Friday, June 24, 2011

Vegetable Pizza

We both love Vegetable Pizza. Recently, for a get together with friends, one of my dear friend made Pizza from scratch topped with Artichokes, Olives and Mushrooms. I felt it was the yummiest one I had eaten; it had a very gourmet flavour. She shared the recipe with me and vouched for the Jamie Oliver touch to the Pizza dough. I tried this at home; the flavour was very cheesy, gourmet and my choice of cheese meshed beautifully with the vegetables. Both of us love trying and tasting various cheese, especially European ones and this recipe just served the purpose right.

Jamie Oliver opines that the dough be prepared 24 hours in advance for better results, it can be stored in a cling wrap in the fridge and used the next day. I was tempted and gave a resting time of couple of hours. I was amazed at how little amount of planning yields the perfect Pizza.

~ Vegetable Pizza ~
Preparation time: 6 hours

Cooking time: 40 minutes

Size: 8" Pizza

Pizza Dough -
All Purpose Flour - 4 cups
Extra Virgin Olive oil - 3 tbsp
Salt - 1 tbsp
Sugar - 2 tsp
Luke warm water - 1 and 1/2 cups
High active yeast - 1 sachet ~ approx. 1/2 oz.

Pizza toppings -
Black pitted Olives - 1/2 cup
Mushroom (sliced baby Portobello) - 1/2 cup
Green Bell Pepper - 1/2 cup
Green Olives (optional) - 1/2 cup

Pizza Sauce -
Crushed Tomato (medium) - 2
Parsley - 1 teaspoon
Mixed herbs (Rosemary, Thyme) - 1/2 teaspoon
Oregano - 1/2 teaspoon
*** Grind to a smooth paste in blender and discard the juice, retain the pulp mix ***
*** One can also use Marinara sauce - store bought ***

For garnish - Red chilli flakes, Oregano, Garlic powder
Cheese - shredded Mozzarella (80%) and shredded Monterrey Jack (20%)

Pizza Dough - Mix the wet ingredients of olive oil, water and yeast. Water should be lukewarm and not hot. Allow the yeast to form a bubbly froth for 10 minutes. Add the dry ingredients now which is flour, salt and sugar. Stir gently with a fork and knead to a smooth pliable dough to form a ball. Coat with a teaspoon of olive oil finally and cover with a wet cloth and leave in a warm oven for an hour with the light on. After an hour the dough will double up in volume. Punch it to let out the air and knead again. The dough will be elastic now. Dust the work surface with flour, roll out a Pizza of desired shape and transfer to a cookie tray lined with foil. Dust the foil with olive oil and flour. Proceed with the toppings.

Pizza Toppings - Roll out a 8" pizza out of the dough. Gently press the entire edge with 1" gap to provide elevation for the pizza toppings not to spill out. Prick the fork evenly into the pizza dough. This prevents the pizza from puffing up in the oven. Pre-heat the oven at 425 F. Add the sauce now leaving 1" border. Sprinkle liberally with Oregano. Add the toppings of Bell Peppers, Mushrooms and Black olives. Sprinkle olive oil liberally. Seal the vegetables with cheese of choice. Add the cheese with low melting point first and finally seal with cheese of high melting point. Bake in the oven at 425 F for 40 - 45 minutes.

Plating - Garnish with oregano, garlic powder and red chilli flakes. Enjoy with soda or beverage of choice.

Note - Use cheese which can withstand high melting point in the oven. I prefer Mozzarella or Parmesan blended with flavoured cheese like Monterrey Jack or Fontina which also melts perfectly (all shredded). Whole milk cheese has high moisture and melts well for a nice tasting Pizza. Use Olive oil in dough as well on topping as it gives the necessary gourmet flavour to the Pizza. Bread flour works better instead of All Purpose flour and gives the desired crispness to the base. I used All Purpose flour for the Pizza dough.


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