21 February

Storm Pizza: Vegetable Art

by Jon Katz

It’s become a new marital tradition for us. On storm nights (we had an ice storm last night), or belly dancing class nights (Thursday), I make one of my gourmet (my word) pizzas and I am moving aggressively to prepare my pizzas for Spring and Summer, when the Moses Vegetable Stand reopens and we get to eat the way we love to eat and want to it – fresh fruit and vegetables for months.

Tonight was my first all-veggie pizza in awhile, I’ve done clams and sausage and Chorizo and various kale and spinach mixes. Tonight was special, it was almost art.

I made pizza with sliced sweet potato, goat cheese, squash, kale, spinach, red pepper, and vegetable sprouts. I let the dough reach room temperature, cover it with a thin layer of wheat flour, roll it into a thin circle as wide as I can. I do spin it with my hands to thin it out.

I baked the crust – wheat flour from the supermarket –  for 14 minutes (I spread garlic paste all over the pizza and paint the rim with virgin olive oil) at 475 degrees.

Then I let it cool, it was crispy and firm.

When I was ready to get started, I put Paul Newman’s tomato sauce on it, spread it with a rubber brush. I sliced the squash into think circles, and laid it out intermittently with the sweet potato, which I cooked in the oven first for 20 minutes until it was firm and crispy.

I placed kale and spinach on over the pizza, sprinkled chopped red pepper around the squash and potato, spread ground parmesan cheese lightly on top of the tomato sauce, and then sprinkled goat cheese in between. I also chopped up some scallions and spread them around the mix.

I think it’s a creative thing to arrange all the ingredients into circles and patterns. I thought this one looked pretty and inviting.

I added my signature half a cup of pine nuts for crunch and flavor. Then spread some vegetable sprouts over everything and sprinkled virgin olive oil around to keep the vegetables from getting too dry.

I cooked the pizza for 14 minutes at the same temperature, 475. Maria was hungry when she came home, she loved the pizza, said the flavor was delicious, I also liked it very much.

I am not a great chef, and have no pretensions to be, any more than I want to be an actor. But I think these lean and healthy and flavorful pizzas are a good thing for us to eat once a week. The rest of the week we seem to be doing fish or vegetables.

Spring and Summer are wonderful times for eating up here, since I do the shopping, I can stay away from supermarkets for months at a time.

I’m going to get adventurous with my pizzas this Spring and Summer, looking for ways for bring different fresh vegetables – even fruit like pears – into the mix.

You can really put almost anything on a pizza, including lean hamburger and ground turkey also, although we eat very little meat, especially in the summer.

I like this new tradition, thanks for your interest. I never imagined I would be sharing recipes but it’s great fun and I appreciate all of the feedback. Pizza on healthy dough is a pretty versatile meal.


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