We’ve made many a pizza during our cooking adventures together, but we’ve never made pizza dough. Can you believe it? We couldn’t and decided to remedy that pizza injustice with chef George Mendes’ healthy recipe for whole wheat pizza with tomato coulis, smoked mozzarella and vegetables (click here for recipe).
Because the pizza dough needed to rest and rise, I got started on it with whole wheat and all purpose flour, some yeast and a pinch of sugar and salt. The recipe calls for adding boiling water to the dry ingredients before mixing everything in a food processor. We don’t have a food processor large enough to handle dough so I used the best kitchen tools ever — my hands. Of course, I had to start by stirring with a fork until the scalding water cooled down a bit. Once everything was in a nice, smooth dough ball, I used a trick I’ve seen my grandmother use a million times: I put the dough to bed. The nice, warm environment at the foot of the bed (under the covers, of course) is a great place for dough to rise. So the dough spent 30 minutes in the guest room.
K was the slicer and dicer for the pizza toppings and he chopped his way through zucchini, roasted red pepper, shitake mushrooms, eggplant and basil. The zucchini was blanched and the eggplant and mushrooms sauteed to caramelized perfection.
We thawed a container of San Marzano tomatoes we’d previously frozen then added some sauteed onions and garlic and a bit of tomato paste. The sauce then simmered away on the stove top.
Heavy loads of career frustration have dogged me for a long time so it was sweet relief to smack the dough into a nice round circle. It was the perfect size for the pizza sheet pan. I par baked the crust for about five minutes to make sure it was crispy enough then we added the sauce, veggies and some smoked mozzarella and ricotta cheese.
The crust was nicely dense and chewy, but we agreed it was a bit thicker than we would have liked. Next time we’ll make sure it’s thin and crispy. The sauce, perhaps because of our tomato choice, was a little thin and didn’t add as much sweet/tart tomato-y flavor. Next time, we’ll use just the tomatoes and not add the saucy juices. Each slice was chock full of yummy toppings. I was bothered by the bitterness added by the roasted red peppers so I wouldn’t add those again, but everything else was delish.
We learned it’s cathartic and easy to make your own tasty pizza dough. I think I’ll experiment with making dough balls in larger batches then freezing them for future quick pizzas that we’ll top with smoked mozzarella, ricotta and every veggie under the sun.
Alterations: Used San Marzano tomatoes instead of fresh, smashed tomatoes. Used dried oregano instead of fresh.
Soundtrack: Emilliana Torrini.
Would we make this again? Absolutely. Delicious and healthy!