Monday night pizza

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The last two Mondays I’ve come home and just before I ready myself to watch the latest jealously-inducing Bourdain travel excursion on TV, I’ve had one thought – pizza. Although the Dominos app is quite tempting (save the judgement), I thought it best to make one of my own custom creations. I found with a few simple things, primarily from Trader Joes, a heaping slice of homemade veggie/salami pizza and a glass of red wine really does the trick. Cheers to Monday.

Ingredients:

1 package Trader Joes pizza dough (white or wheat)

1 can crushed tomatoes

garlic glove

basil, chopped

sliced salami (I used a picante variety for extra spice)

1/4 cup parmesan cheese, grated

salt, pepper, crushed red pepper

Veggies (choose whatever you like, but here are my picks):

zucchini

red pepper

1 can artichoke hearts

spinach

1. Heat oven to 400 degrees.

2. Prep the dough by letting it sit on the counter when you get home from the store, so it can come closer to room temperature. Grease a baking sheet with olive oil. Place dough onto the greased sheet, and begin to work it so that it stretches to the size of the sheet. Once the dough is in a shape to your liking, brush with olive oil. Set aside.

Tip: For a more authentic feel, dust some semolina flour on one side of the dough before baking. It will create that distinct, restaurant quality pizza dough. Be sure to sprinkle it on the side facing up, because you will later flip the dough.

3. Prep the sauce. Add a clove of minced garlic to about 2 cups of crushed tomatoes in a mixing bowl. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and crushed red pepper flakes. Set aside.

4. Prep the veggies. Thinly slice half of a red onion. Cut artichokes into quarters. Slice zucchini very thin on a mandolin (or use a knife carefully). Slice red pepper into thin strips. Chop about half a cup of spinach.

5. Slice salami in half, so you have half-moon shaped pieces for layering.

6. Bake dough in the oven for about 8 minutes. The package says to only cook the dough for a total of 8-10 minutes, but I like mine on the thin and crispy side. Once the dough is starting to turn golden brown, take it out of the oven and use tongs to flip it over.

7. Now we layer the masterpiece. Spread the sauce evenly over the crust, leaving just a slightly naked edge all the way around. Lay down zucchini, onions, peppers, artichokes and salami in a random, yet orderly fashion. Sprinkle the whole pizza with salt, pepper and crushed red pepper to taste.

8. Pop the pizza back in the over for 3-5 minutes. You the veggies to start to cook before you put the cheese on, since that will melt quickly.

Tip: I only use parmesan cheese on this pizza, because it has a great sharp flavor and you don’t need alot of it. The traditional mozzarella has it’s place, but often times I feel it’s a waste because it doesn’t add flavor.

9. Once the onions are looking a translucent and even a bit scorched, sprinkle the parmesan over the pizza. Stick it back in the oven, but stay close by to watch when the bubbling begins.

10. When the pizza just starts looking great, pull it out of the oven and let it cool for just a few minutes on a wood cutting board. Sprinkle with chopped spinach and basil (and a little extra parm if you are feeling it) and serve.

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