Monday, August 19, 2013

Pizza with Herb Crust, Roasted Veggies, and Fontina

Joey and I love to make homemade pizza. Sometimes it's completely homemade, with homemade sauce and crust. Sometimes we cheat a bit and use store-bought pizza dough. Last Tuesday night, we decided to cheat a bit. We both were going to be home late, so we bought some garlic and herb pizza dough from Trader Joe's. We roasted a bunch of veggies Monday night, so all we would have to do on Tuesday was assemble and bake.

Veggies, ready to be cooked

This isn't exactly a recipe, so I'm not going to do this in the typical recipe format. Pizza is so easy to make, and you can use whatever you have on hand. For example, we didn't have any "pizza sauce" so we used an open jar of pasta sauce in the fridge (vodka sauce, if you're curious).

With purchased pizza dough, you have to keep it refrigerated until you're ready to use it. You can freeze it for longer storage, but then you should thaw it in the fridge at least overnight. Put a pizza stone on the bottom rack in your oven, and turn the oven to 450 or 500 F, whatever your oven goes to. Take out the pizza dough from the fridge, and let it sit out for ~20 minutes.

Start bringing out your ingredients. You want something for a base sauce, some kind of meat and/or vegetable toppings, and some kind of cheese.

Options for base: olive oil and garlic, white sauce, pesto, red sauce
Options for toppings: meat - sausage, pepperoni; veggies - sliced, cooked zucchini and eggplant, sauteed mushroms, onions and peppers, fresh tomatoes
Options for cheese: any cheese works here - fontina, mozzarella, ricotta, goat, feta, etc

While our pizza was sitting out (still in the bag, as it instructs), I pulled out our container of homemade pesto, the cooked veggies from the night before, a big wedge of fontina, and the pasta sauce. I shredded the fontina using the large holes on a box grater. Sprinkle a pizza peel and your pizza stone with cornmeal - go light on the pizza stone, but go heavy on the pizza peel.

When it's ready, flour your hands and remove the dough from the plastic wrapping. Either roll it out on a floured board, or stretch it out gently with your hands, until it is not too thick. Place it on the prepared pizza peel. Using a spoon or offset spatula, spread sauce on the pizza. We did pesto on half and pasta sauce on the other half. Cover with veggies. Sprinkle cheese on top - we used ~1 cup of fontina.

Give the pizza peel a shake, to make sure the dough isn't sticking anywhere. Open the oven door, and carefully shake the peel to let the pizza slide off onto the stone. Depending on how thick your pizza is, and the temp in your oven, it can take anywhere from 8-20 minutes to cook. Keep an eye on it - check the bottom of the crust from time to time. Once the pizza is ready, take your pizza peel (shake off the cornmeal that was on it from before, first), and slide it under the pizza. Lift up and pull it out.

Let the pizza rest for a few minutes, then slice using a sharp knife or pizza cutter.