Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Pesto, Olive, Onion and Mushroom Pizza or POOM Pizza

Is there anything better than Pizza? Lets be honest here, the answer is simply no. I could probably eat pizza every day for the rest of my life. Unfortunately I would also like to live beyond 40, and not be 500 pounds, so probably cant have an all pizza diet.

I have learned ways to make pizza healthier, and it can be a good way to get vegetables in those picky eaters. You can do so much with pizza, and it can be a great thing to have your kids help you make. Pizza is so versatile, its great for potlucks, sleepovers, pretty much anything you can imagine.

With this pizza I made my own crust, with LOTS of help from healthy boyfriend. He is the one that first got me started on making my own crust. He often used all whole wheat flour which I found to be to stiff. But he is a master of kneading the dough, and rolling it out. You do have to let your dough rise, though not as long as you might think. Making dough can be tricky, and may take a few times of trial and error to find the dough thats right for you. Some like it thicker, others prefer a nice thin crust, so you have to play around with it. Which is awesome, because who doesn't like playing with dough!

I would eventually like to make a mostly wheat crust, but the gluten content in wheat flour makes that difficult. Also I just love a good white flour pizza crust, I just do. Grrrrr.

I didn't make my own sauce, that will have to be next time. There are fairly decent jarred sauces out there, but of course homemade is always healthier because you know all the ingredients in it. That said, jarred sauce is a savior when when you only have an hour to put food on the table.

I listed the ingredients I put on my pizza, of course use what you have and know you like. Pizza can also be a great way to use vegetables you have leftover from other dishes. The toppings I used were just that, leftovers, from other dishes. The pesto was excellent as a topping, though I wouldn't make a batch just for pizza. Unless you wanted to use it as the sauce.

Note: When making the dough, if it starts getting too tough, let is rise for about 20 minutes, and then knead in a bit more water. If still tough, let it rise another 20 minutes and add more water.

Pesto, Olive, Onion and Mushroom Pizza AKA POOM Pizza

The Goods: Makes one 12 inch pizza, serves 3-4

The Parmesan Crust: makes one 12 inch crust
1/2 cup Wheat flour
1 1/2 cup White flour
1 packet active dry yeast(2 1/4 teaspoons)
2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for brushing crust
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon of salt
2/3-1 cup of hot water(120-130 F)
1/4-1/2 cup parmesan, plus more for topping

1 cup button mushrooms, chopped
1/2 cup onions, diced or sliced
1 small can black olives
3-4 cups mozzarella, shredded
1 jar good pizza sauce(newmans marinara is good, as is Trader Joes pizza sauce)
1/2 cup homemade pesto(see toasted gnocci and spinach pesto post)

The Deal:
1. Combine 2/3 cup of warm water with the yeast. Let stand until it rises and is creamy, about 3-5 minutes.

2. In a separate bowl combine both flours, salt, and sugar. Add the yeast mix, and oil and combine with your hands until a ball forms. If its too dry, add a bit more water. If too wet add a bit more flour, both slowly. Once the ball is formed let stand covered for 20 minutes.

3. Preheat your oven to 450 degrees F.  Flour a large flat surface. Get a rolling pin, flour it, and then roll your dough out. Once rolled place on a pizza pan, before you top it. Its easier to move before you put toppings on. If there is over hang, roll excess dough slightly inward and pinch down, creating your outer crust.

4. Lightly brush your crust with olive oil. Sprinkle parmesan over the crust, rolling it in to help it adhere. Then sauce your pizza with a spoon, spreading the sauce evenly.

5. I order my toppings like this, first I sprinkle a light layer of mozzarella and parmesan. Then I put mushrooms, onions, olives and with a knife I place small dollops of pesto like the other toppings. I then put another thin layer of cheese.

6. Place pizza in oven for 15-20 minutes or until the crust in lightly browned and the cheese is bubbling. Let cool for 5 minutes before serving. Slice it up and enjoy your homemade pizza.

 Pictures are before pizza is baked.

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