Pizza is one of those foods I have always loved. For me, that generally means tomato sauce, cheese, and crust (gluten-free of course.), and sometimes I will add some sausage. I know it isn’t all that exciting, but sometimes it really is good.
I decided to do something a little more interesting, and lighter since it is now pretty hot here. No sauce of any kind, and just sliced pear, chevre, and a little bit of parmesan. Then about a minute before it comes out of the oven I tossed a handful of arugula on it! Thinking about it, a nice gorgonzola could also work very well in a pizza like this.
I’ve been on a bit of a quest for pizza crust. So far, the winner in terms of taste, texture, and relative ease of making it happen is from Emeril Lagasse. I know, weird, right? Apparently, he has daughters who have some gluten issues. He came up with this pizza crust for their gluten-free cookbook, and it is great! It makes enough crust for four pizzas for two people. You can pop the leftover par-baked crusts in the freezer, and pull them out for a quick dinner. Just top them and bake.
Obviously, if you have a pizza crust that works well for you, go ahead and use it. Amy was a bit skeptical of this at first, but it is a fantastic flavor combo! It is always fun to try things that may not immediately spring to mind when you have a dish as iconic as pizza.
Summer means many different things to different people. Back when I was a little kid, it was summer vacation. Now, it means grilling (I’ve been working on a post about grilling, and hopefully will finish it soon.) and tomatoes. Oh, and there is always disc golf, but that isn’t really what we’re talking about today. Today is the finals of the PDGA World Championships, BTW! Congratulations are in order for Sarah Hokum (Women’s Open), Ken Climo (Master’s Open)(13x!), and Paul McBeth(Men’s Open).
Tomatoes are really a summer fruit, and the best ones come in the heat of August (at least here) and are generally best when stolen from a neighbor’s plant! Anyway, this kind of thing really just can’t be done with the crappy tomatoes you buy at the grocery store in January. Also, don’t put them in the fridge! This, and the caprese salad are really all about the tomatoes.
Here is what you’re going to need…
1 pizza crust (make your own, or use a premade crust, I tend to keep Udi’s pizza shells on hand, so we went with one of those)
some nice tomatoes I needed 4 or so small tomatoes.
herbes de provence
1 head garlic
fresh basil (I just pulled several leaves off the plant on my kitchen windowsill)
First thing first. Preheat your oven to 350F. Place the entire head of garlic in a piece of aluminum foil, and drizzle it with olive oil to coat it well. Close the foil pouch and put it i the oven for roughly 45 minutes or until it is nice and tender.
The next thing is the tomatoes. Slice them about 1/4″ thick. Toss them with olive oil and herbes de provence. Place them on a baking sheet, and roast them for about 15-20 minutes until they are nice and tender.
Squeeze the foil wrapped garlic. When it is soft you are going to unwrap it(Yes, while it is still pretty warm.) and cut the top off of the head. Then you are going to squeeze the little cloves to get the soft, sweet garlic out of them. Yep, its going to be messy. Keep going, it is totally worth it!!! Get it all into a bowl, and discard the skins.
Slice your cheese about as thick as the tomatoes.
If you are making your own crust you may need to partially bake it before you top it, because all you need to do is crisp it up, and melt the cheese.
When your crust is ready, rub it with olive oil, and then the garlic you squished into a bowl. Use as much or as little as you like. I used all of it! Top with the tomatoes, add the cheese, and the tear up basil leaves and sprinkle generously on top.
Pizza is one of the things that I have been on a quest for for a while. I have tried various local pizza places, and several of them are doing a pretty good job with gluten-free pizza. It’s not the super thin crust that I grew up on in St Louis, but it is still pretty tasty. The downside for me is the cost. The amount of money you have to spend to get what is a small pizza is pretty outrageous. Sometimes, it is nice to be able to go out for pizza, but other times it is just not feasible. I used to eat frozen pizza as a quick meal when I didn’t feel like cooking anything. There are a few frozen gluten-free pizzas out there, but I really haven’t tried any of them. They are just too expensive for a frozen pizza.
I have tried a couple of pre-made pizza shells, and have found that they give me the speed, and convenience of a frozen pizza, but also give me a lot more flexibility, and are less expensive than the ready to cook frozen pizzas. So far the ones that I found that I like best are made by Udi’s Gluten Free Foods. I try to keep a couple of the shells in the freezer. At the end of a long day I can make myself a pizza, and enjoy. I obviously keep some cheese, and tomato sauce on hand for these occasions! Normally I just make a cheese pizza, and am pretty happy with that. My preference when I order a pizza was and still is italian sausage. The fennel seeds really work for me. I just don’t have that on hand most of the time.
At the moment what I do have is guanciale, which is a Roman jowl bacon. It is cured with red pepper flakes, brown sugar, black pepper, and rosemary(it is not smoked). It was made by a place called Salume Beddu. (I also picked up a piece of lardo there as well.) Since it is cured you can actually eat it without cooking it. I’ve been looking at it for a little while, and tonight I decided that I would make a pizza and the guanciale would be on it.
I pre-heated the oven to 400 degrees, and left it alone for a while. I have a pizza stone, and that needs to be hot. The extra time it takes is worth it. The stone gets good and hot, and make the crust nice and crispy! I got the shell out of the freezer, added sauce and cheese, and thinly sliced the guanciale, and then cut it into strips. Then added that to the pizza as well. I put the pizzas on foil so I can easily slide them in and out of the oven. After ten minutes, the pizza was done! I have to say the guanciale was well worth the extra few seconds! It tasted similar to bacon, but with a slight twist! I’m would guess that the big difference from bacon is the lack of smoke and the rosemary.
From what I understand, guanciale is hard to find. If you can’t find any, your best bet is probably pancetta. Try it some time! I have more to do with the guanciale, so keep an eye out for bucatini all’amatricianna. Except I won’t use the right pasta. I’ll sub something that will be appropriate though.