Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Quickie Pizza with Panna and Vegetables

I love homemade pizza, but it does require some advanced planning to make the dough and let it rise.  Enter this recipe for fast homemade pizza - I decided I wanted pizza for lunch around 11:30am, and we were eating by 12:30!  At least in our area, you often can't get delivery in that amount of time, and this pizza is so much tastier than delivery.  The game plan: make the dough - a stand mixer makes this part faster, but of course you can make it by hand as well.  Let rise in a warm oven for half an hour.  While the dough rises, prep all your toppings.  Take the dough out of the oven and crank up the temperature.  Press the dough into a pan, pile on the toppings, and then bake in a super hot oven until the cheese is all bubbly.  Eat!

As with all pizza recipes, the toppings are infinitely customize-able to fit what you like and what you've got in the fridge.  This pie was definitely a clean-out-the-fridge pizza, using up a bit of heavy cream, various veggies we had from our CSA, and a couple of Trader Joe's cheeses.  Panna, or unsweetened whipped cream, is a fantastic base for pizza toppings - it sounds crazy, but really it's just a super simple way to top your pizza with white sauce without making a bechamel!  The piece de resistance is a bit of Sonomic balsamic syrup drizzled over the top.  I highly recommend this if you can find it, but if you can't, you can always make your own balsamic syrup.

So, with such a small time investment, how did the pizza taste?  I have to admit, it was not as good as my favorite pizza crust recipe.  However, that recipe takes two days to make, so you can't exactly have it on a moment's notice.  Although it wasn't a 'best ever' recipe in terms of flavor and texture, this pizza crust was definitely very tasty and made a great base for flavorful toppings.  This is a recipe I'll be going back to any time that pizza craving hits!

Quickie Pizza with Panna and Vegetables (adapted from the Smitten Kitchen Cookbook)
Serves 2

Quickie pizza dough:
1/2 cup warm water, plus more as needed
1-1/4 tsp active dry yeast
1-1/2 cups all purpose flour, plus more as needed
1 tsp table salt
Olive oil, for the bowl and baking sheet

1/2 cup cream, whipped (don't add sugar!)
Veggies: I used thinly sliced fennel, thinly sliced red bell pepper, and sauteed swiss chard
Cheese: I used crumbled goat cheese and shaved Parmesan
Parsley (or another fresh herb), chopped
Balsamic syrup

1. Turn oven to warm for five minutes, and then turn it off (you can do this while you mix the dough).
2. Pour the water into the bowl of a stand mixer.  Sprinkle the yeast over and let sit 5 minutes.  Add the flour and salt and mix with the dough hook until the mixture forms a smooth, elastic dough, about 5 minutes.  Add more water or flour as needed.
3. Remove the dough, wipe out the bowl, and coat lightly with olive oil.
4. Form the dough into a ball, return to the bowl, and cover with plastic wrap.  Place in the warmed oven.  Let sit 30 minutes.
5. Remove the dough from the oven and turn the oven to 500 degrees or its highest setting.
6. Line a large baking sheet with foil and coat lightly with oil.  Press the dough out over the baking sheet - depending on the size of your pan, it might not stretch all the way to the edges.  If the dough won't stretch, let it rest for a few minutes to allow the dough to relax before continuing.  Try to make the edges a bit thicker than the middle, since they'll cook fastest.
7. Sprinkle salt all over the pizza dough.  Spread the cream (panna) evenly over the salt, leaving a bit of a border at the edges.  Sprinkle the vegetables, cheese, and parsley over the panna, being careful not to load on too many toppings.  Drizzle the balsamic syrup over everything.
8. Bake until the cheese is bubbling and the crust is browned on the bottom.  Slice the pizza and enjoy while hot!


  1. That looks delicious! By mistake I found out that my deep dish pizza crust stays for a very long time in my fridge and made a great thin crust pizza.

    I only ended up making one pizza, and stuck the other half of the dough in the fridge, only for it to get buried in the back - nearly 2 weeks later I pulled it out and made a great thin crust pizza - I liked the cornmeal in the crust!