Bell Pepper, Red Onion, and Goat Cheese Pizza

Bell Pepper, Red Onion, and Goat Cheese Pizza

Pizza again! We’ve definitely been exploring the nearly-cheeseless pizzas lately, as they satisfy both of our constant cravings for pizza. My cravings because pizza is something I can’t have unless it has very little or no cheese (rare), and Taylor craves it because I can’t have it he doesn’t get it often and goes through withdrawal. Poor guy. All he wants is his pizza. Lucky for him, I found this recipe, which is mozzarella free, only boasting a sprinkling of my favorite, goat cheese. And while there are no eggs on this one, it’s still a feast for the eyes and the stomach.

My favorite pizza of all time just might be Pizza Bianca from this recipe. Seriously, the best pizza ever. But it has slightly too much cheese for me, the mozzarella really puts it over my cheese tolerance level. But, I did steal one thing from that recipe and have adapted and claimed it as my own: the crust. It’s perfect. Delicious. Crisp. And with the addition of some fennel and thyme, this is not your plain old pizza crust. If you’ve got the time, definitely give the from-scratch crust a go. It’s well worth the extra effort.

Bell Pepper, Red Onion, and Goat Cheese Pizza

Makes 2-4 servings (depending on how hungry you are and how big you roll it). Recipe adapted from Epicurious.

Ingredients:

Crust:
3/4 cup warm water (105°F to 115°F)
1 1/2 teaspoons dry yeast (from 1 envelope)
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1 3/4 cups (about) unbleached all purpose flour
1 teaspoon whole fennel seeds
1 teaspoon dried thyme

Topping:
1/4 cup olive oil
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 cups (packed) baby spinach leaves (1 1/2 to 2 ounces)
1 1/2 cups thickly sliced mushrooms (5 to 6 ounces)
1/2 cup drained roasted red peppers from jar, cut into thin strips
1/2 cup paper-thin red onion slices
8 large fresh basil leaves, cut into thin strips
5-ounce package soft fresh goat cheese, coarsely crumbled

Directions:

For crust:
Pour 3/4 cup water into large bowl. Sprinkle yeast over; stir to blend. Let stand 10 minutes to dissolve yeast. Add oil, salt, and herbs, then 1 1/2 cups flour. Stir until well blended (dough will be sticky). Turn dough out onto generously floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, adding just enough flour to prevent dough from sticking, about 5 minutes (dough will be soft). Shape dough into ball; place in large oiled bowl and turn to coat. Cover bowl with kitchen towel. Let dough rise at cool room temperature until almost doubled, about 2 hours. Punch dough down; form into ball. Return to bowl; cover with towel and let rise until doubled, about 3 hours.

Preheat oven to 425°F. Punch down dough. Form into ball; place on floured work surface. Cover with kitchen towel; let rest 30 minutes. Sprinkle rimless baking sheet with cornmeal. Roll out dough on floured surface to 13-inch round. Transfer to baking sheet.

Mix olive oil, red pepper flakes, and minced garlic in small bowl, and set aside.

Bake crust for 5-7 minutes or until just set. Remove from oven and brush 2 tablespoons garlic oil evenly over crust. Top with spinach leaves, then sprinkle with sliced mushrooms, roasted red peppers, red onion slices, fresh basil, and crumbled goat cheese. Drizzle pizza evenly with remaining garlic oil.

Bake pizza until crust is crisp and cheese begins to brown, 15-18 minutes. Transfer pizza to board. Cut into wedges and serve warm.