Homemade pizza is a classic Lenten meatless meal (April 14, 2011)

By Kathleen Toohey
It would be difficult to characterize this pizza as penitential even though it’s meatless. It will certainly satisfy the most discriminating palates and please the kids as well.

If you’re serving more than four or five people you should double the recipe. In fact, this is so good you may want to make two pizzas just to have leftovers.

Everything worthwhile requires some sacrifice and this recipe does take some time. It’s not difficult but pizza dough is a raised dough and the yeast needs time to grow.

When you make bread or pizza dough you have to be patient and gentle. It’s a hands-on effort that has the advantage of putting the cook in touch with the food. Making dough reminds you of how much work went into food preparation before the advent of fast food and microwave ovens.

Children love to help with pizza, kneading the dough and then finding that an hour later it has actually doubled in size. They have no trouble believing that the yeast is alive and multiplying, unseen in the mixture of flour and liquids. They always do trust that a few simple ingredients put together with care and given a bit of time to grow, will produce wonderful results.

When you come to think of it, there’s a lot of wisdom to be gained by making pizza.

Pizza Dough
– 1 envelope active dry yeast
– 1 cup warm water
– 1 tsp sugar
– ½ tsp salt
– 2 tsp olive oil
– 1½ cups whole wheat flour
– 1½ cups unbleached white flour
– cornmeal

In a two-cup measure, mix water, sugar and yeast and set aside to proof. In several minutes it should begin to bubble.

In a large bowl place the flours, salt and oil. Add the bubbling yeast and mix well.

Turn the dough out on a lightly floured surface and knead. Kneading involves rolling and folding the ball of dough over on itself with floured hands about 10 or 12 times.

Next, place the dough in an oiled bowl and cover with a clean, damp dishtowel. Set the bowl in a warm place. In about an hour the dough will have doubled in size.

Punch the dough down and turn out on a floured surface. Knead several times then use a lightly floured rolling pin to shape it to fit your pan. You can use a pizza stone, a pizza pan or a cookie sheet. Sprinkle the pan with cornmeal and place the rolled out dough on top. Press the dough into the pan and form a border around the edges to keep the filling in place.

Toppings
– 13 oz. can artichoke hearts, drained
– 1 red onion sliced thinly
– ½ green pepper, seeded and sliced
– ½ red pepper, seeded and sliced small can sliced black olives
– 1 cup sliced mushrooms
– 4 oz shredded cheddar cheese
– 8 oz shredded mozzarella cheese

Arrange the fillings on top of the dough in the order given and then bake in a preheated 375 degree oven for about 35 to 40 minutes or until the outer crust is nicely browned and the cheese is bubbly.

Kathleen Toohey is a free-lance writer from Sea Girt.

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