Wednesday 25 February 2009

Midweek Veggie Pizza

This pizza dough has become my favourite of all the recipes I have tried. It involves very little effort as the ingredients and mixed and then left in the fridge overnight before being used, meaning you don’t have to worry too much about kneading or proving times as it works its magic overnight and always produced a lovely elastic dough. The dough can be kept for up to 5 days in the fridge meaning you can make it Sunday evening and then its all ready to go any evening of the week, whenever the pizza cravings kick in after a bad day, it can be on the table in under half an hour with no hassle. I think the dough actually improves over time and becomes more like a sourdough, it has a good crisp and slightly chewy crust and a great flavour. The tomato sauce can also be made in advance, so everything is ready to go and the only preparation required is forming the dough and adding a few topping. Faster than a takeaway and much tastier too.

The pizza is cooked at the highest temperature your oven can manage, meaning it’s done in only a matter of minutes. By placing a pizza stone or sturdy baking tray in the oven while it heats up to temperature, you then simply slide your pizza onto the hot tray and it immediately starts to cook and crisp up underneath, ensuring a lovely crisp crust – no more soggy bases!

Another great thing about pizzas is that you can put almost anything on them and I’ve found a whole host of ingredients which work well, if not considered a little unusual by some, including grated carrot and apple. This week’s find was beetroot, the fresh kind, not the pickled variety. I had some boiled beetroot sitting in the fridge and though – why not? So I added a few slices along with some peppers, mushrooms, red onion and slices of jarred artichoke hearts that were another fridge lingerer. I loved the taste of the beetroot, its short oven roasting really brought out its flavour and added a little zing against the other components and created a moody purple ring into the surrounding sauce. I don’t know why more restaurants don’t offer it as a pizza topping; I bet it would be fantastic finished with a bit of crumbled goats cheese.

Midweek Veggie Pizza
For the pizza dough
320g strong plain white flour
¾ tsp salt
½ tsp instant yeast
30ml olive oil
210ml water
2 tsp caster sugar

Tomato topping
1 onion
1 large can of chopped tomatoes
1 tbsp olive oil
2 tsp dried oregano
1 tbsp sundried tomato paste
1 clove garlic
Salt and pepper to taste

2 mushrooms
2 artichoke hearts from a jar
½ red pepper
¼ red onion
Grated cheese or slices of mozzarella
1 cooked fresh beetroot (not pickled)

Method – For the pizza dough
Add the flour, salt, yeast and sugar into a bowl. Mix with your fingers and make a well in the centre.
Pour over the olive oil and water and mix together using the tips of your fingers until a sticky dough is formed.
Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and kneed until smooth, around 5 minutes. The dough should become less sticky although still tacky to the touch.
Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl and cover with clingfilm. Place in the fridge overnight or up to 5 days.
Tear off chunks of dough when required. Enough for 3 x 9inch pizzas.

For the tomato topping
Peel and finely dice the onion. Heat the oil in a pan and add the onion and oregano. Cook until soft, then finely crush the garlic and add to the pan. Cook for a further 2 minutes.
Add the chopped tomatoes, sundried tomato paste and a pinch of salt and pepper.
Allow to simmer for 15 minutes until the mixture has reduced and thickened.
Allow to cool in the pan, then transfer to a bowl, cover with cling film and keep in the fridge until required.
Makes enough sauce to cover 3 pizza bases.

To assemble
When ready to eat the pizza, preheat the oven to its hottest setting, usually around 250-275C. Place a pizza stone or baking tray into the oven to heat up.
Have a sheet of baking parchment or a silicone mat ready and dust the top with flour or fine cornmeal.
Lightly dust your hands with flour and tear off a third of the pizza dough. Gently stretch it, pulling from the middle outwards, to your desired thickness.
When the dough is quite thin, lay it onto a sheet of baking parchment or a silicone mat and pull into shape. (Can create a 9inch/23cm circle or 25cmx15cm rectangle).
Spread a third of the tomato sauce over the top, leaving a small rim around the edge.
Add slices of mushrooms and other assorted vegetables or meats of your choosing.
Grate or crumble the cheese of your choice over the top.
Remove the hot baking tray from the oven and quickly slide the sheet of baking parchment with your pizza on it, onto the baking tray and return to the oven.
Bake for 8-9 minutes until the crisp, golden brown and bubbling.
(If you pile lots of topping on, then baking may take a couple of minutes longer).
Eat and enjoy.


Snooky doodle said...

this pizza looks delicious. It s my favourite meal I could eat it everyday :). Wish I could just grab some :)

Nic said...

That really looks crispy!
I have a pizza stone and don't get it out nearly enough.

Elyse said...

Mmm, I'm actually planning on having pizza tonight. I wish I had put your recipe for dough in my fridge last night--would love to try this recipe! Pizza is the perfect mid-week treat!

Deborah said...

I am definitely going to have to try that crust!

Gigi said...

oooo, I like the looks of this pizza Katie! Great way to get all ones veggie requirements.