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Thursday, June 19, 2014

Pizza for One

Sometimes, you just want pizza, am I right? With this little recipe, there's no reason to wait for delivery or a party--you can just do it yourself!

I am allergic to tomatoes, so I used a pesto sauce (recipe included), and the pizza in the picture has pesto sauce, red onions, artichoke quarters, black olives, sunflower seeds, and Daiyu faux Mozzaralla on it. The crust is thin and crispy; I'm working on a deep dish version. Explore all your own favorite toppings and let me know how it goes!

Grease the pan/aluminum foil/parchment paper VERY HEAVILY. It sticks. Sprinkle the pan with corn meal.

1/2 cup whole wheat bread flour, plus a little more for shaping (you can also use all purpose)
Pinch of sugar
Generous pinch of salt
1 teaspoon active dried yeast (Bread-Machine Yeast works fine, too)
3 to 4 TBLSP warm water

·         In a small bowl, combine the flour, sugar, salt, and yeast. Stir in 3 TBSP of water. If the dough is SUPER dry, then add a little more water and mix again. Go easy. 
·         Dump the contents of the bowl out onto a lightly floured work surface and sprinkle with flour. You may need to add more flour to make the dough kneadable if it’s too wet or sticky. 
·         Knead gently until the dough comes together into a ball. It'll be sticky and very soft. This should take 1 or 2 minutes. It kind of changes to have a delicate sheen when the gluten and the yeast have begun to do their thing. That's when you stop kneading. 
·         Shape and stretch the dough as thinly as you can, into a large circle. It should be about 7 inches in diameter.
·         Leave it in a nice warm place to rise while you preheat the oven to 425 degrees F for about 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, make the pesto and prepare the toppings. 

¾ cup fresh basil leaves
1 TBLSP fresh cilantro leaves (you can use parsley if you’re anti-cilantro)
1 clove of garlic
1 TBLSP raw cashew nuts
1 TBLSP rice vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste

·         Place all of the ingredients in a blender and whirl until it’s a soft mash.

Topping Options (Don’t use ALL of these—they won’t fit!)
·         3 TBLSP pesto (or tomato sauce)
·         3 black olives (Kalamata if you’ve got ‘em)
·         1 mushroom, sliced thinly
·         ½ slice of red onion, diced
·         1 green onion, sliced
·         Artichoke hearts, chopped
·         1 teaspoon capers
·         Spinach, fresh or steamed
·         Arugula, fresh or steamed
·         1 teaspoon sunflower seeds
·         Daiyu mozzarella faux cheese shreds

  •            Spread pesto (or other sauce) until near the edges of the pizza. I like to bend the edges of the dough up a bit to help hold the sauce on top. That makes 'em crunchy, too. 
  •       Spread the toppings on the sauce and then, if you’re using it, sprinkle the cheese on top of that.

Bake for 20-25 minutes until the crust edges are darkly golden and the toppings are melty and shiny.

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