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I’m tired.  Like, it’s not even 8 and I am ready to go to bed.  However, because I love everyone so much and, well, mostly because I love this pizza so much, I am staying up to write this post.  So if I start rambling and then switch to something else completely unrelated (which I actually do more often than not), don’t panic.  It’s because I’m lost in my many thoughts and probably half sleeping and dreaming.          

Anyway… the story behind this pizza is the following:  A couple Friday’s ago, we went the First Friday Food Truck Festival downtown Indy.  We hadn’t been before, but I heard great things about it and the cupcake truck from the bakery I work at was going to be there.  Plus, I got free admission passes, so it was pretty much a done deal that we were going.  I was craving pizza that night and was planning on getting a certain slice of New York style pizza, however, the truck wasn’t there!  So as we walked past all of the 20 some food trucks, I saw a grilled pizza one!  And even though they only had 3 or 4 options to choose from, I was sold when I saw the “specialty pizza”.  It had everything I could have ever wanted on pizza.  And it was grilled.  Pesto, artichokes, tomato, ricotta, mozzarella, and spinach.  Rack em up!  If only I bought an entire pizza.  That would have been nice.  However, I had to save room for the nachos and bites of Brad’s tacos and his no-bake cookies and the banana pudding… yea, an entire pizza wouldn’t have made sense.

Ok, so come Sunday, I was trying to come up with dinner ideas and I knew pretty much instantly that I was going to recreate that delicious slice of pizza.  It actually almost didn’t happen though.  I had forgotten that I had to make both pizza dough and pesto.  How I forgot that, I do not know, but I started all of this a little late, but that’s ok.  As long as I was going to get to eat my pizza, I was going to survive.          

Now, let me tell you… this pizza is just incredible.  It’s so delicious and so different.  It has so much going on that you might think there’s too much, but somehow it all works so well together that you don’t even realize there are 6 toppings.  For me, the pesto is what brings the whole thing together.  I like pesto, but I don’t entirely love pesto.  So I tried to go a little light on it.  I accidentally added a little too much basil when I made the pesto and I forgot to add garlic (I guess I was really struggling that day), but overall, it did what it was supposed to do and when it was on the pizza, I couldn’t really tell that I messed it up.

This pizza is perfect for the summer.  You could grill it outside on your grill, or just bake it in the oven on a pizza stone (our choice, we never have good luck cooking directly on the grill).  It’s great for all those extra tomatoes you have growing in your garden that you can’t use for salsa anymore because you already have 3 containers of it.  You can use store bought pesto and it will work perfectly.  I made mine because my mom had given me a ton of basil from her garden and she gave me some pine nuts too.  I skipped the ricotta cheese when I made my pizza only because last time I tried putting ricotta pizza, it didn’t work very well.  I think that’s just one of those things that only works when other people do it… for me anyway.  This is a really fresh pizza and it’s even fresher if you use… well… fresh veggies.  I’m not sure what else to say, I feel like all I’m doing is telling you how awesome this pizza is but really, you just have to make it to fully understand.

Ok… it’s bedtime now!

GARDEN VEGGIE PIZZA
Idea taken from Bryne’s Grilled Pizza Food Truck in Indy!

For the Pizza Dough: (word for word from Eat, Live, Run)
Makes 2 pizzas
3 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/4 cup olive oil
1 1/3 cup warm water
1 package of yeast (1/4th ounce)
2 teaspoon salt

In a mixing bowl, combine the warm water and yeast.

Stir in the salt and flour and mix on medium high speed on your KitchenAid for 5 minutes. While the mixer is going, drizzle in the olive oil.

When the dough is soft and elastic, take out of the bowl, rub with olive oil and then place back in the bowl, cover with a dish towel and let rise for one hour.

After the dough has doubled in size, cut in half to make two large pizza doughs or make mini doughs. You could also do what I like to do and freeze the dough in a plastic baggie for another time! When you are ready for your pizza, roll out the dough, cover with your toppings and bake at 425 for 10-15 minutes.

For the Pesto: (again, word for word from Eat, Live, Run I actually didn’t use a recipe I just threw a bunch of stuff in the food processor, but I think this looks like one of the better recipes I researched)
3 cups packed basil leaves
1/2 cup olive oil, divided
1/2 lemon, juiced
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
3 garlic cloves

Combine the basil, garlic and two tablespoons of the oil in a high speed blender or food processor. Blend on high until everything is smooth and combined. Then, with the blender on low speed, slowly stream in the remaining oil, along with the lemon juice and the cheese. Taste and then season with the salt and pepper.

To Make the Actual Pizza:
Makes 1 pizza

1/2 of the pizza dough recipe above
2-3 tablespoons of pesto, either homemade or store bought
1 tomato, thinly sliced
Handful of spinach leaves, stems removed and rinsed
1/2 can of quartered artichoke hearts, drained and coarsely chopped
1/2 red pepper, roasted in the oven for a few minutes
1/2 green pepper, roasted in the oven for a few minutes (I thought there were peppers on the original pizza, but their menu doesn’t mention it.  I thought they were good on the pizza)
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 1/2 Fresh mozzarella balls, sliced
Salt and Pepper to taste

Ok… Now that the list is complete… assemble!  Roll out your pizza dough, or mash it down with your fingertips to get a thicker crust.  Bake in the oven for about 5 minutes until the crust is cooked enough to handle ( I like to do this because then the crust is crispier).  When the crust is out of the oven, spread the pesto over the whole thing and sprinkle with just a little of garlic powder.  Then top with tomatoes, artichokes, spinach, peppers, mozzarella and sprinkle with some salt and pepper.  Pop back in the oven for 10-12 minutes, or until the crust is browned and then cheese is melted.

Warning: this can get soggy with the tomatoes being so juicy and the fresh mozzarella.  It definitely is soggy when it’s leftover.  So just be aware of that.  Other than that, it’s quite a yummy pizza!!

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Raise your hand if you love pizza!!  Wait… honestly, who doesn’t love pizza.  There are so many kinds to choose from, surely anyone can find something they like.  And if you don’t love pizza, then clearly something went wrong when you were a child.  I’m just saying.

Brad and I eat pizza often.  I’d say it’s a staple in our diet.  Sometimes we make healthy pizzas and then other times we bust out something like this.  Chicago Deep Dish Pizza.  As an Ex-Chicagoan, deep dish pizza will forever have a special place in my heart…. And so I make Brad eat it.  He likes it though, but let’s face it, sometimes you have to be in the mood for deep dish.  You can’t just spring it on yourself out of nowhere.  It’s the kind of pizza you have to have a craving for.  And I had a craving for it TWICE this week (what can I say?  I love my deep dish pizza!).

Believe it or not (I feel like I say this so much in my posts) this is sickeningly easy.  You just need about 2 total hours for the whole thing, that’s the only downside.  But this pizza is so good that all the time is worth it.  It’s the kind of pizza that you make time to make.  A whopping hour and 15 minutes of that 2 hours, by the way, is rise time.  So you literally don’t do anything during that time.  See?  Doesn’t it sound easier now??

Now, I’m a hand kneader.  If you read my blog while it was on Tumblr, then you know this.  But if you haven’t read that blog, then you don’t know this.  Therefore, I will re-explain why I will forever hand-knead eveything:

You can easily make this pizza crust in a stand mixer (eh hem… Kitchen Aid) and then you will have even less work to do.  BUT.  I never do that.  I’m old fashioned, I suppose.  Why would I want a machine to do the work for me??  Kneading dough is one of my most favorite things to do (there’s probably a relation between that and wedging clay… hhmmmm).  It’s fun and it makes you feel good for putting real work into what you are eating.  It helps you (at least me) take pride in my work.  Like… “yea, I kneaded this pizza crust for 10 minutes, that’s why it’s soooo good”.  See?  Don’t you want to be able to say that?

 

Just like how I’m picky about kneading dough… I’m picky about my sauce.  But only when it comes to deep dish.  I like my sauce to have chunks of tomatoes.  If it doesn’t have chunks, there’s a good chance I won’t eat it.  So I actually like to combine half a jar of pizza sauce and half a can of tomato chunks.  It’s seriously the best way to make it!!

This really is an easy recipe.  You combine all the crust ingredients, knead it and let it rise.  Then you form it into a pan and let it rise a little bit more.  After that, you just cover with mozzarella and sauce and stick it in the oven for only 15 minutes!  It’s really simple, not labor intensive and ridiculously delicious.  I promise, when you make this, you’ll want to eat again in the same week… Just like me!

Homemade Deep Dish Pizza
Adapted from Eat Live Run
Makes one 8 inch  pizza

For the crust:
1 (1/4oz) package of dry active yeast (1 1/2 teaspoons if you have a jar of yeast like I do)
1 teaspoon sugar
3/4 cup of warm water
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2- 1 3/4 cup of all purpose flour (I found that I have really only needed 1 1/2 cups)
1/4 cup yellow cornmeal
2 tablespoons olive oil

For the topping:
8 oz of packaged mozzarella, shredded OR one ball of fresh mozzarella sliced (fresh is my preference)
7-8 oz pizza sauce (usually half a jar)
7-8 oz diced tomatoes (usually half a can)
1 teaspoon dried oregano or Italain Seasoning or Herbs De Provence

In a large bowl, combine yeast, sugar and water.  Let it sit for 5 minutes until bubbly and creamy.

Add flour, salt, cornmeal and olive oil.  Mix just till combined then dump out onto a floured surface (or leave in bowl if you are kneading with a mixer).  Knead by hand for 10 minutes, by machine for about 6, until dough is soft and elastic.

Place back in an oiled bowl, cover with a towel and place in a warm place to rise for one hour and 15 minutes.  Dough will double in size.

Preheat oven to 500.

Once the dough is done rising, punch down a few times and place in a greased cake pan.  Form into the pan, going up the sides a bit.  Cover with a towel and let rise for another 10 minutes.

While rising, slice or shred mozzarella and mix together the pizza sauce and diced tomatoes.

When the dough is done rising, cover with mozzarella and sauce and sprinkle on the seasoning.  Bring oven temperature back down to 425.  Place in oven and let it back for 15-20 minutes until crust is golden brown.  Remove from oven and let it cool for a few minutes.  Then slice and serve!



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