Veggies on my Pizza? Yes please!

I like veggies and, of course, love pizza!  For the past week, I’ve repeatedly made a specific pizza: Bacon, asparagus and goat cheese pizza.   My only problem has been the crust — I’m not using a wide enough cast iron skillet.  As much as I love crust, well, let’s say there’s a fine line between “yippy, thick crust!” and “whoa! That’s a lot of crust!”

It’s all about veggies for this pizza.  Leftover roasted asparagus, roasted brussel sprouts and fresh grape tomatoes.  Feel free to use any veggies in your fridge.  The best part is it’s pizza!

Veggies on my Pizza? Yes please!
Lots of freshly roast veggies atop whole wheat pizza dough
Author:
Cuisine: Pizza
Recipe type: Main
Serves: 4-6
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Ingredients
  • 1 pizza dough (store bought is fine)
  • 10-12 stalks asparagus, roasted
  • ½-pint grape tomatoes, cut in half
  • 6 brussel sprouts, cut in half and roasted, optional
  • 6 slices bacon, center cut
  • red pepper flakes, to taste
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp. garlic powder
  • 4 oz mozzarella cheese, part-skim shredded or fresh, thinly sliced
  • 4 oz grated Italian cheese blend
  • 4 oz goat cheese
  • ½ red onion, chopped
  • black pepper, to taste
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Add a large cast iron skillet to the oven and let it pre-heat along with the oven.
  2. If your dough is store-bought, turn it out on a lightly floured surface and let it rest 20 min.
  3. While the dough is resting, fry the six pieces of bacon until crispy. Save 2 tbsp. of bacon grease. Drain the bacon on paper towels. Crumble in small pieces and set aside.
  4. Use a rolling pin to roll out the dough. Aim for a thin round shape. (Trust me, this is not as easy as it sounds!). Let the dough rest again while you get the skillet from the oven.
  5. Remove the skillet from the oven; add the reserved bacon grease and swirl to coat the bottom of the skillet.
  6. Fit the dough into the skillet and listen to the sizzle of crust being formed. Sprinkle the dough with red pepper flakes, salt, and generous sprinkle of garlic powder. Sprinkle half of the cheeses, followed by grape tomato halves, veggies and red onion.
  7. Sprinkle last bit of cheese, top with goat cheese and bacon. Top with 1-2 grinds of black pepper.
  8. Put the skillet in the oven for 12-18 minutes. Check after 10 minutes to see if bottom of the crust is brown.
  9. Remove from the oven and let the pizza rest 5 minutes. Slice and serve.

Fresh out of the oven pizza

I decided to make a veggie pizza after roasting too much asparagus on Sunday and realizing I still had goat cheese from last week’s pizza attempt.  You can also roast the grape tomatoes to intensify the flavor.  Roasting will add 35-45 min to your prep time if need to roast them before they go on the pizza.  Or you can buy the teeny tiny asparagus.  That will roast in the time the pizza cooks.

Hot gooey slice of pizza

This was delicious!  Next time I’ll roll the dough thinner and put it in a larger skillet but the flavors … YUM!—

Must admit — the ice cold glass of Gosset champagne  went very nicely with the pizza.  Can’t wait to try next week’s variation!

 

 

Cast iron skillet – holy grail

Growing up in a Southern home, I know cast iron skillets.  My mom has had hers for at least 45 years.  As a teenager, I remember cooking Sunday breakfast (bacon and eggs) and Sunday supper (usually fried chicken).  I also remember scouring dried eggs or chicken crust from it because I was too lazy to rinse it out when it was hot.

What I didn’t appreciate then was the skillet never lost its shiny black interior — it was true non-stick.  The crud on the exterior is a different story!   Along side that skillet was grease pail.  I’d strain hot bacon grease or shortening into the grease pail every time I cooked and, of course, added some of that savory grease every time I started cooking.

Scrambling eggs, making gravy, sauteing onions, frying chicken, steaming greens …. the skillet was used for every dish and every dish started with bacon grease.

When away to college and forgot the 2 magic ingredients of my family’s kitchen.  Cast iron and bacon grease fell out of favor with the masses.

10 years ago, I missed that skillet and, honestly, was tired of buying and rebuying nonstick cookware that warped and scratched within 1-2 uses.  guess what?  People in Los Angeles apparently don’t use cast iron skillets — no Goodwill, Salvation Army or the 30+ antique stores I visited had any.  Really??  Is cast iron cooking banned like smoking in public places?  No nonstick skillet will sear a steak nearly as well as a cast iron skillet …. oh right, people in LA try not to eat steak.

I finally purchased 2 skillets off ebay at a price of $150+ each.  Desperate times, desperate measures.

Fast forward to a weekend in Leavenworth, Kansas — yes, home to the infamous prison — and a morning of antiquing.  Not only did I find cast iron skillets, I found 5 of them!  And a grit pot and a chili pot.  Talk about hitting the jackpot (no pun intended).  To make it even better, with the exception of the chili pot, each skillet was $8Yes, $8!  The cast iron gods smiled on me, I tell ya.

I did have to transport them back to LA but, again luck was with me.  My suitcase weighed 48 lbs, 2 lbs shy of the 50-lb limit!

next up, a bacon grease pail.

I followed the instructions on Men In Aprons, here:

4 Steps to Season cast iron skillet

Using kosher salt, distilled white vinegar and Crisco to season them.  My skillets (all 7 of them) are now seasoned, happily settled into their new home, ready to  revisit the dishes of my youth and test out new recipes.

I’m thankful to be of an age where I appreciate the small details of my youth, where I appreciate a small portion of comfort food and, more importantly, where I’m still able to lift cast iron skillets!   No wonder women of previous generations never worked out.