|I’m proud to say that in my 7 years of living in NYC I’ve not once had pizza delivered. Why? Because this recipe is so much better!|
The Super Bowl is coming up which means that unhealthy eating is about to be celebrated all across America. Bars and living rooms around the country will serve deep fried, fatty, and nutrient poor foods to the masses. Meanwhile, Doritos, Pepsi, and Taco Bell will battle it out for the best commercial and try to draw you into the corner store after the game. There’s data that shows bad team performance can weaken your self-esteem, driving you to overeat and reach for fat-saturated foods for days following the loss. So the game, as much as the ads, is steering your food choices. Why not fight the munchies with a healthier take on the food you crave and boost your confidence by learning to make it from scratch? You can start with pizza.
|Super Bowl party idea: pre-bake all of the crusts and let guests assemble their own pizzas. You can pop a few in the oven at once for quick, personalized deliciousness.|
There are a few choices that will make your homemade pizza better than any DiGiorno claim: (1) flavor the crust, (2) keep the sauce light, (3) dial back the cheese, and (4) pile on the veggies.
|A quick sizzle to make garlic-herb oil adds|
1. Flavor the Crust
This garlic-herb crust, adapted from America’s Test Kitchen’s grilling cookbook, is flavorful enough to eat without the sauce and cheese. A little EVOO and salt can carry it as a flatbread. In fact, if you don’t have a big crowd to feed on day one, I recommend you bake the remaining dough into flatbreads for the week. Then you can top it with eggs for breakfast, quickly reassemble pizzas from separate containers and bake in the office toaster oven for lunch, or just speed up dinner prep. The key to a crisp crust is a pre-heated pizza stone, cast iron pan, or grill. If you can hear it cooking as soon as it hits the pan, you’ll have excellent New York style pizza.
|Chop the veggies big or small for your perfect sauce. I prefer the chunky option to remind me of the tomatoes I’m eating.|
2. Keep the sauce light
No sugar and no tomato paste – pizza sauce should taste like tomatoes. Pulse fresh tomatoes to make a raw sauce in summer and leave canned tomatoes chunky so you don’t have to cook it down for long in wintertime. The flavors of the garlic and onion will marry more overnight and be delicious for later pizzas, pastas, or sandwiches.
|Let an herbacious topping with a little olive oil stand in for greasy cheese. That’s dialing back the saturated fat.|
3. Dial back the cheese
Fresh mozzarella is much better than the processed stuff you might be stuck with at a suburban grocer. Either way, for all the protein cheese will add to the pizza, you will also get an even share of saturated fat. Add enough to get the melty, stretchy experience you crave, but don’t double down on the cheese as your main flavor source…
4. Pile on the Veggies
…because the spice comes from the veggies and herbs. You can sneak a little meat on (I have a weakness for ham) and still get creative here. I went with Brussels sprouts – the only green I saw at the mid-winter farmers market. The thinly sliced sprouts make a nice salad, so if you dispense with the sauce and mozzarella, you can still pile it atop the pre-baked flatbread for a light and delicious meal.
|If you want to use a standing mixer to knead the dough, make sure it’s heavy and strong. This crust nearly decommissioned my KitchenAid.|
|Wrap the dough tightly for the rise. Plastic wrap does better than the traditional wet towel.|
Garlic-Herb Pizza Crust
2 Tablespoons olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh rosemary, thyme, or oregano
4 cups unbleached bread flour
1 envelope instant yeast
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 3/4 cups warm water
Olive oil for oiling bowl
Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat and cook garlic and herbs until garlic starts to turn golden, about 2 minutes. Remove pan from heat and cool to room temperature.
By hand: Stir half of the flour, salt, and yeast in a deep bowl. Stir in water and garlic oil with a wooden spoon. Add remaining flour and stir until a collective mass forms. Turn dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, 7 to 8 minutes.
With a standing mixer: Place flour, yeast, and salt in the bowl of a heavy standing mixer and stir together with a paddle attachment. Slowly add the water and oil and mix at a low speed until a collective mass forms. Switch to the dough hook and and knead until smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes.
Place ball of dough in a large, oiled bowl, covered tightly with plastic wrap. Rise for 60 to 90 minutes, until doubled in size.
Divide dough into 5 parts for 10″ pies or 8 parts for 8″ pies. Form each piece into a smooth round ball and rest for 5-30 minutes under a damp cloth. Flatten each round and press then stretch to size, allowing the dough to rest for 5 minutes of it becomes stiff and won’t stretch any further.
Heat pizza stone in a 400° oven. Prick pizza dough all over with a fork if you want to avoid air bubbles.
For flatbread: Bake four minutes then flip and cook another 2 minutes.
For pizza: Spread sauce, a generous heap of Brussels sprouts (recipes below), and a few slices of cheese atop pizza dough. Bake raw dough 15 minutes or pre-cooked flatbread for 5-10 minutes until cheese is melted.
|This is really the base sauce for everything. Add veggies and meat for spaghetti, spoon it over chicken and ham with cheese for chicken cordon bleu, puree it a bit for tomato soup. Liberate yourself from jarred sauce.|
|Ok, so I’m really one of those weird people who buys canned whole peeled tomatoes because there is less processing. It’s basically the equivalent of The Wedding Planner only eating brown M&Ms. Or is it?|
2 Tablespoons olive oil
4 cloves of garlic, smashed
1 small onion, diced
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 28 ounce can tomatoes, diced
Heat oil in a pot over medium heat. Cook garlic and onion with salt and red pepper until translucent. Add tomato with juice and cook, stirring, for 20 minutes until the sauce is thickened.
Brussels Sprouts Salad
1 pound Brussels sprouts, thinly sliced
4 carrots, thinly sliced
2 shallots thinly sliced
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
4 Tablespoons olive oil
Stir together all the ingredients.
|When made with a pre-baked flatbread, this pizza can be assembled quickly and baked in even a toaster oven. How’s that for #mealprep?|
|Boy, does it bake up nicely.|