Thin Crust Pizza with Vegetables, Gruyere and Colby Cheese

Pizza is everyone’s favorite! It has all the flavors that you can ever imagine, from complex to simple flavors. Do not be a stranger in making a homemade pizza dough, even a neophyte cook can master the art of pizza with this simple recipe. A perfect pizza dough is crispy, crunchy and awesomely delicious. To achieve the perfect crispy pizza crust, go easy on the toppings, as if you put more sauce and toppings, the less crispy the crust will be and will be soggy. I have made many different versions of pizza dough, but this one is truly amazing! These toppings are all my favorite, a winning combination! You can definitely use your favorites with the same crust. I added few slices of pimiento and it made this pizza more exciting, a perfect hint of spice in every bite…farewell to hot sauce!

  • Serves 16 people
  • Prep Time: 25 minutes
  • Cook Time: 1-2 hours

Ingredients

Basil Pesto

  • 2 1/2 cups Basil
  • 1 cup Olive Oil
  • 1/2 cup Pine Nuts or Regular Peanuts  unsalted and roasted
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan Cheese  ground
  • 1 tablespoon Garlic  crushed

Pizza Dough

  • 2 cups All-Purpose Flour  sifted
  • 1 teaspoon Active Dry Yeast
  • 3/4 cup Water  warm
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher Salt

Pizza Toppings

  • 200 grams Shitake Mushrooms  cleaned and trimmed
  • 200 grams Cherry Tomatoes  cut into halves
  • 2 medium Red Onion  sliced
  • 100 grams Gruyere Cheese  grated
  • 100 grams Monterey Jack Cheese  grated
  • 1/4 cup Pimiento  optional

Procedure

  1. About 30 minutes prior baking, preheat the oven to 250 degrees C (500 degrees F) and place the pizza stone to pre-heat. Pre-heating the stone pizza will give you a perfect-crust and chewy pizza.
  2. Start with the pizza dough. Combine warm water and yeast in a small bowl, stir until well combined. Set this aside for a few minutes and allow the yeast to dissolve and until it gets foamy.
  3. Using a large mixing bowl, combine the flour and salt, use a wire whisk to mix them together. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and pour in the water-yeast mixture. Use a wooden spoon to combine everything together.
  4. When it comes together into a cohesive ball, turn it out onto the counter along with any extra flour in the bowl that hasn’t yet gotten worked in. Knead the dough until all the flour is well combined and the dough is smooth and elastic to the touch. The dough should still feel moist. If the dough is still sticking to your hands, add one tablespoon of flour at a time until it’s smooth and silky.
  5. Place the ball of dough in a large flour-dusted bowl and flour the top of it. Cover the bowl with a damp cloth or cling wrap and place in a warm room temperature for almost an hour until the dough has doubled in size.
  6. While the pizza dough is proofing, start making the basil pesto. Place the basil in a blender or food processor. Pour in about 1 tablespoon of the oil, and blend basil into a paste. Gradually add pine nuts, parmesan cheese, garlic and remaining oil. Continue to blend until smooth. Set aside.
  7. Going back to the dough, when it has doubled in size. Transfer the dough to a flour-dusted surface and knead it around a bit to push the air out with your hands, this is called knocking back the dough. If using straight away, divide the dough up into as many little balls as you want to make pizzas – this recipe is enough to make about 2 medium pizzas.
  8. Roll the pizzas out about 20 minutes before you want to cook them.
  9. Use the pre-heated pizza stone to make the pizza crusty, and place it on a rack in the lower-middle part of the oven.
  10. Spoon the basil pesto into the center of each pizza, use the back of a spoon to spread it out to the edges. Leaving 1/2 of edge without sauce. Spread evenly the mushrooms, tomatoes, onions, pimiento slices, gruyere and colby cheese all over the pizza dough.
  11. Bake for about 8-10 minutes, then rotate the pizza 180-degrees to cook evenly. Bake for another 8 minutes until the edges are golden brown and crispy. If you like your cheese browned slightly, broil for 3 minutes.
  12. Remove your pizza from oven and let it cool on a wire rack.

recipe notes

This recipe is good enough to make for 2 medium pizzas.
If there is excess basil pesto, keep in fridge and this will last for one week and one month of shelf life if kept in the freezer.
This is a thin crust pizza, so there is no need to prebake the dough if you are using pizza stone. Pre-heated pizza stone will give you a success-perfect crust and chewy texture. However, if pizza stone is not available, baking tray or baking sheet is fine, then you need to pre-bake the pizza dough for at least 7 minutes, this will prevent the crust from being soggy.
The crispness of your pizza crust is a result of the moisture level of the dough. Thin-crust pizza should begin with a sticky and wet dough, which can be easily stretch thinly for a crispier crust. If you opt for a chewier crust, add more flour into your dough so that it’s less sticky. Adding flour should only be added a little at a time (1 tablespoon at a time), as it is easier to save a dough thats’ too wet rather than too dry, which requires adding more water; a tricky process that can sabotage your pizza dough.
You can pre-cook the toppings such as vegetables like onions, tomatoes, eggplants and mushrooms, they will enhance more the flavors of your pizza. A great tip for pizza toppings is “less is more”, keep it simple. Simplicity is the key for a perfect pizza dough.

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about chef sheilla

Hi! I’m Sheilla Lopez. I am a Cuisine and Pastry Chef, Culinary Instructor, Chef Consultant, Food Stylist, Food Photographer, Recipe Developer, Food Writer. I am also a mom to an amazing little boy. Read more…

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