I heart homemade pizza. Pizza dough was my first foray into yeast-leavened dough. Using yeast to get dough to rise used to intimidate me. What if I couldn't get it to rise? I figured since it was going to be flat for pizza anyway, what the heck. As it turns out, it's not really as hard as I thought.
The last few times I've made pizza though, I've had trouble with the crust. It doesn't get crispy, and sometimes it's still right down soggy in the middle. I figured it was because I wasn't using a pizza stone. So, I resigned myself to the fact that I'll never make great pizza unless I invest in one.
However, this is the recipe that broke my crust fail streak. I think I wasn't baking it hot enough and for long enough. Let me just say that I never follow a recipe for pizzas once I get the crust made. It's pretty simple, right? Put some toppings on the pizza crust and bake. Turns out I just needed a little direction on the baking part.
This recipe is from the Parents Need to Eat Too blog. Even though I don't have any children, I still like to read blogs like this. I've been interested nutrition for a while, and one of the biggest issues of our generation is the obesity epidemic. I read a lot about childhood obesity, partly because these issues interest me, and partly because of my job. One of the things I do in my nine-to-fiver is monitor and research health policy. Obesity is at the forefront of every conversation about public health and the role government should play in addressing it. Debbie Koenig's blog addresses the issue of childhood obesity by taking the focus that, like language or people skills, eating is something that children learn from their parents. Raising children that prefer and eat healthy foods can combat the childhood obesity rate. Her blog is an inspiration for parents and non-parents both, demonstrating that healthy food is also delicious.
This recipe jumped out at me because of two words: "kale" and "pizza." Kale is my new favorite vegetable. I'll admit, I had maybe only eaten it once before I bought some from the Monroe Farm Market last fall. I don't know why I was denying myself this complex, bittersweet superfood!
Changes I made to the recipe: I substituted goat cheese for the cheddar cheese and used butternut squash instead of delicata.
The PROJECT RECIPE verdict: It's a keeper!
Here's the recipe as I adapted it:
1/2 recipe pizza dough (see below)
1 small bunch of kale, ribs removed (I used a mix of baby red and tuscan kale)
1 ish Tb of balsamic vinegar
extra virgin olive oil
kosher salt and pepper
1 cup roasted winter squash, cut into flatter chunks
4 oz. crumbled goat cheese
Preheat oven to 500 degrees Spray a baking sheet with non-stick cooking spray (and spray your hands, too). I spread the pizza dough by pressing it around the pan until it's 12 inches or so across. It doesn't necessary need to be round, this pizza was a square. Tear the kale leaves into bite size pieces and place in a bowl. Toss with balsamic vinegar, a little bit of olive oil, salt and pepper, until all pieces are covered. Spread on the pizza dough, then top with the winter squash chunks. Finally, top with goat cheese crumbles and another light drizzle of olive oil.