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Thin Crust Italian Pizza

September 6, 2011

This dough will make two 13 x 18 inch pizzas (8 slices each).  If you don’t want to make both pizzas you can refrigerate half the dough until the next day or freeze it in an oiled freezer bag. Just thaw it overnight in the fridge and then take it out and let it get to room temperature before making the pizza. The dough recipe and most of the topping suggestions are from My Bread by Jim Lahey. All these pizzas can be served hot or at room temperature.

This one is My Pizza

3 ¾ cups bread flour

2 ½ tsp instant yeast

¾ tsp salt

¾ tsp + a pinch sugar

1 1/3 cups room-temperature water

olive oil for the pans

Mix all the ingredients in a bowl (except oil). Cover and let sit at room temperature for about 2 hours, until doubled in volume. Scrape dough out onto a floured surface. Divide in half and cover with a moistened kitchen towel for 30 minutes.

Put some oil on the baking sheets and spread it around with your fingers.  Place a piece of dough (floured side up) on the oiled pan and gently stretch it the length of the pan. Gently pull and push and stretch the dough to make an even layer across the whole pan…or as far as you can (try not to overwork the dough).  Top the pizza, putting slightly more toppings around the edge than the middle, since the edges cook faster. Bake at 500 degrees F for 25-35 minutes, depending on the toppings.

Toppings Ideas:  (I’ve made all of these, I just don’t always remember to take pictures…I’ll work on that)

Pomodoro (Tomato) What, no cheese? I have sometimes added bits of goat cheese or mozzarella to this, but you need to do it near the end of the cooking time.  It’s good with or without cheese.

Mix drained can tomatoes (from one 14 ½ oz. can) with ¾ cup of the reserved juice, 1 ½ tsp olive oil, and ¼ tsp salt in a blender or food processor.  Ladle the liquid onto the dough evenly, with a little more around the edges. Bake at 500 degrees F for 25 to 30 minutes, until the edges are slightly charred and the crust is pulling away from the pan.

Funghi (Mushroom) I never liked mushrooms on my pizza, but I liked this!

Slice 1 ¼ pounds cremini mushrooms very thin (1/8 inch) with a mandoline. Mix with 1 1/3 cups diced yellow onion and 2 tsp fresh thyme leaves. Spread on the dough, sprinkle with 1 tsp salt and drizzle with 2 ½ Tbsp olive oil.  Bake at 500 degrees F for 25 to 30 minutes, until the mushrooms are turning golden brown and the crust is crispy.

Cavolfiore (Cauliflower) I also never liked olives on pizza, but these are different…

Up close before baking

Using a mandoline, shave one medium cauliflower into very thin slices (1/16 inch). This will probably make a big mess. That’s ok.  Mix cauliflower with ½ cup (or less) finely chopped pitted large green olives (such as Sicilian colossal), ½ cup finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano or Grana Padano, 2 large cloves grated or finely minced garlic, ¾ tsp salt, ½ tsp red pepper flakes, and ¼ cup olive oil. Spread on the dough and sprinkle with 1 to 2 Tbsp homemade bread crumbs. Bake at 500 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes, until the topping is turning golden brown and the crust is done.

Patate or Batata (Potato or Sweet Potato)

Mix 4 tsp salt into a quart of lukewarm water.  Slice about 2 pounds (about 7) Yukon Gold potatoes or 2 sweet potatoes very thin (1/16 inch) with a mandoline and put the slices in the salt water. Let them soak for 1 ½ hours (or up to 12 hours in the fridge) until they are wilted and no longer crisp.  Drain and press out as much water as you can, then pat them dry.  Combine with 1 cup diced yellow onion, ½ tsp pepper, and 1/3 cup olive oil.  Spread the topping all the way to the edges of the dough and sprinkle with 1 Tbsp fresh rosemary leaves (omit for sweet potato) and sea salt. Bake at 500 degrees F for 30 to 35 minutes.

Zucchine (Zucchini)

Grate 2 ½ pounds (about 3) zucchini and mix with 1 ½ tsp salt in a bowl. Let stand for 15 to 20 minutes until it releases itss water, then drain, squeezing out as much water as you can, and pat it dry. Mix with 2 cups grated Gruyere or Fontina cheese. Spread on the dough and sprinkle with 2 to 2 ½ Tbsp homemade bread crumbs. Bake at 500 degrees F for 25 to 30 minutes until the topping is turning golden brown.

Cipolla (Onion) I thought this one might be like the tarte flambé I had in Strasbourg. It wasn’t quite the same, but might be close if I added some chopped up bacon.  Maybe next time.

Slice 2 yellow onions very thin (1/8 inch) with a mandoline to get 6 cups. Mix with 1/3 cup heavy cream, 1 tsp salt, and 2 tsp chopped fresh thyme leaves.  Spread on the dough and bake at 500 degrees F for 30 to 35 minutes.

Finocchio (Fennel)

Slice 2 trimmed fennel bulbs very thin (1/16 inch) to get about 7 cups. Mix with 1/3 cup (loosely packed) freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano or Grana Padano, ¾ tsp salt, ¼ tsp pepper and ¼ cup olive oil. Spread on the dough and cook 30 to 35 minutes at 500 degrees F.

Leftover Caesar – This was really good with all the parmesan cheese in the dressing.

Spread homemade Caesar salad dressing on dough. Top with very thinly sliced green pepper.  The last few minutes of cooking, add leftover shredded chicken.

Veggie and Goat Cheese

Top with very thinly sliced mushrooms, thin sliced zucchini and yellow pepper, fresh thyme leaves, scallions and salt and pepper and a drizzle of olive oil.  The last few minutes add sun-dried tomatoes and goat cheese.

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One Comment
  1. Kim permalink

    Yay! Now that I’ve got the recipe, I need to try making this cauliflower pizza! Thanks for posting! Love your blog! 🙂

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