Monday, May 16, 2011

Pizza with Caramelized Onions & Kalamata Olives

When I was a kid growing up in the midwest, I thought the spongey, greasy stuff they sell at Pizza Hut was pizza. I loved it.. until I moved to the Northeast and had really fantastic pizza.

Then I had the opportunity to go to Sicily. That really opened my mind to the potentials of pizza. To my mind, Sicilians used some very unusual toppings on pizzas. The one that seemed oddest to me was a pizza covered with lettuce -- and they baked it. It was delicious -- just unexpected.

One of my all-time favorite pizzas was from a mom-and-pop store in our neighborhood outside of Philly. It was a vegan pizza, smothered in caramelized onions... Yum! When we moved to Jersey, leaving this pizza behind was a sad, hard thing to do. :-(

Although the olives are my own added touch, this is my attempt to recreate that dish.

Pizza with Caramelized Onions & Kalamata Olives

  • 1/2 recipe Quick Whole Grain Pizza Dough or enough pizza dough for a 13"-14" pizza
  • Cornmeal for dusting (optional)
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • About a pound of onions, halved lengthwise, then thinly sliced crosswise
  • 1/2 tsp dried rosemary leaves (optional)
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • your favorite pizza sauce
  • Kalamata olives -- pitted and sliced in half lengthwise

Put the oven rack at its lowest position. Preheat your oven to 500 degrees F.
  •  If you have a pizza stone, let it heat up inside the oven. Dust a pizza paddle with cornmeal and set aside.
  • If you do not have a pizza stone, prepare a 12"-14" pizza pan by lightly oiling it or sprinkling it with cornmeal. Set it aside.
In a large skillet, heat the 1 Tbsp of oil over medium-low heat. Add the onions, rosemary (if using), and sugar. Cook uncovered until the onions are very tender and light golden (about 25-30 minutes). Stir occasionally. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.

On a floured surface, roll, stretch, and shape the pizza dough into a 12"-14" circle (to fit your pizza pan or pizza stone). Transfer the dough to the prepared pizza paddle or pan.

Spread a layer of pizza sauce onto your dough. Cover the sauce with the onions. Arrange the cut olives on top of the onions. Drizzle the remaining tablespoon of olive oil over the pizza.

Bake until the edges of the crust are golden brown, and the bottom of the crust is crisp. About 12 minutes, give or take a few minutes.

Cut into wedges and serve.
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