Wednesday, August 14, 2013

0 Recipe #366: Roasted Vegetable Pita Pizza

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Pitas are the perfect size for making your own personal-sized pizzas. These colorful and easy-to-make pizzas are packed full of fiber, protein, and healthy carbs, which makes them deceptively filling. The vegetable toppings and freshly made pizza sauce, with its vine-ripened tomatoes and fresh herbs, are what give this recipe its vibrant flavors. (This is yet another recipe from The Athlete's Cookbook.)

Roasted Vegetable Pita Pizza

Pizza Ingredients:
4 large (7 1/2”) whole wheat pitas
1 c. shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
1/4 c. soft crumbled goat cheese (chèvre), divided
1 c. orange bell pepper, seeded and sliced into thin strips, divided (3/4 large pepper)
1/2 c. Greek olives, pitted and sliced, divided (about 12-14 olives)
2 Tbsp. fresh julienned basil leaves, divided

Pizza Sauce Ingredients:
1 Tbsp. olive oil
¼ c. shallots, peeled and finely minced
1 Tbsp. garlic, peeled and finely minced (about 2 cloves)
1 large bay leaf
15 oz. can crushed tomatoes
½ c. fresh, vine-ripened tomatoes, diced (about ½ small tomato)
2 Tbsp. tomato paste
½ c. water
1 tsp. fresh, finely minced oregano leaves
1/4 c. fresh, julienned basil leaves
2 tsp. fresh thyme leaves

Directions: Preheat oven to 400°F. In a medium-sized sauce pot, heat olive oil on high heat until glistening, then reduce heat to low, add shallots, garlic, and bay leaf, and sauté for 5 minutes or until tender. Add water, crushed tomatoes, vine-ripened tomatoes, and tomato paste, and stir until tomato paste has been fully incorporated. Cover, bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium and cook for 5 minutes. Uncover, add fresh herbs, cover again, and cook for an additional 5 minutes. Let cool, discard bay leaf, and set aside. Place pitas onto a large metal baking sheet. Using the back of a large spoon, spread sauce onto each pizza, then sprinkle with equal amounts of mozzarella cheese, followed by equal amounts of goat cheese, orange bell pepper, and greek olives. Place into oven and bake for 8-10 minutes, or until pizza has reached desired level of crispness. Top with fresh julienned basil leaves and serve hot.

Yield: 4 servings.

Chef’s Notes: To save time, make the pizza sauce a few days in advance of when you plan to serve it. If stored in a tightly sealed container, the sauce will keep for several days in the refrigerator.

Alternate Topping Ideas: Try substituting one of the vegetable toppings with 1/2 c. sliced wild mushrooms (a mix of cremini, portobello, shiitake, etc.). Note that I say "substituting," and not "adding." Since these personal-sized pizzas are small, they can only hold so many toppings before they start falling off as you're eating them. :)

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