To thank my parents for having me stay while the band is in town, I did something I’ve been dying to do for ages: make pizza.
Pizza is very, very rare at my parents’ house. We never made it as kids, except for maybe one or two times before the Healthy Food Revolution when we’d bake a frozen pizza as a treat. And in the last few years, everyone in my family has discovered that we are gluten-intolerant, making pizza consumption a challenging endeavor in general.
I don’t normally serve food prepared from mixes, but since I was cooking for others and have limited (er, zero) experience using yeast and making pizza, I was not too proud to use Bob’s Red Mill gluten-free pizza crust mix, which delivers a flavorful and slightly chewy crust. While it doesn’t present like gorgeous homemade wheat flour crust, the texture and flavor are head and shoulders above the other grainy, breadlike, and cardboardlike “gluten-free” crusts I’ve endured in the last three years of gluten-freedom.
Be warned that this dough is very sticky after it has risen, so I used olive oil (per the package) to grease my hands and parchment paper surface before working the dough into a “rustic” rectangular shape.
But we haven’t even talked about the toppings! Both delicious, these pizzas couldn’t have two more different characters.
Take a bite, or a whole pie. I know you want it!
Pizza Crust (Gluten-Free)
- One package of Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-Free Pizza Crust mix (includes yeast packet)
- 1 ½ cups warm water (between 110F and 115F)
- 2 eggs
- 2 tbsp. olive oil
Warm water to 110-115F. Use a thermometer to make sure the water is the right temperature, or you will harm your yeast. When water is at temperature, mix in the yeast and let stand for a few minutes. Whisk in eggs and olive oil, then add Bob’s Red Mill mix and mix with a spoon (or in a mixer with a bread hook) until thoroughly combined. Divide into two bowls, cover with saran wrap, and let rise for 20-25 minutes. Dough will double in size.
Line a baking sheet with parchment and lightly coat with olive oil. Oil your hands and shape pizza dough into a wide and flat shape 1/3 inch deep. Bake for 7-9 minutes or until the middle resists the pressure of your fingers, but the edges are not yet brown. Add toppings and continue to bake until edges are golden brown.
Pizza Margherita with Grape Tomatoes and Fennel Seed
- 1 cup grape tomatoes, cut in half lengthwise (or cherry tomatoes)
- 1 cup onions, chopped into heavy slivers
- 1/3 cup chopped fresh basil
- 2 heads of garlic, pressed or finely minced
- ¼ tsp. ground fennel seed
- ¼ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
- 8 oz. fresh mozzarella
- 2/3 cup grated pecorino romano
Pre-heat oven to 425F. Heat olive oil in a large skillet. Cook onions until just tender, about 5 minutes. Add tomatoes and sauté until the skin wrinkles and tomatoes start to deconstruct. Remove from heat and stir in basil, garlic, fennel seed, and black pepper.
Cover crust with an even layer of mozzarella and pecorino romano. Add tomato mixture on top. Bake for 12-15 minutes, or until toppings melt and combine and crust is golden-brown on edges. Remove, slice, and serve.
Pizza with Truffled Arugula and Prosciutto
- 2 cups arugula
- truffle oil or truffled olive oil
- olive oil
- ¼ lb. prosciutto
- 1 clove garlic, crushed
- freshly-ground black pepper
- 6 oz. fresh mozzarella
- 1/3 cup grated Emmentaler cheese
- 1 cup grated sheep or goat Gouda, or similarly deep- and sharp-flavored, semi-soft cheese (Gruyere would do it)
Pre-heat oven to 425F. Rub crust with garlic and cover with an even layer of all three cheeses. Bake for 12 minutes, until cheese is melted and crust is golden-brown on the edges. In the meantime, toss arugula with olive oil, a tiny dash of truffle oil, and black pepper. Take pizza out of the oven, place arugula on top, and finish with prosciutto slices. You can either put the pizza back in the oven for 1-2 minutes to “finish” the prosciutto and wilt the arugula, or serve as is.