originally). With the plethora of veggies — especially squash — quite literally spilling out of my fridge (and trying to take out a shelf with them), I thought a pizza topped with some of them would be tasty, so I did some investigating on a sourdough crust. I found this one and thought it seemed doable on my Monday off. The only alterations I made to the recipe were using white whole wheat flour instead of unbleached white, and I used about a tablespoon of oregano instead of the “pizza dough flavor.” While kneading it in my mixer, I had to add more liquid (a little over a half cup total) and then a little bit more flour (not exactly sure the amount — a couple of tablespoons maybe) to get the right consistency. It depends on your starter, though, so start with the base recipe and then add what you need to make it smooth and a little sticky.

Then it rose for about three hours, though it was actually usable after about two. I should have taken a picture of it in the bowl, but I didn’t think of it at the time. It looked so happy and sweet. Then I spread it out onto a 12″x17″ cookie sheet with sides:

It rose again for about an hour while I prepped the rest of the ingredients. I sliced and salted the small-ish zucchini and large-ish Japanese eggplant and then threw together the Roasted Tomato Sauce:

I tweaked my original recipe by using a splash of balsamic vinegar in place of the wine, adding 2/3 a bunch of basil, and substituting two cherry peppers for the crushed red pepper.

Then, when the sauce was done, I let it simmer while I baked the crust. At the same time, I roasted the zucchini and eggplant on another cookie sheet, but I didn’t photograph them. I sliced the mushrooms, and my husband grated the cheese. Then, the kitchen filled with an intoxicating smell, and after eight minutes, the crust was lightly browned and ready:

So I topped it. I spread on the tomato sauce, layered on most of the cheese, evenly-ish distributed the zucchini and eggplant, covered everything in a thick blanket of mushrooms, sprinkled some finely chopped onion and garlic, and then finished with the rest of the cheese:

Into the oven she went for eight more magical minutes until what emerged was a perfect synthesis of spices and veggies and taste sensations in the form of a thick-crust pizza:

So then we sliced it:

And ate it by candlelight, with a little petite syrah.

“I’ll meet you any time you want / In our Italian restaurant”

I was not exaggerating above. I’ve never made any dish that filled me with such an amazing sense of accomplishment or joy. X told me it is the best thing I’ve ever made, and I’m inclined to agree.

There isn’t really an easy recipe to share for this meal, since it’s so all over the place and, with the homemade dough, quite time-consuming, but here’s the best I can do:

  • 1 recipe pizza dough (I used this one)
  • 1 recipe pizza sauce (I used this one)
  • Veggies for topping, prepared your favorite way (I included roasted zucchini and Japanese eggplant, fresh cremini mushrooms, garlic, and onion)
  • Shredded cheese (I used Monterey Jack)

Spread your pizza dough on a pizza pan or cookie sheet with sides. Pre-bake according to recipe instructions. Then layer on your toppings, starting with the sauce, then the cheese, then the veggies, and ending with a little more cheese. Bake according to the recipe, but the general rule is until everything is warm and the cheese is bubbly.

Another thing to love about my pizza: it featured five goodies from my CSA box. The zucchini, Japanese eggplant, basil, cherry tomatoes, and onion were either in this week’s or last week’s order. So we’re talking a fresh, local, homemade, and delicious meal triumph that put my happily to bed Monday night and allowed me to awaken refreshed and ready to run (literally) at 6:15 this morning. That, my friends, is a triumph.

What’s your favorite pizza topping? In addition to the above, I adore artichoke hearts and will probably include them the next time we make pizza, since this crust recipe is thick enough to stand up to heavy ingredients.


4 Responses to “Piece de resistance . . . is futile”

  1. courtneybentley September 5, 2012 at 8:02 am #

    Loving pizza right now! I have had a craving for some dairy free pizza and this crust sounds appetizing! I love adding sun dried tomatoes to my already tomato sauced pizza (tomato obsession) Love and Shine CourtStar

    • Melissa September 7, 2012 at 5:13 am #

      This pizza looks AMAZING with that roasted tomato sauce. Going to have to remember the combo of mushrooms, eggplant and zucchini for my next pizza!

      • Brigid September 17, 2012 at 5:03 pm #

        It’s definitely a great combo! I am not the biggest regular eggplant fan, but those little Japanese ones are delicious.

    • Brigid September 17, 2012 at 5:04 pm #

      Me, too! Actually, I’m always loving it, but I am excited to learn how easy and fun it is to make from scratch. Sun-dried tomatoes are great on pizza, especially with pesto.

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