Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Deep Dish Veggie Pizza

Hey look everyone-pizza! A very large pizza. Yeah, they ate it for a couple days.

Based on my experience, fresh broccoli (and most vegetables for that matter) don't turn out so terrific on pizza. I cook mine first (earlier in the day, in stages) and the results are much nicer.

This is an absurdly rich, heavy pizza and it takes a good thirty minutes (at least) to bake. Obviously, you can adapt it to toppings you like, and your favourite cheeses. What I'll give you here are the broccoli recipe and the dough. I'll leave the rest to you.

For the broccoli:

1 bunch broccoli, stems removed (save them for stir-fry) and cut into florets
1/2 head garlic, minced
Generous splash of olive oil
Salt and pepper
1 teaspoon dried rosemary, crushed
1 teaspoon dried thyme

Blanch the broccoli for a minute in boiling water. Drain, rinse under cold water and let drain until mostly dry.

In a frying pan, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the broccoli, garlic, spices and seasonings. Cook for about two minutes until the garlic and spices are fragrant. Reduce heat to low and cook slowly until broccoli is fork tender, and garlic is soft. You can add a good amount of oil to this-it should really be swimming. You'll use the extra oil on the pizza to compensate for the dryness of a pizza without sauce. You can make this hours ahead-just keep chilled until needed.

For the dough:

2 cups lukewarm water
3 teaspoons granulated dry yeast
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
1 tablespoon coarse salt (or 2 teaspoons regular table salt)
4-6 cups strong flour (bread flour)

Dissolve the yeast in a large bowl with the water and sugar. Add the salt and the flour, a cup at a time until you have a dough that is able to be kneaded and not sticky. Knead it well and place it in an oiled bowl to rise for about an hour. Punch down, let rise another fifteen minutes before rolling out and fitting into a well-greased round pan.

I like to assemble my pizzas with some of the toppings under the cheese in layers. Do as you like.

Preheat oven to 500 degrees F. with one rack in the lowest position and the other in the centre.

Bake ten minutes on the lowest rack. Reduce heat to 475 degrees F. and continue baking in the centre until done. This is a very thick pizza, so it really needs to bake a good long while for the inside to dry out. If you cut into it at thirty minutes and it still looks doughy, go ahead and give it more time.

Let stand a few minutes before cutting and serving.

Makes one monstrously large pizza.

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