grilled veggie pizza

Try this at home.  Grilled pizza crust.  Fresh veggies.  Creamy mozzarella.  You won’t want to do take-out quite so often.

Let’s talk about dough.  There are many fine recipes out there for making your own pizza dough.  I hope to share my favorite with you at some point, but for now we’ll concentrate on the grilling process.  When you arrive home with your purchased dough ball (usually available at your local Italian bakery) you’ll need to allow some time for the dough to rise.  Brush a large glass bowl lightly with olive oil.  Place the dough ball in the prepared bowl …one that is about twice the size of the dough.  Turn the dough in the bowl to coat with the oil.  Cover with a clean towel and place in a warm area until doubled in size, about one hour.  If your kitchen is drafty or on the cool side, you can use your oven for this step.  I turn the oven on as if I’m preheating it.  After a minute or two, turn the oven off.  You’ll find that it warmed the interior just a bit and it is the perfect environment for rising your dough.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface.  Using the heel of your hand, gently press and stretch the dough out toward the edges.  We prefer thin crust in my household, so I try to stretch the dough to 1/4-inch or less thickness.  Using a rolling pin to smooth it out helps with the process.  If the dough is stubborn and wants to “shrink back” as you work, just give it a five minute rest before continuing.

When you are satisfied with the results, brush the entire surface lightly with olive oil.  Season lightly with coarse salt and you’re ready to fold for transport to the grill.

As long as you’ve brushed all areas of the dough with olive oil, there’s no need to oil the grill grates.

Some folks will add their toppings as the flip side cooks, so that the pizza is finished off on the grill.  I’ve found that, especially since we like to add several layers of toppings, finishing the pizza in the oven works well.  There’s another bonus to consider with this method …you can make the crust, store it in the freezer and use whenever.  Sometimes I’ll grill four to six crusts on a day when we are having pizza.  Each extra crust fits perfectly in one of those jumbo plastic zip-lock bags.  Great addition for the perfectly stocked freezer.  They sure do come in handy when planning an impromptu gathering!

The process of preparing the veggies takes some time but it is worth every moment.  If you are planning to serve this pizza to friends and family, definitely get those toppings ready early in the day.  Or even the day before.  If not, you can get your toppings ready while the dough rises!

Instead of using or making a highly seasoned pizza tomato sauce, try using fresh or jarred marinara sauce on your next creation.  My go-to prepared sauce is Mario Batali’s marinara.

If you have a pizza stone, this is the time to use it.  Be sure to preheat it in your oven for at least thirty minutes.  Especially if you like some crunch in your crust.  Once all of that goodness is layered on, you’re about ten minutes from experiencing true deliciousness.

 

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grilled veggie pizza


Servings 8 slices

Ingredients

PIZZA CRUST

  • 1 - 16 ounce pizza dough ball
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • flour (for dusting)
  • coarse kosher salt

BROCCOLI RABE

  • 1/2 pound broccoli rabe
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

MUSHROOMS

  • 2 large portabella mushrooms, thickly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

PIZZA

  • 1 prepared pizza crust
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup marinara sauce
  • 2 large plum tomatoes, thinly sliced
  • prepared broccoli rabe, roughly chopped
  • 16 ounces fresh mozzarella, thinly sliced
  • prepared portabella mushroom slices
  • fresh basil leaves, cut in strips
  • 1 ounce freshly grated parmesan cheese

Instructions

PIZZA CRUST

  1. Brush a large glass bowl lightly with olive oil. Place the dough ball in the prepared bowl, one that is about twice the size of the dough. Turn the dough in the bowl to coat with the oil. Cover with a clean towel and place in a warm area until doubled in size, about one hour.

  2. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Using the heel of your hand, gently press and stretch the dough out toward the edges. For a thin crust, stretch the dough to 1/4-inch or less thickness. Using a rolling pin to smooth it out helps with the process. If the dough is stubborn and wants to "shrink back" as you work, just give it a five minute rest before continuing.

  3. Preheat gas grill to medium-high heat.

  4. When you are satisfied with the results, brush the entire surface lightly with olive oil. Season lightly with coarse salt.  Gently lift one end and fold dough in half.  Brush surface lightly with olive oil.  Lift edge of long end and again fold in half, brushing once again with olive oil.  Place oiled side of folded dough down on tray and oil again.  Let dough rest for 10 minutes.  Dough is now ready for transport to the grill.

  5. Unfold the dough and cautiously place it on the preheated grill grates.  You may need to quickly stretch the edges to re-establish the desired shape.  Close grill cover.  After a minute or so, lift the edge of the dough to check on the progress.  Once dough starts to "bubble" and gill marks are noticeable, flip the dough using metal tongs or a pizza turner.  Cover grill and after one minute, lift the dough to check underneath.  Once the char marks are apparent, the crust is ready to be transferred to a tray.  

  6. If not using right away, allow crust to cool completely before placing in plastic bag for storage.

BROCCOLI RABE

  1. Thoroughly wash broccoli rabe.  Have a large bowl of ice water ready.  Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Add broccoli rabe and blanch for 60 seconds.. With tongs, remove broccoli rabe and place immediately in ice water.  Once cooled, drain in a colander.  Lay in a single layer on paper towels to dry thoroughly.  Cut in 1" to 1 1/2" pieces.

  2. Heat olive oil in skillet over medium heat. Add minced garlic & red pepper flakes. Sauté for about 30 seconds. Add broccoli rabe and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Sauté for one minute, tossing continuously with tongs.   Remove from heat and set aside.

MUSHROOMS

  1. Clean mushrooms by wiping top surface with a dampened paper towel.  Flip mushrooms over and remove underneath gills by scraping with the edge of a spoon.

  2. Cut mushrooms into generous slices, about 1/2" thick.  Heat olive oil in skillet over medium heat.  Add mushrooms in a single layer.  Let them cook for about 3 to 4 minutes without moving them.  Once browned, flip mushrooms to continue cooking on other side, an additional 2 to 3 minutes.  Season with salt and pepper.  Set aside.

PIZZA

  1. Place pizza stone, if using, on rack positioned in the bottom third of oven.  Preheat oven to 500°F.

  2. Spread sliced tomato between layers of paper towels to absorb excess moisture.

  3. Lightly brush edges of pizza crust with olive oil.  Evenly spread marinara sauce to cover entire surface, within a half inch of edge.  Place tomato slices, evenly spaced, over sauce.  Top with broccoli rabe pieces.

  4. Carefully place mozzarella over broccoli rabe, allowing for even spacing of about an inch between slices.  Next, add the mushroom slices.

  5. Slide pizza onto preheated stone.  Set the timer for 9 minutes.  Remove from oven when ready.  Cut into eight slices.  Top with fresh basil and freshly grated parmesan cheese.  Serve immediately.

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