Friday, January 16, 2015

IC Friendly Red Pizza

1-2 pizza's worth of your favorite dough
2 roasted peeled seeded red bell peppers, puréed
1/4 C water
4-6 large cloves of garlic, chopped
Fresh basil, shredded with your hands (use dried if you prefer)
If you have access to other fresh herbs, you can also add thyme, oregano, tarragon, parsley, etc. 
1 tb olive oil
Salt to taste
(Optional, red and black pepper to taste)
1 bag of Daiya mozzarella shreds
1 can of sliced olives
(Optional, artichoke hearts packed in water, mushroom slices, seasoned wheat gluten, or any of your favorite pizza toppings)

Purée the red bell peppers in a blender, food processor, or use a stick blender. You may need to add a little olive oil to get things moving. Set aside.

Warm your olive oil in a sauce pot over a medium low flame.  When you can feel heat from the oil, add your chopped garlic and turn the heat all the way down. Let the garlic infuse the oil for ten minutes or so.  When your kitchen smells like grandma's house, turn the heat to medium and pour in the bell pepper purée. 

Add your herbs and water, and simmer (stirring occasionally) until it thickens to a pizza sauce consistency. Take off heat and salt to taste. If your sauce is bitter, you can sprinkle in some sugar. Making sure all the seeds and skin are removed cuts down on bitterness.

My favorite dough recipe, made in a bread machine:

3/4 C semolina flour
3/4 C spelt flour
1 3/4 C bread flour or AP flour
3 tb sugar
1 1/2 tsp salt
1-2 tb olive oil
1 1/4 C plain unsweetened almond milk, warm
1 envelope of yeast

Using the dough setting, add the ingredients according to the manual for your machine. I add salt and sugar first, then liquid followed by the semolina and spelt. Next comes the yeast and finally the wheat flour. I let the dough mix for a bit, then use a scraper to push down the flour and dough pieces that stick to the side. Wait until the first mixing cycle is done to decide to add more flour or almond milk. A good dough ball will be round and firm, but not sticky (too wet) or flaky (too dry). To fix a dough ball, add a tb of flour or almond milk to get it right. 

This dough is ready to bake when the bread machine is done, or you can knead and store in a zippy bag coated with olive oil for the next day. This will develop the gluten and make your dough chewy and puffy. When you roll out your dough, you may need to let it rest if the gluten gets fussy.  You'll see this if the dough keeps shrinking back to its original size.  Letting it relax in the fridge for a few minutes will make rolling it out easier.  The higher the gluten content of your flour, the puffier our crust will be.  Bread flour has a high gluten content, AP flour has less, pastry flour has low gluten content.  You may need to play with different types of flour to get the crust you like.

Top your pizza with a few tb of sauce, olives (and other veggies), a handful of cheese shreds, and bake at 450° for at least 10 minutes. Check the crust for crisping, depending on the thickness, it may take 20 minutes or so to cook through. The thicker the crust, the lower in the oven it should go. You may need to broil the top to get the cheese to melt. If your crust is golden, take the pizza out of the oven while the broiler fires up so that the bottom doesn't burn. 

Serve hot, keeps well in the refrigerator for a few days.