I made dinner for my family of four tonight. And, as you have probably already gathered, it was whole wheat pizzas.
I’m going to jump right in and write about my pizza preparation.
First of all, the dough is delicious, and quickly made to boot. All you have to do is throw all of your ingredients into a kitchen-aid mixer, affix a dough hook, and watch it spin!
The dough has to rise for about 20 minutes.
While waiting for that to happen, there is plenty to do. These pizzas have a creamy ricotta base, rather than the typical tomato type. There is also the question of toppings. Donna includes six suggestions with her base recipe, so I decided to try three: spinach with feta and pine nuts, mushrooms with parmesan and thyme, and caramelized onion with feta and rosemary.
My caramelized red onions were surprisingly sweet!
After rolling out the dough nice and thin, I set out my toppings and began the assembly.
Here they are, my finished beauties:
This last one has everything on it except for onions because I ran out. They were the best homemade pizzas I’ve ever attempted!
The family favorite was easily the caramelized onion. The sweetness of the onion and the saltiness of the crust and feta offset and balanced each other beautifully. (That’s not to say the others weren’t pretty great too!)
Here’s how make these wholesome pies:
This recipe is adapted from Donna Hay’s Fresh and Light, an aesthetically pleasing cookbook full of hit recipes.
For the base–
- 2 cups whole wheat flour
- 2 tsp sea salt flakes (I used Maldon’s Fleur de Sel.)
- 1/4 tsp dry yeast
- 1 cup water
- 1/4 cup olive oil
For the ricotta spread–
- 1 generous cup ricotta
- 2 tbs milk
- some salt and black pepper
For the toppings (amounts measured completely to taste)–
- spinach, feta, pine nuts
- assorted mushrooms, grated parmesan, fresh thyme
- 2 red onions, vegetable oil plus salt & pepper for caramelizing, feta, fresh thyme
1. Mix the flour, salt, yeast, water, and oil in a stand mixer affixed with a dough hook for 3-5 minutes. Cover the bowl with saran wrap and let the dough rise for at least 20 minutes. I should warn you, you can barely tell it’s risen. Don’t be alarmed if you can’t see any change! I couldn’t really either and mine turned out just fine.
2. Mix the ricotta, milk, salt, and pepper together. This can be done by hand with a fork or a whisk.
3. (If you are caramelizing onions, chop them nice and thin and toss into a large fry pan with some vegetable oil. Let them cook until limp and brown, stirring every so often to avoid burning.)
4. Divide the dough into four and roll each piece into a thin round.
5. Spread each pizza base with the ricotta sauce and top as desired. For the mushroom pie, you can really heap the mushrooms on as they will reduce significantly when cooked, something that, as you can tell from the picture, I did not realize until afterwards.
6. Cook at 200ºC (400ºF). Donna says to cook for 14 minutes, but I kept mine in longer, until the edges were crisp and brown.
After dinner, my mother had the brilliant idea of blending some pesto in with the ricotta base. I am definitely trying that next time!