Sunday, July 10, 2011

Quick and Easy DIY Pizza

This is one of my go-to dinners when I want something simple and light : Caramelized Onion Pizza. Because this pizza is sauceless and cheeseless (although I occasionally put cheese on half for the members of my family who want something more substantial), it's really important to use fresh, vibrant, in season veggies whenever possible for your topping. My Caramelized Onion Pizza is perfect for a refreshing summer meal, especially after a day of gorging yourself on waffles and leftover lemon bars...

The only thing that takes some time is caramelizing the onions, but it requires barely any effort. You can put as much or as little of each topping as you like and feel free to experiment with different ingredients! For tonight's pizza, I had corn and fresh basil in my fridge that I've been needing to use, so I threw them on along with the other tasty toppings and put disks of mozzarella cheese on half.

Trader Joe's plain pizza dough ball (also available in whole wheat and herb flavors)
1 large yellow onion
1 large tomato
1/2 bell pepper
A few shiitake mushroom

A few hours in advance, slice and sauté the onion over medium-high. I like to add in some dried thyme, but it's not necessary. Once the onions are translucent, turn down the heat to its lowest setting and cover your pan with a lid. Every 20-30 minutes or so give the onions a stir, making sure to re-cover after. It's more important to stir them in the beginning, so after they've been cooking for awhile, its ok to forget about them for a stir or two. 

Preheat your oven with your pizza stone inside to 475 deg F. If you don't have a pizza stone, I'm sure a baking sheet would be fine, you'd just need to lower the heat. However, I really recommend investing in a pizza stone because it gives you that bubbly crusted, brick oven baked effect.

Generously cover your dough ball in olive oil and roll or push to desired size and thickness on top of a piece of parchment paper. Without the parchment, its near impossible to transfer your pizza to the pizza stone.

Turn your onions that have been caramelizing onto high heat, and saute for just a moment until the moisture has evaporated, then evenly spread them over your pizza. They act as a sweet replacement for traditional pizza sauce. If you're adding cheese, this is when I would do it. 

Slice your tomato, pepper, and mushrooms, and place them on the pizza.

Slide your pizza onto the pizza stone and bake 7-12 minutes, or until the crust is nicely golden brown. Top with fresh basil leaves, slice, and enjoy! 

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