June 27, 2022

Broccoli Vegetable Pizza

Veggie, vegetable, vegetarian, pizza, recipe, broccoli, red onion, homemade, New York style crust, homemade tomato sauce

Okay, guys, I gotta confess...I honestly never thought that veggie pizza could be this good.  This Broccoli Vegetable Pizza was so yummilicious I couldn’t stop moaning 'OMG, this is so good' over and over as I devoured my first slice.  Embarrassing but true.  

I think this might be the tastiest pizza I have ever had, homemade or restaurant served.  It was so devastatingly good that I was seriously bummed out that I only made one veggie pizza out of the four pizzas we made that night.  Darn it!  But guess what?  Next time it's gonna be veggies all the way!

Veggie, vegetable, vegetarian, pizza, recipe, broccoli, red onion, homemade, New York style crust, homemade tomato sauce

This particular pizza happened because I couldn’t resist a broccoli sale.  For some reason it’s super cheap nowadays.  So I ended up with two really fresh broccoli heads.  One broccoli was reserved for our new pet, a wee blue bird who loves broccoli. The other?  I wasn’t so sure.  

It happened that I was making homemade pizza that night so I wondered if broccoli would work in pizza.  A quick google and J Kenji Lopez confirmed that it did.  So out of the four pizzas I made that night, I made one of them a broccoli vegetarian pizza.  

I seriously cannot believe how good broccoli can be in pizza!  Who the heck would have ever known?  The key is to cut the broccoli into small pieces.  If the pieces are too large they bake differently, more steamed than roasted.  The small pieces allow the broccoli to properly roast in the oven.  The result?  Broccoli is transformed in taste and texture to partly crispy caramelized deliciousness.  It's awesome!

Veggie, vegetable, vegetarian, pizza, recipe, broccoli, red onion, homemade, New York style crust, homemade tomato sauce

To back up the main star of this pizza, we added a couple of our usual favorite veggies toppings for pizza.  First of all we tossed in some lovely red onion for its sweet mildly pungent flavor.  It's fantastic to use this on pizzas as it just about melts/ caramelizes right into the pizza base, adding a lovely sweet complexity. 

Veggie, vegetable, vegetarian, pizza, recipe, broccoli, red onion, homemade, New York style crust, homemade tomato sauce

One of my top favorite veggie toppings for pizza is the bell pepper.  First reason is because they look so pretty,  pinwheeling around the pizza in a choice of red, yellows orange or green colors.  The second reason is because the bell pepper roast up so well, flavorful with a really alluring aroma and a lovely substantial bite to them.

Veggie, vegetable, vegetarian, pizza, recipe, broccoli, red onion, homemade, New York style crust, homemade tomato sauce

Last but not least, we always add some mushrooms.  No matter what kind of pizza we're making, be it meat or seafood or veggie, we are always going to add mushrooms cuz mushrooms ROCK!  So delicious!  Lately we've been experimenting with different kinds of Japanese mushrooms and they're really good as well.  

But for this pizza we went to our good 'ol favorites, the button mushroom.

Veggie, vegetable, vegetarian, pizza, recipe, broccoli, red onion, homemade, New York style crust, homemade tomato sauce

Here is our homemade New York style pizza dough base with our homemade tomato sauce.  We've used this same pizza dough recipe for years now, with stellar results.  The pizza base cooks up crisp, thin and flavorful.  

The easy and quick homemade tomato sauce was whipped by my little girl who, over the years, has tweaked this pizza sauce recipe to perfection.   It's the very first thing she ever helped to make for dinner!  One of the secrets to her sauce is the splash of fish sauce.  Fish sauce is made from fermented fish and adds a hidden umami that ups the overall flavor.

Remember not to put too much sauce on. You don't want the bottom of your pizza to end up a wet sopping mess.  My little girl always makes the sauce a bit more paste like than sauce like which is the perfect thing to do.

Veggie, vegetable, vegetarian, pizza, recipe, broccoli, red onion, homemade, New York style crust, homemade tomato sauce

The cheese goes on next.  My little girl loves, loves, loves cheese so we add quite a bit.  The kind of cheese is up to you but be sure to find something that is stretchy when it melts.  Some favorite stretchy pizza cheeses include mozzarella, emmental, provolone, cheddar, gruyere, goat cheese and pecorino romano.  

The most common cheese combination that is used in pizzerias is mozzarella with provolone.  We used mozzarella with emmental.  It's fun to experiment and use different combinations of cheeses to see what kind of flavor notes you end up with in the pizza.  Cheese has so much character.   Sigh...I love cheese...

Veggie, vegetable, vegetarian, pizza, recipe, broccoli, red onion, homemade, New York style crust, homemade tomato sauce

The veggie toppings come last.  The red onion goes on first.  Then the sliced bell peppers go on in a pinwheel pattern.  Then I lay down the other veggies in between the bell pepper with the mushrooms last, their beautiful forms clear on top.  A final sprinkle of cheese and black pepper and it's done.

One thing I personally love about making pizza is that moment when all your toppings are piled on and it's ready to slide from your pizza peel onto that hot, hot baking stone waiting in your oven.  I can't help but stop to admire the loveliness of the pizza at that moment.  

Time for the impatient wait!   Yeasty and roasty, the quintessential scents of baking pizza fill the air.  Gosh darn it, by this time I'm always so hungry it's like torture.

Veggie, vegetable, vegetarian, pizza, recipe, broccoli, red onion, homemade, New York style crust, homemade tomato sauce

Finally at long last the moment when the pizza is done.   Crust golden and slightly caramelized.  Check.  Veggies roasty and slightly caramelized.  Check.  Time to slide the pizza peel under that baby and get it out of the oven.   Oh, man!  This dang pizza is so good!  Perfectly amazing yummilicious Broccoli Vegetable Pizza!  Time to slice that pie into wedges and dig in. 

The first bite.  Crisp, thin pizza crust.  Caramelized veggies, each with their own distinct roasty flavor and texture, melded onto a deliciously cheesy, tomato-y sauce infused with hints of red onion sweetness.  OMG, so good...  

I think this is the best pizza I've ever made, meat or no meat.  I'm in pizza love!  I never would have believed that a veggie pizza could be so darn soul satisfying!!  

Let me know what y'all think!
Broccoli Vegetable Pizza
(makes four pies) Prep time: 30 min Cook time: 20 mins

Ingredients:

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 450°C.  Place baking stone into the oven when cold.

Prepare dough as in the recipe linked.  After shaping the dough into four equal pieces, shape them into round balls by tucking down until the ball is smooth and taut and place onto well floured tray.  Cover with plastic bag and let rest while preparing the veggies.

Wash broccoli and shake water off completely.  Slice into pieces that are around 1 inch big max.  Wash bell pepper, removing the core and the seeds and slice into strips.  Slice red onion into half and then to thin strips.  Slice mushrooms.

Take out one dough ball, keeping others covered.  On top of a well floured surface use fingers to press down into a circular shape.  Keep pressing and stretching, leaving a slightly thicker edge all around, until the pizza dough is 10 inches around.  Be careful not the poke any holes in your dough.  Holes mean sauce leaks and that's bad.

Optional:  We find it easier to move the pizza in and out of the oven with this method.  Tear off a 12 inch by 12 inch square of parchment paper.  Sprinkle with flour.  Stretch dough out on the paper.

Spoon 3-4 tbsp of tomato sauce onto the dough and use spatula to spread out evenly.  Sprinkle 1/4 of grated cheese evenly over the pizza, saving a bit for the top.   Sprinkle red onion evenly all over.   Place the bell pepper in a radial pattern.  Place broccoli evenly all over.  Same with mushrooms.  Sprinkle 1/4 cup cheese over.  Grate black pepper over.  

Repeat above steps for other three pizzas.

Slide a pizza peel (or a chopping board) under your pizza.  If using parchment paper, slide it right under the paper (paper goes in the oven as well).  Slide pizza onto the baking stone.  Let bake for 20-25 mins or until the pizza crust is golden and the vegetables just caramelized.  Slide out with pizza peel.  Drizzle with olive oil.  Slice into 6 wedges and serve hot and roasty.  Enjoy the veggie blast!

Homemade Tomato Sauce for Pizza

Prep time: 2 mins  Cook time: 0 mins

Ingredients:


* if you can't find Italian seasoning, just mix equivalent amount of basil, oregano, rosemary, thyme and majoram 

Directions:


Start out by mixing tomato paste with 1/2 cup water.  Then add more water as needed, 1 tbsp at a time until the paste becomes very easily spreadable and sauce like. 

Add in Italian seasoning and fish sauce.  Add salt to taste.  Add sugar to taste.  Mix well.  Tasting the sauce at this point is important.  Adjust seasonings until you think the sauce tastes lip smackingly good.  As the background of your pizza, the better the sauce tastes, the better the overall pizza will taste!

Let rest for 15 mins before using.

Precocious Pies at The Hong Kong Cookery:




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