Growing up pizza meant tomato sauce and a topping of mushrooms, green pepper, olives and sausage. Now don’t get me wrong I loved my mum’s pizza and I still do but when I started cooking on my own I wanted to experiment and try out different crusts, sauces and toppings. Pizza is such a wonderful medium for creativity. It is like that crust is a blank canvas on which you can draw anything you like.
This particular drawing is inspired by baking obsessions, I found it as I was searching for the checkerboard cookies. The blend of roasted garlic onions and pepper with sun-dried tomatoes and feta was too tempting to miss.
After roasting the garlic pepper and onions I realised I didn’t have any sun dried tomatoes! a quick search in my fridge came up with the next best thing. sun-dried tomato paste, I had a jar of home-made paste that tastes exactly like puree sun dried tomatoes so I used that. I also added dried basil to the sauce and a sprinkle of dried parsley to the topping to enhance the flavor of the fresh parsley the recipe called for sprinkling on the finished pizza.
The other change I made was to add roasted garlic chicken I had left over(will post the recipe for that some day). It complemented the other flavors of the topping beautifully but you can definitely make the pizza without it.
The crust I’m using here is my official crust recipe. It is the recipe used in Sizzling chicken pizza and Home made pizza with California oil sauce I got it from my friend Zahra and it is AMAZING! I make it using pizza flour and the result is as good as (if not better) restaurant pizza. I have made it with all-purpose flour when I’m out of pizza flour It is still really good that way.
I have to admit that making this crust is time-consuming but well worth it. I usually make the dough the day before, keep it in the fridge then I take it out 2 hours before I want to make it. I actually think that allowing the dough to rest gives better taste and results.You can store this crust in the fridge for 3 days or in the freezer up to 3 weeks just remember to take it from the freezer to the fridge the night before you need it
Roasted garlic chicken pizza with roasted peppers and onions
For the crust (makes 3 crusts)
2 and 1/4 cups pizza flour
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 and 1/4 teaspoons yeast
1 teaspoon sugar
1 and 1/2 cups warm water (not hot or boiling)
2 cups pizza flour
2 and 1/2 teaspoon salt
For the topping
1 head of garlic, whole and unpeeled, the tops sliced off – cloves exposed
1 large onion, peeled, cut into thick wedges
About ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons sun-dried tomato paste
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
About 1 cups (100 g) grated mozzarella cheese
1 large red pepper, charred on/under the grill, cooled, seeded, peeled and cut into ½-inch strips
3 tablespoons crumbled feta
¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
Roasted chicken breast cubed
Make the crust:
Proof the yeast (mix the yeast with the sugar and water and leave it till it foams and bubbles. This is to make sure your yeast is still good)
In a bowl mix the proofed yeast with the oil and flour. Use a wooden spoon because it will be a sticky dough. Cover in plastic wrap or a wet clean cloth and leave in a warm place till it doubles in size (this may take anywhere from 1 to 3 hours depending on the weather in that day)
Add the ingredients of stage two and knead the dough for 10 minutes. You will get an elastic smooth dough. Place it in a bowl and cover it in a warm place till it doubles in size. Punch it down and use it or divide into three parts and place in plastic bags and freeze or keep in the fridge.
Make the pizza:
Preheat the oven to 180 C.
Oil your pan and sprinkle it with some whole wheat flour (I use whole wheat because it absorbs moisture and makes sure you get a crunchy crust)
On a floured surface roll out the dough then transfer it to the pan
With your fingers make dimples in the top leaving a 2 cm margin (these dimples insure that the dough wont rise too much )
Cover with a clean cloth and set aside.
Place the onion wedges into a large roasting pan. Drizzle with about 1½ tbsp of oil, season with the salt and pepper, toss well to coat the onions with oil. Free a small space somewhere in the corner of the roasting pan and nest the garlic head inside. Drizzle the garlic with about 1½ tbsp of oil. Roast the onions and garlic for about 30 to 35 minutes, stirring the onions after first 20 minutes. The onions should become tender and lightly caramelized, the garlic should be very soft and golden. Remove from the oven, cool.
Increase the oven temperature to 270 C.
In a bowl combine the tomato paste with the roasted garlic, olive oil and basil to get a smooth consistency spread. (If using sundried tomatoes pulse then in a food processor with the garlic and basil)
Spread the sun-dried tomato and garlic paste evenly over the shaped dough leaving 2 cm bare border and sprinkle the mozzarella cheese .
Sprinkle with the roasted onions, chicken cubes and roasted pepper
Sprinkle with dried parsley and mozzarella and crumble the feta. Brush the edges of the dough with olive oil.
Bake the pizza for 8-10 minutes until the crust is puffed and golden brown, and the cheese bubbles.
Place under the broiler for 2 minutes.
Transfer to a cutting board. Cool for 2 minutes. Top with the fresh herbs and serve.