Wednesday, August 29, 2012
ZUCCHINI, BASIL, AND FETA PIZZA
You guys, you guys, I’m back from my (sort of inadvertent) summer blog break and I have a backlog of SO MANY delicious recipes to tell you about, it is really ridiculous. Thus, I’m going to keep things short and sweet here so I can get caught up before, oh, Christmas.
I know it seems like I already have more pizza recipes than any human really needs, but when the hot weather finally rolled around (we were lucky this year in SoCal and that didn’t happen until July), I realized I don’t have a lot that feel particularly light and summery. (Besides this one. If you haven’t made it yet this summer, do it now.) So I went poking around and found just what I’d been craving, a nice white pizza with zucchini, at the always-reliable Eggs on Sunday. Even though I always put zucchini my traditional tomato-sauce pizza, I surprisingly didn’t have any other pizza recipes that used it, except, again, this one. (Have you made it yet? If not, why are you still reading this?)
I know it’s not totally necessary to have a recipe for making pizza, but I like a little guidance, and this one provided a perfect formula. I changed a few things, switching out the goat cheese (bleah) for feta (yeah) and reserving some of the basil to add on after baking so I could really enjoy its fresh taste. But on my own, I wouldn’t have come up with the idea of roasting the zucchini. I usually sauté it lightly for a clean, straight-up taste, just enough to release some of its moisture so it doesn’t make my pizza too soggy or stay too crunchy-raw; when the zucchini is the star, however, the caramelization that roasting provides adds a welcome flavor boost, and I liked the chewier texture. I also especially enjoyed the addition of cheddar cheese to the mix. Just watch out for the garlic here—I love it with zucchini, so I used a large clove, forgetting that it would stay pretty much raw. It didn’t look like that much, but it ended up permeating every bite. I’m a garlic fan, and I had no trouble eating it, but I regretted it the next day when I woke up and my mouth still tasted like garlic after several teeth brushings, flossings, and mouthwashes. Don’t get greedy like me; stick with a smallish clove.
Aside from the garlic breath, I loved this. It’s easy, fresh, pretty, and sure to become a summer staple around here.
1 medium zucchini, thinly sliced
1 medium yellow summer squash, thinly sliced
Olive oil to taste
Salt to taste
1 pound pizza dough
1 small to medium clove garlic, minced
1 pinch red pepper flakes
1 handful basil leaves, torn or thinly sliced
¾ cup shredded mozzarella cheese
¾ cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
2 ounces feta, crumbled
1. To roast the squash, preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Toss the squash slices with about 1 tablespoon olive oil and salt to taste in a large bowl, then lay them in a single layer on a baking sheet coated with parchment or aluminum foil. Roast until the bottoms begin to brown, about 10 minutes, then flip and continue roasting until the tops have started to brown as well. (Alternatively, you can grill the squash, or just sauté it in olive oil over medium heat until softened.) Set aside.
2. When you’re ready to make the pizza, preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Roll out your pizza dough on an oiled baking sheet. Top with the shredded cheeses, then the garlic, red pepper flakes, cooked squash slices, half of the basil, and the crumbled goat cheese.
3. Bake pizza until the crust is golden brown and the cheese is bubbling, about 8 to 10 minutes. Sprinkle with the remaining basil.
Time: 45 minutes
Leftover potential: Good.