CSA Cooking #2: Pizza Party

homemade baked pizza

Images and text contributed by Chef Tim Payne

With so much time on our hands, it’s fun to take on new cooking challenges. Americans love pizza, yet many never make it from scratch. It is actually a great cooking canvas to utilize all of the spring vegetables we are now getting through our CSA packages.

Well, our CSA pick up certainly yielded fun, pizza-friendly ingredients. Asparagus, bok choy, green garlic, pea shoots, baby broccoli, spinach…so much to choose from.

First things first. We can’t have a pizza without a crust! Our dough ingredients include, yeast (1 tsp), warm water (1/2 cup at body temperature but not hotter or it will kill the yeast), one cup of flour (2/3 all purpose and 1/3 whole wheat pastry flour — I like Fairhaven Mill flour, available at the San Juan Island Food Co-op. It’s Skagit Valley grown and milled), 3 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil, 1 teaspoon each of sugar (put in the water/yeast mixture) and salt.

Now mix, using a big bowl to prevent a mess. Once everything comes together, knead for six minutes (or, if you have a fancy stand mixer, mix with dough hook on medium low). It should be smooth and elastic. Shape into a ball and place in a container that has been lightly coated with oil. Cover and set aside in a warm place in your kitchen.

Well…now we are ready. Once the dough has doubled in size, remove from container and place on your counter. It is important to have your ingredients assembled at this point. Once we shape the dough we need to top and cook it in short order. Our pizza will include Hill’s Italian sausage (a great, accessible regional product available at our local King’s Market), capers, goat cheese from Sunnyfield Farm on Lopez Island (available through the San Juan Island Food Hub and the Farmers Market), baby broccoli, green garlic, radish, arugula, and asparagus. Our pizza sauce is a simple canned organic pizza sauce.

So let’s build this sucker! Roll out the dough to your desired thickness. I tend to like a thinner crust, so in this case a 14-incher, if cooking on a thin metal pizza pan or stone. I go for a thicker one if using the cast iron method (10 inches roughly). Apply in short order: pizza sauce (5 ounces for this 14-inch pizza), meat, vegetables, capers, and then, finally, dots of the goat cheese. I always finish a pizza with a light drizzle of olive oil around the edge, and flaky sea salt. Bake at 450 degrees for 15 minutes. Make sure you get a deep golden brown crust on the pizza to ensure that it is cooked through and browned all the way to the middle.

CSA Pizza

It’s fun to combine courses with pizza. Here we built a simple arugula salad on top that is finished with lemon, oil, salt, and some fresh radish. The crispness is a great counterbalance to the richness of the pizza. Now sit back, savor, and enjoy a job well done.

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