Monday, January 10, 2011

Simple, Delicious, Non-Greasy Pizza

When you read as many food blogs as I do, you begin to notice food trends that everyone writes about. Around December, everyone is writing about gift-able recipes like cookies, fudge and various candies, all with seasonal ingredients incorporated in (like ginger, peppermint, etc.). You also notice non-seasonal food trends, like baking certain types of breads or utilizing newly popularized ingredients.

Right now, one of the popular trends seems to be homemade skillet (or pan) pizza. This style of pizza is made using a homemade dough and is cooked in a cast-iron skillet, often with toppings like olive oil, vegetables, marinara sauce, and sparse cheese. My theory is that these have been popularized by the recent movie, "Eat, Pray, Love" which featured a scene in which Julia Roberts ate just such a pizza.

Somewhere along my ramblings through the blogosphere in the past few weeks, I stumbled across a recipe for a pizza fitting the above description that appealed to me simply because the presentation was so beautiful. I have been hunting all over my usual haunts trying to find this post so I could share that picture with you, but I've been unsuccessful. :(

However, it inspired me to try it out for myself. Since I don't have a cast-iron skillet (and if I did, I'm not even sure I'd be able to lift it to the stove), I took out my non-stick frying pan. I knew from the start that this wouldn't quite work out the way I wanted it to, but I was honestly more interested in making the toppings work than in making the skillet idea work. So, in preparation for the inevitable failure of my frying pan method, I preheated my milchig convection oven.

I drizzled a small amount of olive oil in the pan (more for flavor than for lubrication since it was a non-stick pan) and started putting my toppings on. It quickly became apparent that, as I had feared, the bottom was going to cook and the toppings wouldn't even warm up. So I slid my pizza onto a spatula and moved it quickly to the oven to finish cooking. I decided to do this with each pizza because I found that when I allowed the crust to begin cooking in a pan, it was actually possible to transport it to my oven without it falling apart en route.

When they finished baking, the pizzas were delicious without being overly heavy or greasy. I wouldn't call it the healthiest dinner in the world, but it's certainly a step up from your average pizza, and you FEEL healthier when eating it.

That said, I would like to apologize for failing to get pictures. It was just too delicious to last that long!

Non-Greasy Pizza

  • Homemade Pizza Dough (see here for my recipe)
  • 1/2 container of Ricotta cheese
  • 1/4 C mozzarella cheese
  • Basil (ideally fresh, but I only had dried and it worked)
  • Marinara Sauce (preferably one with basil and Tomato chunks)
  • Veggie toppings of your choice (I used canned corn, because it's what I had on hand. I recommend trying spinach, or similarly light toppings. Avoid imposing flavors like green olives)
  1. Roll out your dough to be no larger than your frying pan. (If necessary, portion out into smaller pizzas) I recommend rolling it out pretty thin since it will probably puff while baking.
  2. Mix the mozzarella and ricotta cheeses together.
  3. Drizzle a light amount of olive oil into your pan and begin warming it on the stove at a medium temperature.
  4. When the pan is warm, put your crust in the pan and begin topping it. Spread the sauce in the middle, going until 1/2 inch from the edge of the crust. Sprinkle some basil on top of the sauce, along with any toppings you choose, and place dollops of the cheese mixture around the pizza. Important! Do not put too much cheese on the pizza. You want to have the sauce showing through. Place the small dollops at least an inch apart from each other.
  5. Top with more basil.
  6. Using a spatula, remove the pizza from the pan. The crust should be partially cooked. Enough so that it won't fall apart when it is removed from the pan.
  7. Place the pizza into an oven at 425 degrees farenheit until the cheese and crust start to just brown around the edges. (5-10 minutes)
  8. Remove from the oven and serve. Enjoy!

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