I have to admit, though, if there is one non-dessert food item that I find myself craving -- dare I say -- as much as I crave brownies, it would have to be pizza.
I know there are a TON of great trendy and atypical pizza recipes out there: pizza bianca, pizza margherita, and even this new-fangled black and gold pizza, but I really prefer the typical (some might say boring) tomato sauce and mozarella cheese pizza.
See, this meanie was raised in New York City and grew up eating and loving New York City pizza. And although I had the occasional encounter with the non red-and-white pizzas, something always left me wishing I had a cup of tomato sauce for dipping and a sprinkle of mozarella cheese.
I never understood why pizza got such a bad rap as being unhealthy. Bread, tomatoes, and cheese...what's not healthy? For my version, I use a homemade whole wheat crust, part-skim mozarella, and tons of veggies. This pizza defies being labeled as junk food. The crust is crispy, wholesome, and sturdy -- which makes nice for holding up all those veggies. It is not like the typical chewy, floppy NYC pizza crust, but considering how frequently I make this recipe, I think this is a great healthy alternative.
I usually make my pizza the same way: dough, tomato paste/sauce, mozarella cheese - and then experiment with different toppings. And I ALWAYS make two pizzas, because you can never have too much.
This week I went with Pizza#1 - Greek style: fresh spinach, artichoke hearts, olives, and feta, and Pizza#2: roasted red pepper, roasted fennel, mushrooms, and fontina.
Whole Wheat Pizza Dough (makes enough for two pizzas; adapted from allrecipes):
- 1 teaspoon honey
- 1 1/2 cups warm water
- 1 tablespoon active dry yeast
- 1 tablespoon + 1 tsp olive oil
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 cups whole wheat flour
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- In a large bowl, dissolve sugar in warm water. Sprinkle yeast over the top, and let stand for about 10 minutes, until foamy.
- Stir the olive oil and salt into the yeast mixture, then mix in the whole wheat flour and all-purpose flour until dough starts to come together. Tip dough out onto a floured surface and knead until the ball of dough becomes smooth, about 10 minutes. Place dough in an oiled bowl, and turn to coat the surface. Cover loosely with a damp towel, and let stand in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
- When the dough is doubled, tip the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Form into a tight ball. Let rise for about 45 minutes, until doubled.
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C). Divide dough into 2 pieces. Roll each ball of dough with a rolling pin until it will not stretch any further. Then, drape it over both of your fists, and gently pull the edges outward, while rotating the crust. When the circle has reached the desired size, place on a well oiled pizza pan.
- Bake for 8 minutes in the preheated oven, until the crust is slightly crisp and golden at the edges.
- Remove from oven. Increase oven to 500 degrees F. Add sauce, cheese, and toppings, and bake for 10 minutes.