“THERE’S NO BETTER FEELING IN THE WORLD THAN A WARM PIZZA BOX ON YOUR LAP.” Kevin James
I remember that feeling! Picking up a pizza in my childhood in New England. Especially on a cold night. Being responsible for balancing that box so perfectly on my knees. Careful not to shift too much so that the cheese wouldn’t ooze off to one side or another. Making sure there was no pressure on the top of the box so that the cheese would not be sticking to the lid when I opened it. The torture of the smell of bread dough and sweet Italian spice the whole ride home!
While I still enjoy a simple, classic, ‘extra’ cheese pizza; nowadays I find myself searching for more. And the pizzas I love the most tend to have no tomato sauce in them at all! Well I joined a new baking group. Claire, from Simply Sweet Justice leads this group of creative and talented bakers who accepted a more savory challenge this month. PIZZA! Mine is made with lightly marinated shrimp on top of a garlicky white bean puree and topped with crunchy home made bread crumbs and fresh herbs! I guarantee you. You won’t miss the box . . . . .
For the Dough: (makes 2 crusts)
- 3 1/2 cups of all purpose flour
- 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
- 2 1/2 teaspoons fast rise yeast
- 1 Tablespoon granulated sugar
- 1 Tablespoon salt
- 1 1/4 cups of warm water (approx. 110°F)
- 2 Tablespoons of olive oil
In the bowl of your food processor, combine both of the flours, yeast, sugar and salt. Pulse to mix the ingredients. While the processor is running, add the olive oil and water in a steady stream. Pulse until the dough forms a rough mass. If the dough doesn’t form into a ball, add another 1-2 teaspoons of water and pulse for another 20-30 seconds. The dough should be tacky but not sticky. Place the dough on a lightly floured work surface and form into a smooth ball. Place the dough in a large oiled bowl, and turn it to coat. Cover it with plastic wrap. Let the dough rise in a warm spot until it is doubled in volume and spongy to the touch (about 1 1/2 hours). Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface, punch it down and shape it into a smooth cylinder. Divide the dough into 2 equal pieces. Shape them into 2 smooth balls. If not using both, place one into a freezer bag and freeze for up to 2 months. Cover the other dough ball with a kitchen towel for about 10 minutes to rest.
NOTE: Once you have your crust, and you are ready to make the pizza, place a pizza stone or a large, rimless, baking sheet in the lower third of your oven and preheat it to 450°F. Let the stone or the pan heat in the oven for 45-60 minutes. Use this time to prepare your other ingredients.
FOR THE TOPPING:
- 3 Tablespoons olive oil
- 12 ounces of canned, small, white beans, rinsed and drained
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- 3/4 of a pound of small shrimp, peeled, deveined and halved lengthwise
- 1/4 teaspoon of dried oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon of finely chopped fresh rosemary
- 2 Tablespoons of garlic breadcrumbs
- 1 Tablespoon fresh, chopped parsley
- 1 Tablespoon fresh oregano
In the bowl of your food processor, combine the white beans, garlic, rosemary, salt & pepper, and 1 1/2 Tablespoons of olive oil. Process until smooth and set aside.
FOR THE BREADCRUMBS:
- 2 ounces course, crusty bread, torn into large pieces
- 1 large garlic clove, minced
- 1/4 teaspoon of salt
- pinch of red pepper flakes
- freshly ground pepper
- 1 Tablespoon of olive oil
In the bowl of your food processor, pulse the bread, garlic, salt, pepper until you have coarse crumbs. Add the olive oil, pulse until combined. Set aside.
In a bowl, combine the shrimp, dried oregano, 1/4 teaspoon of salt, pinch of red pepper flakes, pepper to taste, and 1 1/2 Tablespoons of olive oil.
Place a large piece of parchment paper on a baking sheet. Coat your fingers with oil and press the dough from the center outward until it forms a rectangle or oval that fits the sheet. Keep a slightly raised edge, however. If the dough springs back, cover it with a clean kitchen towel and let it rest for a few minutes and then continue. Cover the dough with a kitchen towel and let it rise for 15 minutes. Lightly brush the edges of the dough with olive oil. Season the dough with salt and pepper. Spread 1 cup or a little more of the white bean puree on top of the crust. Smooth it with an offset spatula. (If you have extra white bean puree, it makes a great dip for pita chips!) Scatter the shrimp all over the crust. Scatter bread crumbs over the shrimp. Ease the parchment paper off of the baking sheet and onto the preheated stone or baking sheet in your oven. Bake until the crust is golden brown and the shrimp are pink, about 15 minutes. Sprinkle with fresh parsley and oregano. Slice and serve. And ENJOY!
Recipe adapted from Brigit Binns