Last night I should have been catching up on reading for my two education classes – yes, I am procrastinating on week two of the semester - but all I could think of the past two days has been pizza. Ashley and Stephen of the (never home)maker site are having a unique pizza contest. They like pizza as much as I do and have come up with some super unique combinations. Beet pizza dough, anyone? My brain has been on overdrive thinking up possible concoctions. There isn’t a pizza that I won’t try, but really, I’m quite a traditionalist when it comes to pizza. I am a big fan of a tomato-based sauce and mozzarella cheese…..pepperoni and peppers come in a close second. But in the name of food contests, I needed to expand my horizons. My unique pizza needed to be something more creative, vegan/vegetarian and something that tasted fantastic. (I’m not into weird if it doesn’t taste great.) I decided to break the pizza down into each part:
The Crust: Ashley and Stephen have been making this pumpkin pizza crust that I’ve been wanting to try out for ages. (They also use it for their pumpkin garlic knots. Drool.) Done, easy decision.
The Sauce: I know that I like a tomato-based pizza sauce and had heard that this tomato paste recipe is incredible. No cooking involved. How easy is that?
The Toppings: I figure fresh is best, so I just sautéed some vegetables friends have given me from their gardens – zucchini and tomatoes – with some white wine and kosher salt. And my friend Mindi has changed my life by introducing me to caramelized onions. (I used to not like onions.) They make everything taste ten times better. The pizza definitely needed them.
The Cheese: I like parmesan and mozzarella. No big decision there.
The Extras: My favorite pizza place is Taos Pizza Outback in New Mexico. The atmosphere is casual, the slices are huge and the toppings are gourmet. Their crust is studded with sesame seeds and they have this wonderful green house sauce. It’s like a liquid pesto that is fantastic drizzled on pizza and anything else on your plate. I found a basil-parmesan dressing recipe online. I decided to whip that up to drizzle it on my pizza. And I had some sesame seeds in my cabinet, so I would add those to the crust. Perfect.
All together it’s a Zucchini & Caramelized Onion Pizza with a Pumpkin Crust & Basil-Parmesan Vinaigrette. It’s not a fantastically wacky sounding pizza, but it sounds both intriguing and delicious, right? I think the green sauce gives it an added kick.
The Sauce: I made up the sauce the night before to let it rest in the refrigerator and for the flavors to intensify.
Easy Pizza Sauce
Adapted from Frank at Allrecipes.com
- 1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste
- 3/4 cup water
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- salt to taste
- ground black pepper to taste
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1/2 tablespoon dried oregano
- 1/2 tablespoon dried basil
- 1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary, crushed
Combine all ingredients. Mix well and let stand for several hours to let flavors blend.
The Crust: The (never home)maker‘s Pumpkin Pizza Crust! This was fun to make. It’s pretty much like making a normal pizza dough, but it looks like it will come out bright orange. (It doesn’t in the end.) The texture of this dough is fantastic too. If you make it the day before, like I did, just place it in a Ziploc bag in the refrigerator overnight. Then take out two hours before assembling the pizza.
The Toppings: The zucchini and tomatoes were quick to sauté. I just added some salt and white wine to the veggies during the cooking.
Caramelizing the onions takes a little time. It’s best to cook them over low heat for about 40 minutes. I sprinkled a little bit of sugar and salt on them during cooking and stirred them about every five minutes until they were golden brown in color.
Assembling the pizza: I spread the crust out on the greased pizza pan and let it rest for half an hour. I like letting the crust rest for a second time on the pan. Then I added the sauce, veggies, and cheese. I lightly coated the crust with olive oil and sprinkled on sesame seeds. I baked the pizza at 425 degrees for about 20 minutes. Then I sprinkled on more chopped basil and drizzled it with the basil-parmesan dressing.
The finished product.
So. Freaking. Amazing.
The pumpkin crust was light and chewy. The veggies were well-seasoned. And that sauce….incredible.
I had to have a bite right then and there.
It’s a unique pizza that I will be making again!