The weather in March is awkward; it rains, snows, and then the sun shines. Not quite spring, but not still winter. I wanted to make a pizza this week to match the awkward weather, using winter and summer vegetables to create a roasted vegetable sauce in the crock pot. Side note: thanks to my wonderful co-worker Jenn for the initial inspiration behind the sauce. I started with a large can of diced, fire roasted tomatoes. I chopped up two small beets, six cloves of garlic, one yellow bell pepper, and two onions.
I then added two Parmigiano Reggiano rinds, salt, pepper, oregano, and just a hint of sugar. I topped the whole thing off with a splash of red wine, in this case, Sangiovese.
I set the crock pot on low and let everything meld together for six hours, stirring the contents about once an hour. After six hours, I removed the parm rinds and blended the sauce to make the consistency more even. The end results are delicious. The flavor of the beets certainly comes through, and the sauce is a bit on the sweeter side. It’s bright pink in color, thanks to the beets. The recipe made quite a bit, so I put some away in the freezer for a later date.
Next up, I made a basic thin crust dough that I plan to use when I need something nice and plain. You can find the recipe and directions at the bottom of this post.
I roasted some sliced tomatoes in the oven for 15 minutes at 400 degrees. I love the flavor that you can get out of roasted tomatoes, especially if you add just a splash of olive oil and some salt and pepper. I used mozzarella and freshly shredded Pecorino Romano for my cheese. Pecorino Romano is a hard, aged sheep milk cheese with a very salty, sharp flavor. I topped the pizza off with the roasted tomatoes and the massive pepperoni that Whole Foods sells.
The end results of this pizza were fairly satisfying. The sauce was a fun experiment, one that I plan to try again with different vegetables based on the season. I had no idea how strong the beet flavor would turn out. Chance was kind enough to share this pizza with me . . . he liked the combination of the salty Pecorino Romano with the sweeter sauce. The crust was light and airy, although I would’ve preferred it a bit more crispy. Oh well, that’s what this whole experiment is for, right? Until next week…
Pizza and blessings,
Basic Crust Recipe
- 3/4 cup warm water
- 1 teaspoon active dry yeast
- 1 3/4 cup all purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon sugar
Pour the warm water in the bowl you plan to use and add the yeast. Allow it to mix together for five minutes. Next, add the flour, olive oil, salt, and sugar. Mix together. If you have a dough hook, attach it to your mixer and set it to medium, letting it run for about ten minutes. You can also knead by hand for about ten minutes if needed. Coat the dough ball in olive oil and allow it to rise for at least an hour, but the longer the better. Pre-heat the oven to 450 degrees. When ready to bake, work with the dough on a lightly floured surface, stretching and flattening to desired thickness. Brush the crust with a light coating of olive oil and layer with desired toppings. Bake 12-15 minutes.