Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Gourmet(ish) Vegetarian Pizza

Joe and I are both pizza fiends. Can't get enough of it. But since trying to take a more healthful approach to life, our pizza intake has seriously decreased. One of our guilty pleasures is the gourmet vegetarian pizza from Papa Murphy's. Well, I had a hankering for said pizza the other night but didn't feel like spending the money to buy it (or driving the whole ONE mile to the store) so I whipped together a knock-off version and it actually turned out pretty tasty! Joe's experience at Dominos makes him an excellent pizza crust slinger so all I had to do was make the dough (shockingly easy) and slice and dice the toppings. The end result was delicious, healthy(ish), and cheap!

Gourmet Vegetarian Pizza (+ bacon so really it's not vegetarian at all)
Serves: 3-4 (or just 2 if you are being piggy like Joe and me)

1 packet active dry yeast
1/2 tsp. brown sugar
1 1/2 cups warm water
1 TBL olive oil
1/2 tsp. salt
3 1/3 cups flour (I use a 50/50 blend of all purpose and whole wheat)

1. In a small bowl, mix together the brown sugar and warm water. Sprinkle the yeast on top of the water. Let sit till frothy, 7-10 minutes. 
2. Stir the salt and oil into the yeast mixture and slowly mix in the flour. If you are the hand-kneeding type, only add 2 1/3 cups flour to the mix and add the remaining 1 cup as you kneed the dough. I am a cheatercheaterpumpkineater and prefer to use my Kitchenaid with the dough hook. Kneed for about ten minutes or until the dough is no longer sticky.
3. Place dough in an oiled bowl and cover with a cloth. Let it rise for about an hour. Once it has risen, punch it down into a nice tight ball. Let it rest for a few minutes before you stretch the dough onto the pan.
4. I have found that it helps to cook the dough a couple of minutes at 425 before adding the toppings, but this is an optional step.

1 cup light ranch dressing ( I don't actually know how much I used, I just eyeballed it. Use as much as you see fit and save the leftovers for sandwiches!)
1 tsp. minced garlic

1. Mix ranch and garlic and let sit for a while (the longer the better) to let the flavors fuse.

Red Onions
Green Onions
Artichoke Hearts
Italian Herbs

Final assembly simply requires adding the sauce atop the pizza and then layering as many of the veggies as you like. The Papa Murphy's version has mushrooms which we are not fans of so I just add bacon instead. Make sure you cut the zucchini into really thin rounds otherwise it will remain crunchy. I usually intersperse thin layers of cheese between each layer of veggies so that everything holds together. Cook at 425 on the rack just below the middle for about 10-15 minutes or until the cheese is golden brown and perfectly melty.

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