Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Sasha's Kitchen: Pizza With Yellow Tomatoes, Goat Cheese, Asparagus, Zucchini and Red Onions

I finally purchased a pizza stone with the intent of improving the crust quality on my pizzas.  My initial plan was to follow Alton Brown of Good Eats' advice and purchase quarry tile from my local hardware store to make my own pizza stone.  This is an economical option (probably less than $10), and would have been a fabulous idea if either of my local hardware stores carried tile in the first place; they did not.  Thus, rather than carry a heavy slab of quarry from a more distant hardware store, I simply elected to purchase a $17 pizza stone from Tarzian West, my local cooking supply store.

A pizza stone is, as Brown's advice highlights, a flat piece of stone that is used for baking pizza that facilitates the even distribution of heat throughout the entire pizza crust during the baking process.   It mimics the effects of cooking pizza the traditional way, in a masonry oven.  Quarry or stone has increased thermal mass compared with metal or glass, while the porous nature of the stone helps absorb moisture, resulting in a crisper crust.

I have experimented with a couple different crust recipes, including whole wheat pizza crusts.  The recipe below is a basic crust recipe that I like.  However, this doesn't meant that I won't experiment with some different crust variations in future pizza posts.  This recipe makes two medium sized pizzas, baked separately on the pizza stone.  In my experience this is enough pizza to serve four adults, or in our case, allows for leftovers.

Pizza Dough
1 cup warm water
2 packages dry active yeast
1 1/2 tsp sugar
2 T extra virgin olive oil
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt

Sasha's Pizza With Yellow Tomatoes, Goat Cheese, Asparagus, Zucchini and Caramelized Red Onions
1 1/2 pints of yellow cherry tomatoes
2/3 of a zucchini, sliced into pieces and cut in half
3 asparagus, cut into pieces
2 small red onions
2 tsp sugar
2 T extra virgin olive oil
2 containers of crumpled goat cheese

Pizza during the prep stage

To prepare the dough, combine the warm water, dry active yeast and sugar in a bowl.  Allow to sit for about ten minutes until the yeast mixture is bubbly and frothy.  This indicates that the yeast has activated.  Combine in bowl, or in your stand mixer (I used my mixer for this) with the olive oil, flour and salt, until it forms a dough.  Place in an oiled bowl (sprayed with PAM, for example) and cover with a damp cloth.  Allow to rise for about 2 hours.

Form into two medium sized pizza crusts (similar size to your pizza stone).  The dough should have risen and increased in size, and should be stretchy to the touch.  Stretch and contort it to form pizza crusts in the desired shape and thickness.  In the meantime,  place the stone (without any pizza on it) in your oven at 400 degrees to hear the stone to an even temperature.  Make sure to sprinkle the stone with cornmeal first.

In my opinion, the trickiest part of making pizza using a stone is getting the pizza from your cutting board or counter top, while you prepare it, onto the hot stone in the oven.  It definitely takes some skill (I'm working on it), but I managed to transition the pizzas alright.  This process is much easier if you have a pizza peel board, but it can be completed without one, as I did not use one.

To prepare my pizza recipe, cut the yellow tomatoes in half and mix with two tablespoons of olive oil.  Cover the pizzas with the tomatoes.  Add the asparagus and zucchini.  Sprinkle the goat cheese on top.  To prepare the caramelized onions, cut the red onions into circles and saute for a few minutes in two teaspoons of sugar and a bit of canola oil, until softened (no need to fully brown).  Place the onions on top of the pizza.

Carefully transfer the pizza from the cutting board where you prepared it onto your stone, as best you can.  Even if you lose a few ingredients, you can fix the pizza arrangement once you have it from the counter to the stone.  You also could quickly add the ingredients to the top of the transferred pizza pie once you have the dough on the stone, if that makes things easier.  Bake on the stone at 400 degrees for about 30 minutes, until the pizza is lightly browned.

I was very pleased with the crispy quality of the crust on the pizza, and I liked the selection of ingredients that I chose for this pizza - they complemented each other nicely.  The yellow tomatoes are less acidic than red tomatoes, which is easier on the stomach.  They also have a lovely color combination, of green, yellow and purple.


  1. love goat cheese pizza's! is it wrong to want this for breakfast now?

  2. Hey girl! Thanks for the comment on my blog- I love yours! Plus- you have a pug??? Wrinkly dogs are the best, aren't they? Great looking pizza. I have debated purchasing a stone (as we make pizza somewhat regularly at my house). Love your toppings- especially the asparagus and goat cheese- YUM!

  3. I will make an exception and forget the calories that come with pizza. I love goat cheese and all the vegetables make this helath food. Right? This sounds delicious. I love the blog and will be back often to see what's going on. Have a great day. Blessings...Mary


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