We are a pizza loving family, and usually make pizza from scratch at least once a week. We are very lucky to have a pizza oven in both our house in Umbria as well as one in our home in Florida, but you certainly do not need your own pizza oven to make great pizza. We have a pizza night when our family gets together, and all the kids love to get involved naking pizza. We also often make pizza when we are entertaining friends as everyone seems to love pizza, and it is a casual, easy way of entertaining. I like getting inventive with my pizza toppings, and often try new combinations although my husband usually requests the same old pizza every week. For this specific pizza, I decided to play around with my new kitchen gadget, the spiralizer. This nifty tool cuts such veggies as carrots, zucchini, and potatoes into long thin strips or spirals that can be used in many ways. In Italy, I used this Spiralizer Envy Bundle but when I got back to the states I bought this Paderno Spiralizer that I am really enjoying using. You can use these spiralizers to make curly fries, zucchini or carrot noodles to use in salads or in place of pasta. If you do not have a spiralizer, you can simply cut your zucchini into very thin slices.
For this pizza bianca (pizza without red sauce) I combined mozzarella and Taleggio cheese, then topped the pizza with zucchini spirals, halved cherry tomatoes, chopped pistachios, and a drizzle of pistachio basil pesto. Tallegio cheese is my favorite Italian cheese and has a slight musty flavor that I just can’t get enough of. If Tallegio cheese is difficult for you to find, you could substitute Gorgonzola Dolce or another Italian melting cheese of your choice. When choosing zucchinis to use in your spiralizer, I have found that smaller zucchini work best as the larger ones have too many seeds and soft centers that do not cut evenly using a spiralizer.
In my attempt to incorporate more healthy grains into my baking, I used a blend of spelt flour and Caputo pizza flour for my dough in this recipe. If you prefer you could use all purpose flour instead, and if you are rushed for time, you can buy a 1 pound ball of pizza dough at your local grocery store. For the best tasting pizza dough, make it at least 24 hours ahead of time (or up to 48 hours), cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until needed. Once refrigerated, allow your pizza dough to warm completely to room temperature before you try to stretch it. I usually take my dough out of the refrigerator 2 1/2 hours before I need to begin rolling out my pizzas.
Our Florida Pizza Oven
Deborah Mele 2014
For The Dough:
- 2 Cups Pizza Flour
- 2 Cups Spelt Flour
- 1 Tablespoon Instant Yeast
- 1/2 Cup Dry White Wine
- 1/2 to 3/4 Cup Warm Water
- 2 Teaspoons Fine Sea Salt
- 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil (Plus More For Oiling Bowl)
For The Pesto:
- 1 Cup Fresh Basil Leaves
- 1/4 Cup Unsalted, Shelled Pistachios
- 4 Tablespoons Olive Oil
- Salt & Pepper To Taste
- 1 Large Garlic Clove, Peeled
- 4 Tablespoons Olive Oil
- 2 Cups Shredded Mozzarella Cheese
- 4 Ounces Taleggio Cheese, Cut Into Small Cubes
- 2 Small to Medium Sized Zucchini Cut Into Spirals (See Notes Above)
- 2 Cups Halved Ripe Cherry Tomatoes
- 1/2 Cup Chopped Pistachios
- For the dough, in a large bowl mix together the two flours, the white wine, yeast, salt, and olive oil.
- Slowly add in the warm water, stirring as you go until the dough comes together in a ball.
- Dump the ball out onto a lightly floured surface and using your hands, knead with your hands until the dough is very smooth, about 5 to 7 minutes.
- Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl covered with plastic wrap and let double in size.
- Divide the dough up into 8 ounce portions, rolling each in a ball.
- Place two of the balls on a lightly oiled plate and cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until needed.
- Wrap the remaining dough in plastic wrap and freeze for future use.
- Remove the dough balls from the refrigerator 2 1/2 hours before needed, allowing them to completely come to room temperature before using.
- Preheat your oven to the highest setting (usually 500 degrees F.).
- Combine the pesto ingredients in a food processor and pulse until coarsely chopped, then set aside.
- For Each Pizza: On a lightly floured surface, use your hands to press your dough out to a 12 inch circle.
- Lightly cover a baking sheet (or pizza peel if using a pizza stone) with cornmeal, and place the dough on top.
- Lightly brush the surface of the pizza with olive oil, then scatter the mozzarella and crumble the Tallegio over each pizza, leaving a 1 inch border all around.
- Scatter the zucchini, tomato halves, chopped pistachios on top of the cheese over each pizza.
- Drizzle about 2 tablespoons of pesto over each pizza.
- Bake each pizza until bubbly and golden brown, about 15 to 20 minutes.