Friday, April 22, 2011

Almond ricotta pizza

After a not insignificant amount of experimentation this is the pizza we have loved the most (in degree and frequency). Regular crust with a quick marinara sauce, a few dollops of almond ricotta, topped with kale (or broccoli) and tempeh sausage. Out of a perverse kind of laziness (i.e., not wanting to go to the store), I've gotten in the habit of making all the various components from scratch, but everything other than the cheese and sauce could easily be subbed out for pre-made stuff.

I still like Bittman's pizza dough recipe. Kristen doesn't love the cornmeal so I have been using all flour lately (and I can verify that up to 1/3 whole wheat flour tastes good). Also if you are into leavening things, I can't recommend instant yeast enough (available on King Arthur Flour's website).

Once the dough has risen, divide it, shape it into two balls and cover with a dry cloth. Throw your pizza stone in the oven (I've also had good luck baking pizza in a 12" cast iron skillet) and preheat to 500. If your oven is anything like mine, you should have plenty of time to make the toppings while you wait:

Simple pizza sauce
Half an onion, diced
28oz can of whole tomatoes
0.5 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp olive oil
Salt, pepper, oregano

Heat the oil over medium heat, add the onions and a pinch of salt and cook until translucent. Trim the tomatoes (i.e., cut off the stems and chop coarsely), and add them with about half of their juice to the pan. Add the sugar, oregano, and salt and pepper to taste. Simmer for 10-15 minutes, and then give it a quick pulse in the blender.

Almond ricotta
1 cup almonds
1 clove garlic
1 tbsp lemon juice
~0.25 cups warm water
Salt, pepper

If your almonds have skins, drop them in boiling water for a couple minutes, and then transfer to an ice bath. When they're cool, just squeeze along the edges, and the almond will pop out. Toss the skins, and let the almonds soak in warm water for a few minutes (usually how ever long it takes to make the sauce). Drain almost all of the water, and transfer to a food processor. Add the garlic, lemon, and a pinch of salt. The goal now is to process until it is quite smooth (it's always slightly grainy but that seems to work itself out when it bakes), and fairly thick, adding a little bit of water at a time as necessary. I've found it to be quite forgiving w/r/t the amount of water, so don't worry if it seems too thick or too thin (anywhere from yogurt to ricotta seems to work fine). Season to taste.

Toss the dough like so (warning: embarrassing animated GIF), or just roll and stretch it like a normal person. Top with plenty of sauce. We're partial to tempeh sausage crumbles à la Isa and something green (broccoli, kale) for toppings, plus a few evenly spaced dollops of almond cheese. Bake for 9-10 minutes at 500, until the crust is starting to darken and the cheese puffs up a bit. Enjoy!

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