Pizza is the ultimate crowd pleaser and this ‘up-scale’ vegetarian version is sure to be a hit with whatever crowd you have over for the New Year. I replaced the fontina with cheddar (much cheaper and also the traditional pizza cheese here in Trinidad :D), I don’t think it was any the worse for the wear. I also replaced white flour with wholewheat (in the sauce and in some of the pizza dough) and worked the Parmesan into the pizza dough (the original recipe omitted exactly where the Parmesan went lol!). The garlic flavour isn’t anywhere as overwhelming as you may think. I believe this is because of the slow roasting. I was also surprised that even though some of the garlic pieces had blackened bits the garlic itself wasn’t bitter, instead they were chewy and almost candyish. Maybe this was cos of the slow cooking as well? I also added some coarsely chopped onions cos I knew otherwise there wouldn’t be enough ‘body’ to the topping to convince my parents that this qualifed as ‘food’ 😀
I’ve also taken the liberty of rewriting the order of the ingredients and the instructions because I think the way the Food Network site laid it out makes it look a LOT more intimidating than it really is. Once the components have been made the dish takes 15 minutes tops to put together and pop into the oven (and it’s out in 10!). The majority of the time is spent roasting the garlic and letting the pizza dough rise and time is doing all the work there!
Roasted Garlic White Pizza with Garlic Sauce (adapted from this Food Network/Emeril Lagasse Recipe)
For Roasted Garlic:
3 to 4 heads garlic, upper quarter removed
4 teaspoons olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper
For Parmesan Pizza Dough:
1 cup warm water (105 to 115 degrees F)
1 (1/4-ounce) envelope active dry yeast
1 teaspoon honey
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 3/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan
Yellow cornmeal, for sprinkling the baking sheet
For Garlic Sauce:
1 cup water
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons wholewheat flour
1/4 teaspoon plus a pinch salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
For Pizza Topping:
8 ounces fresh mozzarella, sliced
4 ounces grated cheddar
2 onions, coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil leaves
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves
Part 1: Roast the Garlic
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
2. Place the garlic on a foil-lined baking sheet and rub 1 teaspoon of oil into the top of each head.
3. Sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper and place, cut side down, on the baking sheet.
4. Bake until the cloves are soft and golden, about 1 hour.
5. Remove from the oven and let sit until cool enough to handle.
6. Carefully remove each clove of garlic from the head. Squeeze each head of garlic to expel any cloves that you cannot remove individually.
7. Set aside until needed.
Part 2: Make the Pizza Dough
1. In a large bowl, combine the water, yeast, honey, and 1 tablespoon oil, stirring to combine. Let sit until the mixture is foamy, about 5 minutes.
2. Add 1 1/2 cups of the flour and the salt, mixing by hand until it is all incorporated and the mixture is smooth. Continue adding the flour, 1/4 cup at a time, working the dough after each addition, until the dough is smooth but still slightly sticky. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth but still slightly tacky, 3 to 5 minutes.
3. Oil a large mixing bowl with remaining olive oil. Place the dough in the bowl, turning to coat with the oil. Cover with plastic wrap and set in a warm place, free from drafts until doubled in size, about 1 1/2 hours.
4. Punch dough down and turn out onto a lightly floured surface and roll into a 15-inch circle.
Part 3: Make the Garlic Sauce (TIP: start this while the dough is rising so that it will be cool enough to spread once the dough is rolled out )
1. Gently heat water in a small saucepan, just until barely simmering. Remove and keep covered.
2. In a separate saucepan, melt butter. When foam subsides, add flour and stir until smooth. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes, stirring. Do not allow flour to color.
3. Gradually add the warm water, whisking to combine. Add the salt and cayenne and increase the heat to medium. Cook the mixture, whisking continuously, until the sauce comes to a boil and is thickened.
4. Remove from heat and add 10 of the roasted garlic cloves.
5. Pour the hot mixture into a blender, cover tightly, and process until smooth.
6. Transfer to a small bowl and cool slightly, placing a piece of plastic wrap directly on the surface.
Part 4: Assemble the Pizza
1. Place a pizza stone in the oven and preheat to 500 degrees F.
2. Sprinkle about 2 tablespoons of the yellow cornmeal on a baker’s peel or baking sheet. Place the rolled out pizza dough circle on the prepared baker’s peel or baking sheet.
3. Spread the cooled sauce over pizza dough, leaving a 3/4-inch border.
4. Place sliced mozzarella on top of the sauce.
5. Sprinkle the remaining roasted garlic cloves (whole) over the cheese and top with the grated cheddar.
6. Bake the pizza for 8 to 10 minutes, or until the crust is golden and cheese is melted and bubbly and golden brown in spots. 7. Remove from the oven and sprinkle chopped herbs over the top.
8. Serve immediately.
Serves 8 easily as a meal, 2 to 3 times more if served in appetizer portions!