Monday, April 18, 2011

Meatless Monday: You are never too old to learn

Tonight's recipe comes to us courtesy of Sandra Lee.  Oh, I know, she is not held in a lot of respect but I do love her.  Semi-homemade validates a lot of people and opens up a world of cooking.  But tonight she has helped me come close to solving a problem that has plagued me for ages - why can't home made pizza be as good as take-out.

The answer is, of course, that our home ovens cannot come close to the temperatures of the commercial pizza oven.  But like computer problems, Sandra came up with a work-around:  the phased cooking method.

Bake the crust a little bit, bake the fillings until the moisture is gone, add cheese and bake again (this was my little addition).  Genius!!

                             Fresh Veggie Pizza
Servings: 4    
                        Nonstick cooking spray
1/2  pound  fresh pizza dough -- I make a dough from Mario Batalli recipe
                        All-purpose flour -- for dusting
2 tablespoons  olive oil
1/2 cup  Tomato Sauce -- Prego, Bertolli, your choice
2 cups  shredded Pizza cheese -- this is one 8 ounce bag
1/2 cup  white mushrooms -- sliced (they come this way from the grocer!)
1/2 cup  zucchini slices -- lengthwise slices with vegetable peeler
1/4 cup  green pepper -- diced or red pepper
1/4 cup  red onion -- sliced or yellow or white, what the heck, it's onion
                        Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Spray a 13 by 18-inch baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray.
Roll out pizza dough on a floured work surface into a rectangle about the same size as the baking sheet. I kind of lift and pull the dough at this point.
Place the dough onto the baking sheet, brush with olive oil and using a fork, dot holes all over the crust. Let rest for 10 minutes then bake in oven for 8 minutes.
Remove the pizza crust from oven and top with the sauce, half the cheese and the vegetables. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.  Bake pizza for 15 to 20 minutes or until crust is golden brown and vegetables are browning along the edges.
Top with remaining cheese and bake until golden brown and bubbly - 10-15 minutes

This was awesome.  The staged cooking finally got past the soggy factor.  The two of us ate an entire pizza, and yes I know it was 4 servings.  But it was Veggie, for crying out loud.  Give me a break. 

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