Light Artichoke Pizza Recipe
My husband Lulu just bought the new Breville convection toaster oven. The first thing that came out of his mouth when we opened the box was, "We have to inaugurate the oven by using that pizza setting." The next day, I bought ready-made garlic and herb pizza dough and got very excited about trying our new machine.
It didn't take much time for me to come up with a pizza topping selection. It came naturally to make it fairly healthy: a few tablespoons of tomato sauce, a bit of aged Cheddar cheese, baby artichoke hearts, oil-cured black olives, roasted bell peppers and fresh sweet basil. I could have added pine nuts at the end but I wanted to avoid any nut allergies (one family member has them). Needless to say, the oven and pizza were a hit. It took 30 minutes to prepare and bake last night's meal: mission accomplished!
Yields: 6 servings¼ cup aged Cheddar cheese, grated
¼ cup marinated baby artichokes
¼ cup tomato sauce (click on the link for the recipe), at room temperature
1 (16-ounce) package garlic and herb pizza dough, store-bought
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour, as needed
½ dozen oil-cured olives, pitted
6 small medallions goat cheese, finely diced
1 roasted red bell pepper, thinly sliced
½ cup olive oil
½ cup fresh sweet basil, coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons lightly toasted pine nuts, optional
A few days before...
Prepping the basil-infused olive oil: Reserve 2 tablespoons basil for garnish. Place ½ cup of olive oil (no need to use especially high quality) in a small saucepan. Cook over low heat (use the lowest setting on your stove). Turn off the heat. Add the basil leaves and let steep for 30 minutes. Select a transparent glass bottle. Fill another large pot with water and bring to just under a boil. Place the glass bottle, heat-proof funnel and tongs in the pot and let it boil for 10 minutes. This will ensure good sterilization. Filter the oil using a fine-mesh strainer and fill the bottle with oil using the funnel. Let it cool completely. Cover the top of the bottle with a cap. Store in the refrigerator. Wait at least 1 or 2 days before using to allow all the flavors to blend. **I sterilize the bottle and store the oil in the refrigerator to minimize any risk of contamination.
Assembling the pizza:
Preheat the oven to 450°F.
Punch the air bubbles of the dough. Form a 10-inch disk using a rolling pin. Dust the dough with additional flour. Place the almost-shaped pizza on a parchment-lined pizza pan. Dimple the dough with your fingers to shape it.
Spread a thin layer of tomato sauce. Cove with cheddar cheese. Add the artichoke, goat cheese, bell pepper, olives, 1 tablespoon fresh basil and a drizzling of the basil oil. Let the shaped pizza rest for another 15 minutes. It will increase in volume a little.
Bake for 22 minutes.
Sprinkle with more basil and drizzle a little more basil oil. Top with pine nuts (if using).
I used Trader Joe's ready made pizza dough. To gain time, you could replace the pizza dough with naans (Indian flat bread).
I used oil-cured olives that I found at my local market, The Milk Pail in Mountain View.
Roasted bell peppers are pretty easy and inexpensive to make (I usually prepare a few in advance, cover them in oil and store in the refrigeratore. Wash the bell pepper, pat dry and brush with oil. Place a grill on your stove and char all the skin of the bell pepper. Wrap in aluminum foil. Let cool for about 10 minutes. Wash the bell pepper under running water and the skin will come right off.
You can make mini-pizzas and serve them as appetizers. It's a great time-saver when you have a buffet-style party.