Dish: Pizza Dough with Italian Vegetarian toppings
Pizza is probably the most popular Italian dish all over the world. Each country conveniently customized the toppings to appeal to the local tastes — like the spicy toppings in India and the extra cheesy toppings in America. But from what I heard, Italian pizzas are not overloaded with cheese or toppings and are usually made with light and refreshing tomato sauce instead of a slow simmered heavy tomato sauce that the American pizzas tend to use.
I’ve a few pizza recipes on the blog already, but wanted to try a new pizza crust recipe from King Arthur flour. They say this is the ‘easiest pizza you will ever make’. After making it I can assure you that it is in fact very easy to make this pizza.
I set out to make it one Saturday for lunch and invited my sister’s family over. So now to the easy part, all I had to do was make the simple dough and the toppings ahead of time; when it was time to eat, I just baked the pizzas with everyone’s favorite toppings.
I tried a few classic Italian vegetarian toppings like: Grated mozzarella and caramelized onions; grilled eggplant, grated cheese and cherry tomato; grated cheese and baby arugula (make sure to put the greens right after the pizza comes out of the oven, otherwise they will burn) and of course grated cheese and pizza sauce for the kids.
The cool thing about making your own pizza is that you can use as little or as much toppings as you like. But just make sure not to tell the kids that they are going to have homemade pizza for lunch before hand, they will make the whole process seem loooooonger by asking ‘is it ready yet?‘ a million times 🙂
2½ ~ 3cupsWholewheat flour(or simply use a total of 5½~6cups of all purpose )
2tbspsPizza Doughflavor (optional)
For the Toppings:
1OnionLarge , thinly sliced
1EggplantSmall , thinly sliced
2 ~ 3cupsMozzarella cheeseGrated
In a large mixing bowl or the bowl of the stand mixer, combine 5½ cups of flour(s), yeast, sugar, salt, olive oil, pizza dough flavor (is using) and the water.
Mix and knead until a smooth and elastic dough forms, about 7~9 minutes.
Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl, cover and let it rise for 1~2 hours, depending on your schedule.
In the meantime, get the toppings ready.
Caramelize the Onions: Heat 1tbsp oil in a nonstick pan and add the onions and salt; Cook on medium flame, stirring frequently, until nicely caramelized. Season with salt & pepper. Keep ready.
Cook the eggplant: In another large nonstick pan, shallow fry the eggplant slices until golden brown on both sides. Season with salt and pepper. Remove from the pan and keep ready.
Preheat oven to 450°F.
Gently deflate the dough and divide it into 4 pieces, for medium crust pizzas or 3 pieces for thicker pieces. Roll each piece, on a floured surface, into a 12" circle. If the dough doesn't stretch that easily, then let the dough rest to relax it and make it more cooperative.
Place the rolled pizzas on baking sheets or on a pizza stone. Cover and set aside for 15~20 minutes.
Brush the crust with little olive oil; spread pizza sauce over the surface and top with grated cheese and your favorite toppings. For the caramelized onions pizza, pizza sauce is usually not added, but it's your choice.
For the eggplant pizza, sprinkle the cheese on the base, arrange the eggplant slices and cherry tomatoes on top.
Bake the pizzas for 12~16 minutes, until they're golden, the toppings are hot and bubbly and the cheese is melted. Remove from the oven and transfer to a cooling rack. Cool for about 5~10 minutes, slice and serve.