A couple weeks ago, we went to visit friends in Point Reyes. They stay in a beautiful spot, perched high on a hill overlooking the Tomales Bay wetlands. Sweeping views, fabulous bird watching (if you’re into that kinda thing), lots of opportunity to soak in the fabulousness of northern California.
And the best part of all – the outdoor, wood-fired pizza oven. I just love it.
Despite the 45-degree temps and knock-you-over winds, we fired up the oven and started prepping toppings for all EIGHT pizzas that were to follow. We ended up with a few “purist” pizzas for the younger set, others that were piled high with everything from artichokes to prosciutto, and one that took on an unusual twist, covered in don’t-know-exactly-what-you’re-going-to-get green chilies.
I tried every single one, still hot right out of the oven. They were all delicious AND different. I guess that is one of the things that I have always loved most about pizza. There are no hard and fast rules to follow. In the mood for sweet? Sure, throw on some pears or grapes. Looking for something a bit more savory? Try caramelized onions, turkey sausage or roasted red peppers. All are delicious in their own way.
Inspired by our Point Reyes pizza feast, we fired up our much loved, worse-for-wear pizza stone this week. Then we got creative, making use of as many things as we could from the fridge. We ended up with pear & prosciutto (a success), broccoli pesto & turkey sausage (a somewhat failed attempt to sneak broccoli past my kids) and roasted root veggies with thyme (always my fav). We didn’t have the sweeping views, the wonderful company or the outdoor pizza oven but we still had great pizza.
WHOLE WHEAT PIZZA DOUGH
1 package active yeast (don’t let it scare you away)
1 1/2 cup lukewarm water
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon olive oil
- Add the yeast to a large mixing bowl. Cover with 1/2 cup of water. Allow to sit for 10 minutes while the yeast dissolves.
- Add the flour, salt, olive oil and remaining water. Mix well, combining all the ingredients thoroughly. Continue kneading until the dough becomes smooth. Add more flour, if needed. This should take anywhere from 7-10 minutes.
- Coat a large mixing bowl with olive oil. Place the dough in the bowl, cover with a towel and set aside in a warm place. Allow the dough to rise until it doubles in size, about 1 hour.
- Punch down the dough and let it rest again for another 10 minutes.
- Divide the dough into two equal size pieces. Either use them immediately or freeze them for future use. If you do freeze them, be sure that they are completely thawed before trying to use them.
Makes 2 pizza crusts.
ROASTED ROOT VEGETABLE PIZZA
1 medium parsnip. cut into 1/2″ pieces
1 medium red onion, cut into eighths
2 tablespoons olive oil
sea salt & freshly ground pepper
1 1/2 cup Gruyere cheese, shredded
1 1/2 fontina cheese, shredded
1 1/2 tablespoon fresh thyme, chopped
- Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
- Add the sweet potato, parsnip and onion to a large mixing bowl. Add the olive oil and mix well. Season with a generous pinch of salt and ground pepper.
- Spread out evenly on a parchment lined baking sheet. Cook in the oven until the sweet potatoes and parsnips are cooked through, about 20 minutes.
- Meanwhile, roll out your dough to the desired thickness. I recommend using a pizza stone. If you don’t have one on hand, a parchment lined baking sheet will work as well.
- Add the toppings starting with the vegetables. Cover with the cheese and top with thyme.
- Cook in the oven until the cheese has melted and the edges of the pizza crust start to brown, about 12 to 15 minutes.