Over the past year, I have started to slowly replace some of my older baking pans, cookie sheets, and the like. When I came across a recipe for deep dish veggie pizza, I took it as an opportunity to invest in a square flan pan with a removable bottom. I’ve been wanting a flan pan for a long time and today was the day I made the trek over to my favourite kitchen store (Chef’s Edge in Kelowna… love that store!) and bought this one.
When John saw it, his first question was (while almost visibly drooling), “Does this mean you’ll be making flan? With fruit? And whipped cream? And drizzled with chocolate?” Um, sure… but not until I’ve used it first to make this deep dish pizza.
The recipe may look a little daunting as the entire thing is made from scratch but, trust me, it’s worth it! None of it is difficult, really. Just read through the recipe first and you’ll see what I mean.
The focaccia base makes enough dough for two 8-inch deep dish pizzas. I made one and put the rest of the dough in a plastic bag in the fridge for another day. I could make two pizzas at the same time but, seeing as I have only one 8″ square flan pan, I was only able to make one at a time. I’ll make a second pizza tomorrow, for lunches on Monday.
I made the marinara sauce with some of last summer’s tomatoes that we still had in the freezer (there are still more tubs of tomatoes in there!). There is nothing like a freshly made marinara sauce made with home grown tomatoes! You can taste the sunshine in those tomatoes! If you don’t have any frozen or canned tomatoes and don’t want to make it from scratch, feel free to substitute, using a bottled marinara sauce of your choosing.
As well, you can swap out the vegetables for whatever you have on hand. Even broccoli florets are fair game! I used mushrooms, zucchini, onions, and sundried tomatoes on mine. You can play with the cheese, too. I used mozzarella, parmesan, and Monterey jack cheeses but you can use whatever strikes your fancy… fontina? Feta? Why not? Like any pizza, you can pretty much do what you want and not ruin it. And just because, to John, a pizza isn’t a pizza without some meat on it, he begged me to use up the last of the Emperor ham we bought last week; there wasn’t much left, not even enough for a real sandwich. I caved.
Deep Dish Vegetable (or not) Pizza
1 28-oz can whole peeled tomatoes
3 tbsp. olive oil
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1 bay leaf
1/2 small onion, finely chopped
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
1/4 tsp. dried thyme
1 tbsp. finely chopped parsley
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
Put tomatoes and their liquid into the bowl of a food processor and pulse until coarsely chopped. Set aside.
Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the garlic, onion, bay leaf and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are translucent, about 10 minutes.
Add the chopped tomatoes, oregano, and thyme. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to a simmer. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until the sauce thickens slightly and the flavours come together, about 20 minutes. Stir in the parsley and season with salt and pepper.
1/4 cup olive oil, plus more as needed
3 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 packages (5 tsp.) active dry yeast
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/4 cups warm water
In the bowl of a food processor, combine the flour, yeast, and salt and pulse to blend. Add the warm water and the 1/4 cup olive oil and pulse until the dough comes together. Transfer the dough to a greased bowl and let rise until doubled in bulk, about 1 1/4 hours. Divide the dough in half. Only one half the recipe is used for a single deep dish pizza; wrap one half in plastic wrap and store in a heavy plastic bag in the refrigerator and use within a day or two.
Pat and stretch one half of the dough into the bottom and sides of a greased 8″ square pan. Cover with plastic wrap and let stand until the dough is spongy, about 30 minutes. In the meantime, prepare the vegetable filling.
1/4 lb. mushrooms, thinly sliced
1 zucchini, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced
1/2 small sweet onion, thinly sliced
In a large frying pan over medium heat, heat 1 tbsp oil. Add the mushrooms, zucchini, and onion and cook until the onion is tender and the mushrooms have released their liquid, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly.
Preheat oven to 400ºF
Prepared marinara sauce
1/2 lb. mozzarella cheese, thickly sliced
1/4 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
3 tbsp. chopped fresh basil
Spread marinara sauce on the bottom of the dough, leaving a 1/2″ border. Top with mozzarella slices and and the vegetables and sprinkle with the Parmigiana-Reggiano. Brush the exposed dough with olive oil. Bake until the underside of the dough is golden brown, about 25 minutes.