Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Sundried Tomato & Artichoke Heart Pizza

This may not be the healthiest item on our menu, but it hits the spot after an evening of tree wrestling. The rich flavors of pesto, parmesan, and sundried tomatoes render the excessive use of mozzarella, so common on commercial pizzas, quite unnecessary. The homemade crust is unusually quick for a yeast bread and spares us the preservatives baked into pre-fabricated, grocery-store crusts. To help the dough rise even faster, place the bowl in which the dough is rising inside a second, larger bowl containing hot tap water and cover both with a fresh dish towel.

By the way, I find that an ulu works much better than your standard pizza cutter. Ulus are my all-time favorite kitchen tool -- I have two (and need a third) so I can be sure of having a clean one available at all times. I use them to slice and dice everything from carrots to calzones.

Sundried Tomato & Artichoke Heart Pizza


1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 Tbs yeast (one packet)
1/4 tsp salt
2 Tbs vegetable oil
1 cup warm water (about 115 degrees)
1 1/4 cups whole wheat flour
2 tsp cornmeal

Combine first five ingredients in large mixing bowl. Beat on slow speed 30 seconds, then on high speed for 3 minutes. Reduce mixer speed and add whole wheat flour, 1/4 cup at a time, until dough forms a ball and no longer sticks to the bowl. You may not require all 1 1/4 cups of whole wheat flour.

Place dough in bowl coated with cooking spray; coat top of dough with cooking spray. Set in warm place to rise until nearly double in size (10 or 15 minutes).

Roll dough to preferred thickness (1/4 - 1/2 inch) and place on cookie sheet sprinkled with cornmeal. Bake at 375 degrees for 7 minutes.

1 can (6 oz) tomato paste
3 Tbs basil pesto
1 1/2 cups grated parmesan cheese
1/2 cup sundried tomatoes, cut into strips
2/3 cup canned artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
5 cloves roasted garlic, sliced (optional)

Combine tomato paste and basil; spread on partially baked crust. Top with cheese, tomatoes, artichoke hearts, and garlic (if desired). Bake at 375 degrees for 7-9 minutes. Cool 2 minutes before slicing.

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