RUSTED ROOT PIZZA

My girlfriends and I used to be in a wine club. We would take turns hosting, with the hostess being responsible for choosing the food and the varietal. Everyone else would bring a bottle of the wine of the month. The first two meetings I think we actually paid attention to what we were tasting and took notes. After that, it became more of a social, tipsy affair, and these wine nights kinda became famous (or infamous) among the guys in our group. They knew that wine club, which started as an innocent attempt to learn more about wine, meant trouble. It was awesome. I would tell you stories but what happens in wine club, stays in wine club. As people started getting married, having babies, and moving out of the city, wine club died a slow, natural death.

Last Wednesday I had sort of a wine club revival at my apartment. It wasn’t intended to be as such. But at 2:00 in the morning when we were drinking tumblers of white wine over mounds of ice and singing 80’s music, it felt like wine club all over again. And so did my hangover the next morning. Did I mention that I hate white wine? And that I think wine should only be served over ice if it’s sangria? Yet, there I was, standing in my living room, icy white wine in hand, singing I Just Died in Your Arms Tonight and proclaiming that my Barbies used to dance to this song at their “prom.” Woof.

Nonetheless, it was a great time. For the occasion, I made a roasted root vegetable pizza that my wine brain (or Claire’s wine brain, I can’t remember) dubbed Rusted Root Pizza. I was at the farmer’s market last Sunday and, on a whim, bought parsnips. It feels weird to say “I love parsnips,” but I do! And this is where the idea for the pizza started. I wanted to make something with parsnips that would go over well at a social event. Naturally, pizza came to mind.

Every time I have made pizza at home, with my very unofficial pizza peel– it’s a bread board– it’s worked out just fine. The pizza slides right off the board into the oven and onto my preheated pizza stone. But, of course, this time, as 8 girls sat around my living room judging me, I struggled quite a bit. First, I rolled out the dough way too large and thin. When I tried to re-work it, I panicked that I had over-worked the dough and it was never going to roll out at all. Then I forgot to flour the board/make-shift pizza peel. I tried to lift the dough and shove flour under my dough that was already loaded with roasted vegetables, but no dice. Needless to say, it did not transfer to the pizza stone so easily. It totally lost its shape, carrots were in the bottom of the oven, and the dough was so thick in some parts that I had to smush it down with a spatchula half way through cooking. Oh well. It tasted good. Especially after a few glasses of wine.

RUSTED ROOT PIZZA

Ingredients:

  • 1 parsnip, sliced in thin round pieces
  • 1 large carrot, sliced or diced
  • 1-2 medium potatoes, sliced thin on a mandolin (I used a purple potato and a white potato. The purple potatoes kinda look like pepperonis in these pics, but don’t worry, they aren’t.)
  • 1/2 of a large red onion
  • Fresh rosemary
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic
  • 1 tbsp of olive oil
  • Ricotta cheese
  • Mozzarella cheese
  • Parmesan cheese
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Pizza dough (you can make your own or buy some at the store. I used the Giant brand whole wheat dough)
  • Flour (seminola is best. I didn’t have, so I used regular all purpose flower
  • A pizza stone and a pizza peel

Directions:

Pre-heat oven to 350.

Combine all of your vegetables in a large mixing bowl. Drizzle olive oil over top, add 1/2 of the garlic, some rosemary, salt and pepper. Mix well so that the vegetables are well coated.

Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and/or spray with cooking spray. Spread the vegetables on the baking sheet so that they are in a single layer. Roast them in the oven for about 15 minutes, turning occasionally. They do not need to be cooked all the way since you’ll be putting them back in the oven once they are on the pizza.

When the veggies are done roasting, turn the oven temperature up to 450 or 500 degrees. Put your pizza stone in the oven and let it pre-heat for roughly an hour. It should be on the top oven rack.

Once the stone is well heated, roll out your dough on a well floured surface. It’s best to top your pizza with your veggies once it’s already on the pizza peel. Just make sure your pizza peel is well floured! Once the dough is rolled out, brush it with olive oil. Sprinkle on the garlic and plop dollops of ricotta cheese randomly on the dough. Place all of your veggies on the dough. You can be strategic about it or you can do it randomly. Just try not to make sure the dough is too weighted down. Add more dollops of ricotta and sprinkle with Parmesan and mozzarella cheese. I personally do not like a lot of cheese on a pizza like this, so I didn’t put a lot. Sprinkle with a bit more salt and pepper and rosemary to taste.

Very carefully (and gracefully if possible!) transfer the pizza from the peel onto the hot pizza stone. It helps if you pull the oven rack out of the oven a bit (with the stone on it). This will give you more room without having to put your arms into the oven and risk burning yourself!

Let the pizza bake in the oven for about 15-18 minutes or until the dough is browning and the cheese is melted. Your veggies should also appear more roasted too.

To remove the pizza from the oven, you will need to transfer it back to the pizza peel. Be careful! Let it cool a bit, slice it however you desire (I did small squares so it was easier to serve as a party food), and serve with a tumbler of wine.

Note: You can use whatever root vegetables you want. Using fresh rosemary will really help bring out the flavor. And I think this pizza would be better with Fontina cheese. I just didn’t have any on hand. You could also mix the ricotta with a bit of garlic and salt before hand. That would probably be yummy! 

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