Pizza Dough: A Blank Canvas

I love a good pizza, but I don’t always want to go out for one and I’ve gotten fed up with the too-expensive, ho-hum pies delivered by our local pizzeria. If I want a decent pizza at home, I’ll need to make one. And that means making my own pizza dough.
pizza-dough-blank-canvasBut it’s no chore. Making pizza from scratch is simple and invites culinary creativity. You can play with the dough by experimenting with different types of flours (we’ve found a combo of all-purpose and whole wheat flours, plus a long proofing time, yields a hearty yet light-textured crust). Even if you opt for a premade crust or dough (choose a whole wheat version, if you do), you can make it all yours with the toppings you choose.

In fact, toppings are where the fun takes off. We polled the NOURISH Evolution Facebook community to find out what our fans like on their pizzas. The top 3 vote-getters (drumroll, please…):

  1. Prosciutto, ricotta and caramelized onions
  2. Pepperoni (a classic)
  3. Spinach, green olives and tomatoes (tied with pepperoni!)

People also shared their personal favorites, like chicken, artichoke, spinach and sun-dried tomatoes, or artichoke hearts and salami (hmm…I sense a theme: artichokes!). Turns out, we have many inspiring pizza components on NOURISH Evolution:

The Sauce

Of course, the sauce is optional, especially if you want to make a pizza bianca (white pizza), but it adds a nice layer of flavor. Tomato sauce is a classic, and our Easy All-Purpose Tomato Sauce or Kelly’s “Sneaky” Veggie-Laden Marinara Sauce would do the job nicely. Also think beyond tomato. Pesto (like our Spicy Sage and Parsley Pesto or Asian Pesto) adds a zingy kick. Or you could try our Spanish-Leaning Spinach Dip, which has a lovely creaminess that lets you get away with using less cheese–I’d like this one topped with a light sprinkling of grated Manchego cheese and thinly sliced Spanish chorizo. Come summer, try our Roasted Red Pepper Romesco as a smoky alternative to tomato sauce.

The Cheese

It’s easy to go overboard on cheese, but if you combine it with other strong-tasting ingredients, you can use less. Also opt for high-quality, flavorful varieties like pecorino Romano, goat cheese or feta.

The Extras

There’s no limit to what you can add to your pie–sausage, pepperoni, roasted or sauteed veggies Tamara Murphy’s Wild Mushrooms Roasted in Parchment would make a beautiful topper; I love roasted beets. Lia’s Swiss Chard with Grated Garlic is simple and stunning on a pizza. NOURISH Evolution advisor Rebecca Katz suggested using it with red chili flakes, a grating of fresh nutmeg and feta or goat cheese.

With a combo like that, maybe I should open my own pizzeria.

Long-Rise Whole Wheat Pizza Dough

Whole wheat pizza dough can be heavy, but we’ve found that using a combination of flours and a long rise gives the yeast plenty of time lighten the texture. This no-knead method is based on Penni Wisner’s no-knead bread. You can double this pizza dough recipe and freeze the extra to make pizza another time (thaw the frozen dough in the refrigerator overnight).