Oh yes, I think pizza is one of my favourite surprise dishes. Almost every time I mention to someone how much we like to have a pizza on one of the weekend afternoons, there’s that understanding in their eyes that pizza equals fast food equals loads of cheese equals fat and all that.
Nothing further from the truth. Well, it could just as well be the case if we were talking about a take-away pizza from one of the local pizza places. But I’m talking here about a proper home-made pizza with wholemeal dough, fresh herbs sauce and topping full of vegetables with just a bit of cheese to go with (although actually many of my pizzas are cheese-free).
The one I’m proposing for today is a lovely colourful combination of aubergine, courgette and tomato slices, arranged to create a vegetable rainbow on the plate. Goat’s cheese is optional, but it does go wonderfully well with baked vegetables. And as if it wasn’t enough of veg portions, I like to serve it with some baby greens, drizzled with balsamic vinegar.
If you’re still thinking that pizza is just a junk food – I challenge you to try this recipe out.
Makes 1 thin crust pizza (approx 30cm diameter)
For the dough
15g fresh yeast or 7g active dried yeast
200g strong wholemeal flour
50g spelt flour
1 tsp sugar
1 tbsp olive oil
0.5 tsp salt
For the tomato sauce
2 tbsp tomato puree
4 tbsp warm water
1 tbsp fresh oregano
1 tbsp fresh thyme
1 tbsp fresh basil leaves
25g pine nuts
Pinch of sugar
For the topping
2 large tomatoes, thinly sliced
1 small courgette, thinly sliced
1 small aubergine, thinly sliced
1 red onion, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves
125g goatâ€™s cheese
1 tbsp olive oil for brushing
Balsamic vinegar for drizzling
Baby greens to serve
Preheat the oven to 240 C / gas mark 9. Oil the baking sheet with a few drops of olive oil.
To make the dough, in a large bowl mix yeast, sugar and 3 tablespoons of warm water. Leave for 10 minutes in a warm place until the yeast has risen and itâ€™s frothy. Add the flours, salt, olive oil and water. Mix all the ingredients and knead for a few minutes until the dough comes together. You can knead the dough with your hand, or using food processor.
Leave the dough aside to rise for about 30 minutes, or until doubled in size.
In the meantime, place the sliced vegetables on a baking tray, sprinkle with crushed garlic and a few olive oil drops. Bake in a preheated oven for about 20 minutes.
Take out the rested pizza dough from a bowl onto a floured surface and knead for a few minutes.
Roll out the dough or stretch it with your fingers to a 30cm circle and place it on an oiled baking sheet. Prick the dough with a fork.
To make the tomato sauce, mix tomato puree, herbs, sugar and water. Spread the sauce thinly on pizza base.
Top the pizza with baked vegetable slices, alternating them.
Sprinkle with crumbled goatâ€™s cheese.
Bake for 15-20 minutes until the pizza is golden and crisp around the edges.
Drizzle with balsamic vinegar and serve with baby greens.