Sauteed Vegetable Pizza

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about 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 pound fresh mushrooms, stemmed, cleaned, and thinly sliced
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 Asian eggplant (3 ounces), trimmed and thinly sliced
1 large or 2 small green zucchini (8 to 10 ounces), trimmed and cut into cubes
1 small red or yellow bell pepper (about 4 ounces), trimmed, seeded, and cut into thin slices
1 recipe Pizza Dough (see recipe)
2 tablespoons Chili and Garlic Oil (see recipe)
2 cups grated mozzarella cheese (8 ounces)
2 cups grated Fontina cheese (8 ounces)
1 pound Roma tomatoes, ends trimmed and sliced
4 teaspoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Chili and Garlic Oil
1 whole head garlic (about 2 1/2 ounces), cloves separated and peeled
2 cups extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon red pepper flakes
Pizza Dough
1 package active dry or fresh yeast
1 teaspoon honey
1 cup warm water (105-115 degrees F.)
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil or Chili and Garlic Oil (see recipe), plus more for brushing

In a small skillet, heat 2 1/2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Saute the mushrooms for 3 or 4 minutes, adding a bit more oil if necessary. The mushrooms should be al dente. Season lightly with salt and pepper, drain, and set aside.

Wipe the skillet and heat 2 more tablespoons of the oil. Saute the eggplant until al dente, 3 to 4 minutes. Season lightly with salt and pepper, drain, and set aside.

In a medium skillet, heat 2 more tablespoons of the oil. Saute the green and yellow zucchini until al dente, about 3 minutes, adding a bit more oil as necessary. Season lightly with salt and pepper, drain, and set aside.

In a small skillet heat 1 tablespoons oil. Saute the red or yellow pepper until al dente, about 2 minutes. Season lightly with salt and pepper, drain, and set aside.

Place a pizza stone on the middle rack of the oven and preheat the oven to 500 degrees F.

To assemble the pizza, on a lightly floured surface stretch or roll out the dough into 8-inch rounds and brush the inner circle with Chili and Garlic Oil. Sprinkle each pizza first with 1/2 cup of the mozzarella, then with 1/2 cup of the Fontina. Divide the vegetables among the pizzas and layer with the sliced tomatoes, mushrooms, eggplant, zucchini, and peppers. Sprinkle 1 teaspoon Parmesan over the top of each pizza.

Slide each pizza gently onto the stone and bake until the crust is nicely browned, 10 to 12 minutes. Transfer the pizza onto a firm surface and cut into slices with a pizza cutter or a very sharp knife. Serve immediately.

To Prepare Ahead: Through step 4, all the vegetables can be sauteed early in the day, cooled, and arranged in individual piles on a large platter. Refrigerate until needed.


Chili and Garlic Oil

In a small saucepan, combine the garlic cloves and olive oil and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer until the garlic turns golden brown, 10 to 15 minutes. (Do not let the garlic get too dark because the oil will have a bitter taste.)

Let cool and then add the red pepper flakes. Infuse for at least 2 hours to allow the flavors to blend. Refrigerate in a covered container.

To Prepare Ahead: Through step 2, oil will last 2 to 3 weeks.

Pizza Dough

In a small bowl, dissolve the yeast and honey in 1/4 cup of the warm water.

In a mixer fitted with a dough hook, combine the flour and the salt. Add the oil, your mixture, and the remaining 3/4 cup of water and mix on low speed until the dough comes cleanly away from the sides of the bowl and clusters around the dough hook, about 5 minutes. (The pizza dough can also be made in a food processor. Dissolve the yeast as above. Combine the flour and salt in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade. Pulse once or twice, add the remaining ingredients, and process until the dough begins to form a ball.)

Turn the dough out onto a clean work surface and knead by hand 2 or 3 mintes longer,. The oough should be smooth and firm. Cover the dough with a clean, damp towel and let it rise in a wrm spot for about 30 minutes. (When ready, the dough will stretch as it is lightly pulled.)

Divide the dough into 4 balls, about 6 ounces each. Work each ball by pulling down the sides and tucking under the bottom of the ball. Repeat 4 or 5 times. Then on a smooth, unfloured surface, roll the ball under the palm of your hand until the top of the dough is smooth and firm, about 1 minute. Cover the dough with a damp towel and let it rest for 15 to 20 minutes. At this point, the balls can be wrapped in plastic and refrigerated for up to 2 days.

Pace a pizza stone on the middle rack of the oven and preheat the oven to 500 degrees F.

To prepare each pizza, dip the ball of dough into flour, shake off the excess flour, place the dough on a clean, lightly floured surface, and start to stretch the dough. Press down on the center, spreading the dough into an 8-inch circle, with the outer border a little thicker than the inner circle. If you find this difficult to do, use a small rolling pin to roll out the dough. Lightly brush the inner circle of the dough with oil and arrange the topping of your choice over the inner circle.

Using a lightly floured baker's peel or a rimless flat baking tray, slide the pizza onto the baking stone and bake until the pizza crust is nicely browned, 10 to 12 minutes. Remember that the oven is very hot and be careful as you place the pizza into and out of the oven. Transfer the pizza to a firm surface and cut into slices with a pizza cutter or very sharp knife. Serve immediately.

To Prepare Ahead: Through step 4. When ready to serve, remove the balls of dough from the refrigerator and let them rest at room temperature for about 15 minutes, then continue with the recipe. Through step 7, bake 5 or 6 minutes, until the cheese melts and the pizza dough is lightly golden brown. (At this point, the pizza can be cooled, wrapped well, and frozen for up to 1 month.) When needed, remove from the freezer, unwrap, and bake in a preheated oven until the crust has browned and the topping is heated through.



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