Saturday, February 26, 2011

Who Says Cheeseless Pizza Isn't Good!?

Anyone who knows me... (or pays attention - my Dad never remembers!) knows that I am allergic to dairy, which would explain all of the dietary restrictions that I cater to*. So I cover my pizzas with veggies, herbs and eggs, and with the right combo I don't even miss the cheese. I had some friends over the other day in the midst of my bread phase so I made a herb and olive oil filled whole wheat pizza dough (see below for the recipe), then covered it with Greek marinated olives, roasted red peppers, garlic, salt, pepper and 2 farm fresh eggs. Now I know a lot of you cringe at the thought of an egg on a pizza but until you try it you cannot say anything because it happens to be phenomenal! Truthfully, ANYTHING with a runny egg on it is fantastic! All the cool kids are doing it! If you would like to try it and some other great pizzas without the hassle of making them, try OTTO Pizzeria in NYC. The Mario Batalli hot spot on 8th street between 5th ave and University Place has some great pizza and pasta selections... covered with runny yolks :D One of my favorites - Enjoy!

*If you are curious about the allergy, I wasn't always allergic to dairy actually! I lived in Florence for 4 months and while I was there I ate my lifetime supply of dairy products! So much so that I gained a solid 60lbs. Anywhoo... when I returned to Boston and took off the stretchy pants I wore for the past 4 months- I realized that NOTHING ELSE FIT ME! I immediately went on a diet and cut out meats and high fat dairy. I lost the weight pretty fast but when I tried to go back to dairy my body completely rejected it... and here I am today LOVING CHEESE-LESS PIZZA! But truth be told I have eaten my fair share of dairy for a lifetime... AND THEN SOME!

No-Knead Pizza Dough
Adapted from Jim Lahey, BREAD
Makes four 12-inch pizza crusts

1.5 cups bread flour, more for dusting
1.5 cups whole wheat  flour
¼ teaspoon instant yeast
2 teaspoons salt
1½ cups water
3 tablespoons of mixed herbs (fresh or dried)

In a large bowl, mix the flour with the yeast and salt. Add the water and stir until blended (the dough will be very sticky). Cover the bowl with a towel and let rest for 12 to 24 hours in a warm spot, about 70°.
Place the dough on a lightly floured work surface and lightly sprinkle the top with flour and semolina. Fold the dough over on itself once or twice, cover loosely with a towel and let rest for 15 minutes.
Divide the dough into 4 pieces and shape each piece into a ball. Generously sprinkle a clean cotton towel with flour and cover the dough balls with it. Let the dough rise for 2 hours.
Stretch or toss the dough into the desired shape, cover with toppings and bake on top of a very hot pizza stone. (450˚F for 12-15 minutes) NOTE: if using eggs, add them halfway through cooking so they stay runny)

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