When we lived in California and got to shop at Trader Joe’s, I used to buy a bag of pizza dough for a dollar. I could then pick out my organic herbs and veggies and make killer pizza. When we got here, I tried several recipes and techniques, but could never replicate the chewy perfection of Trader Joe’s bag-o-dough.
Then we got a terrific pizzeria in town called Sun Mountain. Russell moved here from Cape Cod a few years ago and makes a most excellent pizza pie! Please check out Russ’ website: http://www.sunmountainpizza.com/index.html As well as being a super nice guy, he is very entertaining when he’s tossing the dough in the air. His whole-wheat crust is divine and I love a slice of Greek style pizza for lunch. One day I asked him if he sold his dough. Not only did he sell me one, he even gave me tips on how to make it turn out right. I still like going to his place for lunch, but pizza night at home is back! I have tried several sauces and recipes, and find that everyone likes this type of pie best. I use a seasoned pizza stone because it gives it a crisp crust, but I think a pizza pan would work well, too. Ask your favorite pizzeria about buying the raw dough – it’s so worth it!
First, I start with the dough. I set it out in a bowl with a drizzle of olive oil to let the dough warm and soften while I prep my ingredients. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Thinly slice 1 large tomato, then put the slices in a colander over a bowl to drain. Lightly salt the tomato slices and toss to pull out the juices. Set aside.
Put the following in a small saucepan:
- 3 Tbsp EVO Oil
- 2-3 Tbsp basil leaves – chop or chiffonade
- 3 cloves of garlic – fine dice
- A generous shake of dried oregano (up to 1 tsp)
Heat over medium heat for about a minute after it sizzles. Turn off the heat and let cool.
Prep your favorite ingredients. For this pie, I used:
- ½ cup thin sliced cremini mushrooms – a drizzle of EVO oil makes them cook nicely
- A handful of turkey pepperoni (70% less fat!)
- ½ cup thin slices bell pepper – 1-2” long
- 1/3 cup black olives sliced – I had canned on hand, but cured might be tastier
- ¼ cup very thin sweet onion strips – again about 1-2” long
- ¾ cup grated mozzarella cheese
When everything is ready, it’s time for the fun part! Get out your pizza stone and spread a small handful of cornmeal on the stone – just a dusting gives the crust a nice texture. Pick up the dough by the edge and begin turning it, mincing your hands with a light grip around the edges and letting it hang down so gravity will stretch it. When the edges get thin, put your fists under the middle and rotate the dough, letting it stretch itself thinner in the middle. Keep working and stretching the dough until it’s uniformly(ish) thin.
Place the dough on the stone and adjust until the dough reaches the edges all around. The edges should be a little thicker. Russell tip: par-bake the crust for about 5 minutes to keep the pie from being gooey.
On the par-baked crust:
Spread the seasoned oil and arrange the tomatoes evenly. Sprinkle about half the cheese over this and then add the rest of the ingredients as desired. Finish with the rest of the cheese.
Bake the pie from 15-20 minutes until the cheese is bubbly and lightly browned.