Tag Archives: pizza

Our Favorite Mediterranean Pizza with Sourdough Crust

Forbidden Rice Blog | Our Favorite Mediterranean Pizza

I will tell you right now — when it comes to pizza, I have zero shame. When Pizza Night shows up (at least once a week) I get really excited. I spend copious amounts of time plotting and planning my attack. If there are three of us, I am guaranteed to make at least three large pizzas. If there are four or five of us, I will most certainly make four or five large pizzas. That essentially ends up being, rationally, about 16 slices of pizza per person. Let’s not do any calorie counting.

Around here, Pizza Night entails at least two guaranteed pies. There will be a cheese pizza. It’ll likely be topped with five to eight different cheeses, depending on what I have on hand (don’t most normal people have at least eight different types of cheese around the majority of the time?!). The other staple is this pizza. The Mediterranean. It’s a great way to sneak spinach into Pizza Night (seriously). It has also become the one pizza that disappears just as quickly as the cheese slices do — a sure sign of success in our house.

My husband refers to olives as “little nasties” so often I leave them off then add them on to individual slices. You can approach that however you please.

Forbidden Rice Blog | Our Favorite Mediterranean Pizza

Our Favorite Mediterranean Pizza with Sourdough Crust

Makes one large pizza.

Ingredients:

For the pizza dough:
1/4 cup warm water (110-115 degrees F)
1 tablespoon sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons yeast
1 cup sourdough starter
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
2 cups all-purpose flour (plus 1/4-1/2 cup more)
2 tablespoons vital wheat gluten

For the pizza:
1/3 cup marinara sauce
2 tablespoons prepared pesto
6.5 ounce jar of artichoke hearts
3 ounces fresh spinach
6 large crimini mushrooms, sliced
1/4 cup sliced peperoncinis
8-10 kalamata olives, halved
2 small roma tomato, cut into 1/4-inch thick slices
4 ounces crumbled feta
6 ounces shredded mozzarella
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese

Forbidden Rice Blog | Our Favorite Mediterranean Pizza

Directions:

Prepare the dough:  in the bowl of your stand mixer, combine the warm water, sugar, and yeast. Stir to submerge the yeast. Allow the mixture to sit and proof for 3-5 minutes, until frothy. Add in the sourdough starter, salt, and half of the flour. Use the dough hook to mix the ingredients until they just come together (2-ish minutes). Turn the mixer off and allow the mixture to rest for 15 minutes.

Once rested, add the remaining flour and vital wheat gluten to the mixture. Use the dough hook to work the dough into a semi-sticky ball. Continue kneading for about 6-8 minutes. By touch, the dough will probably seem really sticky. But lightly dust some flour on it and voila! the stickiness goes away. Lightly coat the bowl with olive oil, turning the dough in it once, to coat. Cover the bowl and allow the dough to rise until doubled (about 1 – 1½ hours).

Prepare the pizza:  preheat your oven and a large pizza stone at 550 degrees F (if your oven only goes up to 500, that’s okay) for at least 20 minutes.

Turn the dough out to a lightly floured surface. Use a rolling pin to roll the dough to about 1/2-inch thick. Place the dough on your preheated pizza stone, working quickly. Start at the center of the dough, working outwards, using your fingertips to press the dough to about a 1/4-inch thick, gently stretching the dough until it reaches the diameter you want (I got a 16-inch pizza). You can create a lip, or raised crust, if you want (I prefer not). Prick with a fork about 8 times all over the dough then bake for about 5 minutes, until cooked, but not long enough to brown the crust.

Spread the marinara and pesto sauce both on the prebaked pizza crust, followed by the spinach, artichoke hearts, mushrooms, peperoncinis, olives, tomatoes, then lastly the cheese. Bake for 12-15 minutes, depending on how well-or-not-well-done you like your pizza top! Let the pizza rest for 5-10 minutes before cutting and serving.

Forbidden Rice Blog | Our Favorite Mediterranean Pizza

Tomato and Herb Pizza

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Sometimes it seems unfortunate to me, that during this time of year, when the produce is at its peak, plentiful in the garden or markets, and completely versatile as far as what’s available, there are many summer days where the last thing I want to do is cook anything. Or turn on any heat in the house. Or think about how cooking means a buttload of dishes that will stretch from one side of the kitchen to the other, begging to be washed afterwards.

But then there are other days where the vastness of what’s fresh and available to me is a complete inspiration. I planted fewer tomatoes this year than I have for the last couple years, but included various types I’ve never grown before. All that we’ve had ripen so far are golden grape tomatoes, which have been sweet, pretty to look at, and perfect for snacking on straight out of the garden. There are lots of cherry tomatoes available, too, just not out of my backyard. I love the bold colors of the different tomato strains and when I picked up a pint of miscellaneous cherry tomatoes, a pizza that featured their pop of color immediately seemed to grab my attention.

I decided to forego any other sauce, with the intention of relying on the cherry tomatoes bursting in the oven, creating a sort of sauce of their own. This pizza is very simplistic, but the focus is on the fresh ingredients. You could serve this as a dinner pizza, or even as an appetizer, or accompaniment to some pasta.

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Cherry Tomato and Herb Pizza

Makes one 13×18-inch pizza.

Ingredients:

For the dough:
2 cups plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon sugar
3/4 cup warm water
olive oil for pan

For the pizza:
1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
6 cloves garlic, chopped finely
1/2 cup chopped fresh herbs of your liking (I used basil, oregano, parsley, thyme and tarragon)
1 8-ounce ball of fresh mozzarella
1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese
salt and pepper

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Directions:

Prepare the dough: Stir together the flour, yeast, salt and sugar in bowl. Add the water, then use a spoon or your hands to mix everything together until blended into a ball of dough (this should take no more than a few minutes).

Cover the dough and let it rise at room temperature for about 2 hours. It may be slightly less than doubled in size.

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Pizza time!: Preheat your oven to 500° F. Dump the dough onto a lightly floured surface. Generously oil a 13×18 inch rimmed baking sheet with a good quality olive oil. Gently place a ball of dough on the pan, stretching and pressing it out toward the edges. If it springs back wait five minutes and then continue. The dough is very thin. If it tears, simply pinch it back together.

Arrange the halved tomatoes evenly on the dough, cut side up or down doesn’t matter. Sprinkle on the chopped garlic and herbs. Break the mozzarella up into small chunks and place those evenly over the pizza, too. Sprinkle on the parmesan and a slightly generous amount of salt and pepper.

Bake for 18-20 minutes until the edges are slightly charred. Cut the pizza into squares and serve.

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Meatless Monday: Pesto Mushroom Pizza

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Today is my last day of being 28. Truth be told, it feels like one of those super non-monumental birthdays. 29: it’s not quite 30, but far enough from 21 that the need to overindulge feels unnecessary. I prefer a quiet celebration and always have. Last year I requested doughnuts and received a dozen. (I love good old fashioned fried, yeast-risen, glaze doughnuts.) This year, I haven’t requested much of anything and am entirely okay with that.

The thing is, I don’t feel like I need much of anything. Want? Sure, but non-monumental things, like the laundry to do itself and the dishes, even more so. I’d like sunshine and my body in a body of water. Preferably saltwater. A few cookbooks. My garden to miraculously start dumping out produce.

I would happily enjoy a day in the sunshine followed by bourbon on the rocks and good pizza. Really though, I look forward to no-frills low key hanging out with my husband on the day the kids are officially out of school for the summer. I told him to surprise me, but don’t feel like we need to do anything, because I am perfectly content with having a day where I don’t have anything to do. ;)

If I had to indulge in one particular pizza for my 29th birthday, it would be the following. While I am no pizza connoisseur, but I will tell you the following pizza crust is dynamite. It’s easy and tasty, crisp and soft simultaneously, and the current obsession in our home. And I’ll also be the first to tell you that when it comes to mushrooms of any sort, generally I am hesitant at best. Somehow though, when I first made this pizza, I was instantly enamored. Silas has been a fan all along, too, despite his declaration of “I don’t really like mushrooms.”

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Pesto Mushroom Pizza

Yields one 13×18-inch pizza

Ingredients:

For the dough:
2 cups plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon sugar
3/4 cup warm water
olive oil for pan

For the pizza:
5 fresh shiitake mushrooms, sliced into thin strips
1/4 pound oyster mushrooms, sliced into bite-size pieces
3 ounces pesto (fresh or store-bought)
8 ounces shredded mozzarella
2 tablespoons crumbled feta cheese
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon granulated garlic
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper

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Directions:

Stir together the flour, yeast, salt and sugar in bowl. Add the water, then use a spoon or your hands to mix everything together until blended into a ball of dough (this should take no more than a few minutes).

Cover the dough and let it rise at room temperature for about 2 hours. It may be slightly less than doubled in size.

Once the dough has risen, preheat your oven to 500 degrees F. Generously oil a 13×18-inch pan with olive oil. Dump the dough onto a lightly floured surface. Generously oil a 13×18 inch rimmed baking sheet with a good quality olive oil. Gently place a ball of dough on the pan, stretching and pressing it out toward the edges. If it springs back wait five minutes and then continue. The dough is very thin. If it tears, simply pinch it back together.

Spread the pesto evenly over the dough. Arrange the sliced mushrooms around the pesto evenly. Sprinkle the top with the mozzarella, feta, salt, garlic, and pepper. Bake for 18-20 minutes until the edges are slightly charred. Let the pizza cool for 5 minutes, then cut into 12 squares. Serve immediately or at room temperature.

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Meatless Monday: Morel Pizza with Leeks, Shallots and Goat Cheese

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I feel like I should apologize for sharing a pizza recipe with you… AGAIN… But really, I’m not that sorry. We have been eating a lot of homemade pizza recently. This recipe has changed our lives… It’s no lie that we have had pizza every week since its discovery.

The thing about homemade pizza people seem to get tripped up about is the supposed difficulty in working with yeast. As per my usual cooking technique, I have always approached homemade bread making and yeast with a gung-ho, what’s the worst that could happen attitude. The worst thing, your yeast doesn’t proof or the bread doesn’t rise. While disappointing, that’s not the end of the world. This dough doesn’t leave a whole lot of room for failure though, being that it’s so simple. Add the dough ingredients to a bowl, mix (no stand mixer, bread machine, or kneading required!) wait, wait, wait… press, top, bake, EAT.

I have found that a limited number of topping ingredients are part of the beauty in making a good pizza. Minimal, GOOD QUALITY ingredients, that is. Recently a friend gave us a handful of fresh Oregon morels he’d found while mushroom hunting. I had never tried morels before, as I am generally not a huge fan of mushrooms. I’ve tried to be more open minded about them recently and have actually enjoyed them. We decided to use these particular mushrooms on the following pizza, which was deliciously successful. If you’re unable to get your hands on fresh morels, I imagine fresh shiitake mushrooms would also work nicely since they too are somewhat “meaty” in consistency.

This pizza was incredible while still hot from the oven. Better yet, cooled almost to room temperature! And let’s not forget about reheating the next day in the toaster oven…

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Morel Pizza with Leeks, Shallots, and Goat Cheese

Yields one 13×18-inch pizza

Ingredients:

For the dough:
2 cups plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon sugar
3/4 cup warm water
olive oil for pan

For the pizza:
1 shallot, peeled and cut thinly
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 large leek, green parts removed then cut thinly
4-6 large morels, cleaned then sliced semi-thinly
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 ball fresh mozzarella
2 ounces mild goat cheese
2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese
salt and pepper

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Directions:

Prepare the dough: Stir together the flour, yeast, salt and sugar in bowl. Add the water, then use a spoon or your hands to mix everything together until blended into a ball of dough (this should take no more than a few minutes).

Cover the dough and let it rise at room temperature for about 2 hours. It may be slightly less than doubled in size.

Once the dough has risen, preheat your oven to 500 degrees F. Generously oil a 13×18-inch pan with olive oil. Dump the dough onto a lightly floured surface. Generously oil a 13×18 inch rimmed baking sheet with a good quality olive oil. Gently place a ball of dough on the pan, stretching and pressing it out toward the edges. If it springs back wait five minutes and then continue. The dough is very thin. If it tears, simply pinch it back together.

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Heat the oil and butter in a pan over medium-high heat until the butter melts completely. Add in the shallot, garlic, leeks and sliced morels, stirring to coat everything well. Saute until the leeks and shallot are tender (12-15 minutes). Spread the mixture over the prepared dough (including any residual oil/butter from the pan) , all the way out to the edges. Break the mozzarella into chunks and arrange it over the top, followed by the goat cheese, parmesan, and a sprinkling of salt and pepper. Bake for 18-20 minutes until the edges are slightly charred.

Let the pizza sit for 5 minutes before cutting into 12 squares. This pizza is also great at just above room temperature!

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A Delicious Mediterranean Pizza

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When we were trying to decide on what to have for Christmas dinner I voted for homemade pizza. One, because I’ve got it down to an art that feels hassle-free. Two, because it tastes good (seeing as pizza is my favorite food group). Three, because there is no wrong day to eat pizza – certainly even on Christmas. But my husband requested comfort food, which also goes over well with everyone else. There will certainly be mashed potatoes, gravy, homemade cranberry sauce, creamy macaroni and cheese, garlic green beans, a vegan roast, homemade cinnamon rolls early in the morning…

I decided that we’d just have pizza earlier in the week. So we did. When we used to go out for pizza, the Mediterranean was always a hit. Generally it’s vegetarian already, but easily made so even if that requires asking for no chicken, or whatever meat may be included. Toppings often include feta, olives, and artichoke hearts, along with some variety, restaurant to restaurant. I’m glad the days of eating pizza out in restaurants are behind us, unless we’re travelling. The local pizza place we used to order an incredible Mediterranean pie from charges $25.25 for a 16-inch pizza. I can make three large pizzas for less than $25 that satisfies every family members’ preferred topping choices. Plus they taste better than many places we can get pizza from, reasonably!

With that, I present my go-to take on this pizza. It’s a great vegetarian option even for non-vegetarians. If you want to keep this pizza from being spicy at all, you can cut back the number of pepperoncinis and leave off the red chili flakes. Personally, I like the spiciness along with the saltiness of the olives and feta!

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Mediterranean Pizza

Makes one large (16-18 in.) pizza

Ingredients:

½ recipe of this dough, or enough of your preferred recipe for 1 ball of pizza dough
¾ cup prepared marinara sauce
1 1/2 – 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
6 oz. jar of marinated artichoke hearts, drained
one 2.25 oz. can sliced black olives, drained
5-6 whole pepperoncini, sliced with stems removed
2 oz. feta cheese
3 oz. fresh spinach
1/4 teaspoon red chili flakes (optional)
1 roma tomato, diced into small cubes
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried basil

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Directions:

Preheat your oven to the highest setting it will go (ours goes to 550°F). If using a pizza stone, place it in the oven to preheat as well, for at least 30 minutes.

Roll out the pizza dough on a lightly floured surface, into a 16-18 inch round (approx. the size of your pizza stone or pan). Place on your preheated stone, working quickly. Prick with a fork all over 8-10 times. Bake the dough for 2-4 minutes, until not doughy, but also not browned at all.

Spread the sauce evenly around the pizza dough, starting at the center and working your way out towards the crust. Evenly place the spinach all over the sauce. Next, sprinkle on about 3/4 of the shredded mozzarella. Arrange the artichoke hearts, olives, pepperoncini, feta, and diced tomato all over the pizza. Next, add the remaining cheese. Sprinkle on the chili flakes, oregano, and basil.

Bake for 12-15 minutes, until golden on top and the crust, nicely browned. Allow the pizza to cool slightly, then cut and serve.

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