While I live in New York City, purveyor of the best pizza on Earth, my diet and unwillingness to purchase prepared foods have pretty much dictated that I rarely buy a pie outside the house. Unless I’m with a group of people, or, yes, you may have seen me drunkenly stumble into an unnamed pizzeria in Midtown last week at 2am to buy a white slice, on which I was so focused during my ride home that I ended up leaving my phone in the back of the cab. Let’s move on from that moment, shall we?
Most of the time, I make my own pizza from home. I feel a little healthier about it, but I also get to have whatever bizarre combination of flavors I want without explaining myself to a man behind a counter. Which is why I jumped at this week’s Food Matters post: a recipe for mostly whole wheat pizza dough, followed by a long list of toppings to be mixed and matched at will. Don’t mind if I do!
I made half of Bittman’s dough recipe, which I then divided to make 2 smaller pizzas. One was topped with ricotta, caramelized onions, and an egg cracked on top of the pizza during the final few minutes of baking. The other, dark horse winner was a kale pesto and roasted pepper pizza. Shockingly easy and healthy, this was by far the favorite. And I am an unabashed lover of cheese (and eggs!), so I was more than a little surprised. This pizza requires a little bit of advance preparation, but it’s so, so worth it. Plus, my fridge is now full of leftover roasted peppers and kale pesto. Could be worse!
I made a few changes to the baking process and the pesto is my own creation, so that recipe follows. Otherwise, for the basic recipe and other toppings, head on over to Niki’s post at Salt & Pepper, and see what other FMP members did with their pizzas here!
Lily Bellow graduated in 2009 from Harvard University with a degree in English Literature. While in college, she bartended and cooked at the campus pub, and as a result has a difficult time eating chicken wings. She is the Managing Editor for Small Kitchen College.
No-Work Mostly Whole Wheat Pizza with Kale and Arugula Pesto and Roasted Peppers
Serves 1-2 for lunch or a light dinner
1 red bell pepper
1 yellow bell pepper
1/2 batch whole wheat pizza dough, or full batch for bigger pizza and thicker crust (recipe follows)
About 1/2 cup kale and arugula pesto (recipe follows)
1-2 teaspoons of olive oil
1 tablespoon grated parmesan
1/4 cup shredded mozzarella
1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro
Preheat your oven to 450°F, and line a baking sheet with foil. Place your peppers on the sheet. You’ll only need the two for this pizza (or less), but these keep well in the fridge if you want to make a few more to have around. Put them in the oven for about 1 hour, turning halfway through so that they brown evenly on all sides. Remove when they’re brown and deflated.
Once the peppers are cool, remove the skins, stem, and seeds. It’s a little messy, but very easy to do. Slice into smaller pieces and keep wrapped in foil in the fridge until ready to use.
Lightly brush your prepared, rolled out dough with about a teaspoon or so of olive oil—just enough to lightly moisten the dough. This can be done up to an hour before baking time.
Once you’re ready to make the pizza, preheat your oven to 450°F. If you have a pizza stone, put it in the oven while it heats. Also place a broiler pan on a lower rack. Otherwise, grease a cookie sheet or line it with foil. Spread the pesto (about 1/2 cup) over the pizza, leaving an inch or so border for the crust. Top with half the grated parmesan. Lay slices of roasted peppers over the pesto, and top with the shredded mozzarella and the rest of your parmesan.
Slide your pizza (carefully) onto the hot baking stone or onto your prepared pan. Pour about 1/2 cup of water into the broiler pan on the lower shelf and quickly close the oven door while it steams. Bake for about 10-12 minutes, until the cheese is bubbling and begins to brown. Top with cilantro.
No-Work Mostly Whole Wheat Pizza Dough
Makes enough for 2 small-ish pizzas
Only very slightly adapted from The Food Matters Cookbook
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup all-purpose or bread flour, plus more as needed
1/4 teaspoon instant yeast
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 tablespoon olive oil
Combine the flours, yeast, and salt in a large bowl. Stir in 3/4 cups water. The dough should be relatively sticky and wet, like biscuit batter. If not, add a little more water.
Scrape down the sides of the bowl, cover, and put it in a warm spot. Let the dough sit for at least 6 or up to 12 hours (the longer it ferments, the more complex the flavor). I divided the dough in half to make 2 medium-sized very thin-crust pizzas. You can also freeze half of the dough for up to 3 months, or if you prefer a thicker crust, use it all in one go.
Dust your hands with a little white flour and fold your prepared pizza dough over in the bowl a few times. It will be sticky, but don’t use too much flour; dust your hands again only when absolutely necessary and use a light, gentle touch. Working the dough around your fists, stretch it as thin as you can get it without tearing. Then place it on a floured surface, and roll it very thin. It’s not important that it’s perfectly circular, only of fairly uniform thickness (with a thicker edge if you like a crust).
Then top as you wish, and bake according to instructions in the recipe above.
Kale and Arugula Pesto
Makes about 1 cup of pesto
1 1/4 cups kale, stems trimmed
1 1/4 cups arugula
1 scallion, diced
1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro
1/4 cup pine nuts
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 clove garlic, peeled
2-3 teaspoons grated parmesan, or to taste
a few grinds of fresh black pepper
juice of half a lemon
Put all the ingredients in a food processor and pulse until it comes together into a paste. Taste for seasoning and flavor and adjust accordingly. Put it into a jar or covered bowl in the fridge until you’re ready to make your pizza.