I miss Italy. The sunshine, food, people, art, and the landscape. I loved everything about that country. And so I celebrated Italy tonight and made a pizza. Not just any pizza, but a pizza inspired by my favorite pizza in Rome. If you read this whole post until the bottom of the recipe, you'll see a picture of that very pizza.
You can top your pizza with anything. Some great suggestions are roasted eggplant, zucchini, roasted peppers, olives, spinach, broccoli, fresh garlic, herbs, mushrooms, caramelized onions, and sundried tomatoes. Seriously, the list could go on.
Roman Vegetable Pizza
For the dough:
1 cup lukewarm water
2 tsp instant dry yeast
2 tsp sea salt
2 1/2 cup spelt flour
2 tbsp olive oil
For the toppings:
1/2 cup cooked mushrooms
1/2 cup kalamata olives
5 sundried tomatoes, chopped
2 roasted red peppers, thinly sliced
1/2 cup cooked spinach
1 small zucchini, thinly sliced and lightly sauteed
1 small eggplant, thinly sliced, drizzled in olive oil, and roasted at 400 degrees for 15 minutes until tender
4 cloves fresh garlic
1/4 lb fresh mozzerella cheese, thinly sliced and pressed of all moisture between paper towels
1/2 cup caramelized onions
sauce of your choice
fresh or dried basil and oregano
1. Pour warm water in a medium size bowl. Add salt and yeast and stir. Mix in 2 cups of flour. Gradually add more flour until the dough comes together enough for you to start kneading it. Knead for a couple of minutes, add additional flour if it sticks to your hands. Put the dough back in the bowl and drizzle it with olive oil. Cover the entire dough ball with olive oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and set in a warm place for 1 to 2 hours.
2. Preheat oven to 450. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of cornmeal evenly on a pizza stone and set aside.When the dough has risen for 1 to 2 hours, dust the dough with flour and start kneading it. You will need to add quite a bit of flour to keep it from sticking. Knead dough for about 3-5 minutes. Then, gently stretch and shape the dough in to a circle that will fit the pizza stone (about 12-15 inches in diameter). Very gently place the dough on the pizza stone sprinkled in cornmeal. At this point, do not press on the dough.
3. You may now top your pizza. I like to add sauce first, followed by fresh garlic and herbs. Then, I add the vegetables evenly and top it all with a bit of cheese (although sometimes, I don't even add cheese because the vegetables are so great.)
4. Place the pizza in the oven for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and the crust is cooked through. Keep an eye on the pizza, especially if your oven cooks unevenly. Remove the pizza when it's done and let it cool at least 10 minutes to allow the toppings to set before cutting into it.
And as promised... the Roman pizza itself.
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