21 September 2012

Skillet Pizza

"Kid tested, mother approved!" 

How many times have I heard that slogan? So annoying. (Thanks a lot, 1978 Kix cereal ads.) And I don't believe that slogan for a second. I don't believe there exists a single cooked or processed food that the children in my neighborhood like AND I consider healthy.

So when 11-year-old Hannia told me she liked my skillet pizza—as long as she picked off the zucchini first—I knew she liked it because skillet pizza is unhealthy. Is it as unhealthy as most of the pizza you can buy around here (Costco, Papa John's, freezer aisle pizza)? No. But it's pizza. So will your kids or the Kid-In-You enjoy this recipe? Definitely. But try not to make it a weekly staple.

This recipe makes two small pizzas. You can just make one pizza, refrigerate half the dough in a ziplock bag, and make the second pizza the next day. I did it, and I quite liked the results.

Some people don't like ricotta. Fine, just add a bit more mozzarella. Other people don't like zucchini on pizza. Feel free to cook some mushrooms or open a jar of olives or whatever and add that instead. Some people don't like vegetarian pizza. Well, Buddy, the lemur's out back, he's all yours, but I'm warning you: he's quite a fighter.

Thanks to Vegetarian Times, Mark Bittman, George, and Hannia for their input.

Skillet Pizza

Special Equipment: 
food processor
An 8 or 10" cast iron frypan, or equivalent oven-safe fry pan
A rolling pin
An oven
A large wooden or bamboo cutting board

1 1/2 Cups bread flour
1 Cup whole wheat flour
1/2 Cup stone-ground cornmeal
2 teaspoons instant, bread machine, or rapid rise yeast (same things)
2 teaspoons good quality coarse salt (kosher or sea salt)
3 Tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 to 1 1/2 Cups water

2 tsp. vegetable or canola oil per pizza
a small jar of prepared refrigerated pesto or low-sodium, high-quality tomato pasta sauce
less than 1 Cup grated low-moisture, part-skim mozzarella
a few Tablespoons low-fat ricotta cheese
half of 1 peeled zucchini, sliced into 1/4 inch rounds


  1. Combine flour, yeast, and salt in a food processor. Turn the machine on. Add most of the water and 2 Tablespoons of oil through the tube while the machine whirrrs.
  2. Process about 30 seconds until the dough wads into a ball around the blade. It should be slightly sticky. If it seems too wet, add a little more flour. If it seems too dry, add a little more water. Then process until it's all copacetic.
  3. Dump dough into a large plastic or metal bowl. With well-floured hands, knead a few times until the dough comes together into a smooth ball. Pour 1 Tablespoon olive oil over it and turn the dough until it's evenly covered with oil. Cover the bowl with a damp cloth and let sit in a warm, moist location to rise for 1 to 2 hours, until doubled in size.
  4. Preheat the oven to 500ºF and set the oven rack in the lower third of the oven.
  5. Divide the dough in half. On a lightly floured board, roll out 1 ball of dough evenly until it is roughly the size of your fry pan. 
  6. Heat the vegetable oil on high heat in the fry pan. When it's sizzling hot put the dough in. Cook 3 minutes until brown and crisp on the bottom. Turn off the heat and, using two spatulas, flip the dough over in the fry pan. 
  7. Spread the nicely browned dough with pesto or tomato sauce. Sprinkle mozzarella evenly over the surface. Top with dollops of ricotta spaced apart and place zucchini slices around the ricotta. 
  8. Bake in the oven for 8 to 10 minutes until the cheese is melted and bubbly. Drizzle pesto/sauce over the zucchini slices. Cut the pizza into 4 wedges and serve hot hot hot!
  9. Repeat with the other half of the dough.
Serves 4 to 8 people, depending on a bunch of factors.

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