The dessert pizza with the cinnamon and ice cream was delicious, but then so were the savory pizzas we made. I chose to top one with a homemade tomato sauce, mozzarella, and fresh basil from our indoor garden (photo below), a pizza I knew the boys would like, and the other was based on The Biancan pizza recipe in the book with a few differences. This white pizza (photo above) is brushed with herb- and garlic-seasoned olive oil, sprinkled with Parmesan, and topped with sauteed spinach, mushrooms, red onion, roasted garlic, feta, and a sun-dried tomato pesto that we make every year with our homegrown basil. The boys snubbed the white pizza, but Michael and I really liked it.
In fact I liked it so much I made it again for lunch one day using the cast iron skillet on the stove, just to see how that would work. The method calls for finishing the pizza in the oven, which I decided to skip because the cheese was melting nicely on the gas cooktop, and I still enjoyed the pizza even if the top wasn’t browned.
We’ve been very pleased with the dough, which has a mix of unbleached all-purpose flour, whole wheat flour, and cornmeal. It’s easy to work with and a snap to mix up, but requires advance preparation, preferably the night before. I use my old KitchenAid stand mixer for mixing and kneading, but you can also mix by hand or with a food processor. After a two hour rise, the dough goes into the refrigerator until you are ready for it. I played around with temperature of the dough when preparing and grilling the pizzas and learned that colder is better. A few of the doughs sat for a while and warmed a bit before grilling and then produced huge bubbles on the heat, which I had to pop because they were mountains instead of molehills. My favorite part about making the pizza is that the crust doesn’t have to look perfect, and “rustic” is better. Good thing because I’ve never been able to roll out a perfect pizza circle!
When I made the pizza I followed the directions in the book and put the onions on raw, but I prefer them cooked a bit, so that’s how I wrote the recipe below. The ingredient list makes one white pizza, so double the toppings if you want two pizzas. The oil will keep well in the refrigerator, just put on a lid. If the oil thickens when cold, warm it slightly before using.
small bowl or a glass jar with lid
pizza peel or cookie sheets
GARLIC HERB OIL
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1 recipe pizza dough, cut into 2 pieces
1/2 cup thinly sliced red onions
4 cups fresh spinach, packed (I estimated about 4 to 5 handfuls)
4 large white mushrooms, thinly sliced (or 7 ounce can sliced mushrooms)
fresh ground black pepper
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan
1/2 cup sun-dried tomato pesto
1 head of roasted garlic
1/2 cup crumbled feta
1. Preheat the grill to about 400° F/204° C.
2. OIL: In the bowl or jar, mix together the oil, garlic, oregano, thyme, and basil. Set aside.
3. PIZZA: Warm the skillet over medium heat and add 1 tablespoon of the herb oil to the pan. Saute the onions for a couple minutes, until they soften and glisten. Add the spinach and mushrooms, sauteeing just long enough for the spinach to wilt. Remove from heat and drain vegetables as necessary. Season with salt and pepper.
4. Shape the dough into two pizzas. Brush the grill with oil and place the shaped doughs on the grill. Cook for about 3 minutes, until grill marks show and the bottom is crusty. Pick up the crusts with the tongs and place on a peel or cookie sheets, cooked side down.
5. Brush on some of the herb oil, and sprinkle on the grated Parmesan. Add the cooked spinach, onions, and mushrooms. Drop small dollops of the pesto around the pizza and sprinkle on the crumbled feta.
6. Carefully transfer the pizza back to the grill and cook for 5 to 8 minutes, until the bottom is crusty and browned and the toppings are hot. Use the tongs to move the pizza around the grill for even cooking. Remove from grill, slice, and serve.
[An original post from Andrea Meyers: making life delicious. All images and text copyrighted, All Rights Reserved.]
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