Vegetarian Pizza Perfection
● By Curt Guillory
You're only 45 minutes away from the perfect vegetarian pizza.
Including this pizza in your Lenten menu will give you family another reason to look forward to Fridays.
The Lenten seafood shuffle
Let’s face it while we all look forward to seafood Fridays during Lent seafood is expensive and there’s only so much canned tuna a person can stomach.
Wouldn’t it be nice to have a few non-seafood dishes that are not only delicious but also Lent approved? I’m talking about dishes that are so good your family will request them. Wouldn’t it also be nice that something that good wouldn’t break the bank? If you answer is yes, and it should be, then this pizza is your next go to dish.
Oh and one more thing, you can put all of this pizza goodness on your table for about $5.00 per pie.
Simply great pizza
This recipe calls for scratch made pizza dough…wait, hold on a second there before go clicking off. Usually that calls for mixing and rising times and sometimes a second rising, well to quote a popular internet phase, “Ain’t nobody got time for that!”
Fortunately you don’t have to reserve all of the time. Thanks for Fleischmann’s, you know the yeast people, there is now a specially formulates dry yeast for pizza crust which required no rising time. That’s right, no rising time.
How do they do it? I don’t know, and frankly I don’t really care. All I know is you only need to mix, roll, top, and bake for pizza perfection and that’s pretty much where my attention starts to wane.
Now all we need to do it combine this incredible little time saver with some great toppings and presto…awesome pizza in about 45 minutes from start to finish. That ought to work right in any week night schedule.
This recipe calls for enough dough to make 3 large (14") or 8 small (9") crusts. If that’s too much for your brood, don’t cut the recipe. Make the whole recipe and freeze the dough you don’t intend to use. That way you will have ready-made pizza dough for the next time, and there will be a next time.
Use whatever cheeses you like, but remember to go light on the cheeses. Not just for the calorie count, but the biggest enemy of pizza is too much cheese. If too much is used it turns to a think, leathery, layer that is not good at all. Also stay away from very oily cheeses like cheddar. When they melt they give up their oil and it will look like BP paid a visit to your pizza.
Note: Adding some lightly sautéed shrimp, crawfish tails, or crab meat to this pizza won’t offend anyone, and if it does ask them to leave. Unless, of course, they are allergic to shellfish, but that’s pretty much the only exception.
Note: The ingredients listed for the toppings is enough to 3 large pizzas. Adjust accordingly.
Ingredients for dough:
6½C Unbleached, all-purpose flour
2tsp. Granulated sugar
2pkgs. Fleischmann’s Pizza Crust Yeast
2tbsp. Kosher salt
2½C Warm water (110°F)
1tbsp Olive oil
1jar Classico presto sauce
1med. White onion (sliced)
4 Bell peppers (multicolored, seeded, sliced)
1can Artichoke hearts (drained, rough chopped)
3 Med. fresh tomatoes (sliced ¼")
4oz. Sliced ripe olives (drained and rinsed)
2-3ozs. Sliced baby bella mushrooms
1½-2C Cheese (shredded blend of provolone, Monterrey jack, and Colby)
Preheat oven to 500°
In a food processor equipped with a dough blade, or a stand mixer add the flour, salt, sugar, and yeast.
Turn the machine on and allow the ingredients to combine
Add the olive oil to the water and slow add to the machine while running.
Once dough ball forms allow the machine to knead the dough for 2-3 minutes.
Note: If mixing by hand, knead the dough on a floured surface for at least 5 minutes until very smooth.
Cut dough into 3 equal (14½ ozs.) portions, or 8 (6½ ozs.) if making smaller size pizzas.
Roll the dough out on a floured surface to about 1/16".
Place dough in pizza pan, or on peel, and spread 2 tbsp Classico pesto covering the entire crust.
Note: The olive oil in the pesto separates, be sure to stir or shake the jar before using.
Distribute small amounts of the remaining toppings finishing with the sliced tomatoes and cheese.
Bake for 10-11 minutes.
Slice and serve immediately.
Enjoy pizza perfection
The intense heat of the oven will char the edges of the crust while producing a crunchy, chewy pie with perfectly cooked vegetables. The flavors of the fresh vegetables with the pesto is very satisfying, and makes for a hearty meal. Meat? What meat? Trust me, you won’t miss it.