Saturday, February 11, 2006

My Spectacular Pizza

I developed this pizza as a strategy to sneak more vegetables into my children, and also as a response to a challenge from my husband (at the time)that I couldn't possibly come up with a pizza as good as Conan's. It took me a while, but he liked it so much he stopped taking me to Conan's.


1 1/2 T dry yeast
1 1/2 C warm water
3 T extra virgin olive oil
1 1/2 t salt
4 C white whole wheat flour (if you can't find this use 1/2 white and 1/2 whole wheat)
1/2 C oatmeal (the regular kind is better than the quick cooking kind)
1/3 C dry milk
1/3 C white cornmeal

Topping (top it however you like: this is how I do it)

1/2 6 oz. pkg reduced fat pepperoni
1 sm zucchini
1/2 red or green bell pepper
1/2 red onion
1/2 1 lb. jar of spaghetti sauce (or 1 1/2 C homemade sauce)
1 pkg shredded italian blend cheese

For the crust, proof the yeast in the warm water in the bowl of your mixer or any large bowl if you're making the crust by hand. When the yeast turns foamy, add the olive oil and the dry ingredients if you're using an electric mixer. Using the dough hook on your mixer, mix at low speed until there's no more flour flying around and then use medium speed. Knead this way for about 5 minutes until dough has a waxy appearance and is no longer sticky. If dough is still sticky add a little more flour. [If you're mixing by hand, don't add all the dry ingredients at once but rather stir them into the liquid until you can't stir anymore and then tip the dough out onto a floured board. Then knead by hand adding the dry ingredients a little at a time when the dough gets sticky. Keep going until the dough has that matte waxy look and is no longer sticky.]

Put the dough in an oiled bowl covered with a dishtowel dampened in hot water and let it rise for an hour in a warm non-drafty place. I use the oven because the pilot light keeps it warmish. Once it's done rising, turn it out onto a 16" round pizza pan and knead it a few times, forming it into a ball. Turn it seam side down and let it rest while you chop the vegetables.

Slice the zucchini into thin rounds and chop the onion and pepper into smallish pieces.

Take the dough and press it out into the pizza pan so that the edges of the dough reach the edges of the pan and the dough is of a consistent thickness all over. Put the spaghetti sauce in the middle of the dough and spread it out evenly until it reaches to within 1/2-1 in. of the edge. Put the pepperoni on now, spacing out the pieces evenly. Then put the zucchini slices on and follow with the pepper and onion. Finish the pizza with the cheese sprinkled evenly over the top. If you have fresh basil and oregano, chop those up and sprinkle on top of the cheese. Yum.

Bake in a 450 degree oven for 15 minutes. Take it out of the oven and let it cool for 5 minutes before cutting. I cut this into 8 pieces and it serves four people unless one of them is an 18 year old boy. In that case you should probably grab what you need and get out of the way.


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