Thursday, July 29, 2010

Pizza with Sweet Potatoes, Leeks, and Blue Cheese

One of our favorite standby meals is baked sweet potatoes topped with leeks and blue cheese, from the Best Ever Three and Four Ingredient Cookbook.  On a whim, we decided to put those ingredients on a pizza and it was awesome.  We happened to buy the lighter fleshed sweet potatoes this time, but I bet it would look stunning with the orange ones.

Oh, and I'm so thankful that Joe likes to make pizza dough.  It's so good!  It does take a couple hours, but the majority of that time is spent letting the dough rise, so you can go play video games or do laundry or whatever during that time.  I included the dough recipe we used below, even though I had pretty much nothing to do with making it.  

Sweet Potato, Leek, and Blue Cheese Pizza
Pizza Dough recipe adapted from Mark Bittman - How to Cook Everything
Serves 2-4

For the dough:
3 cups all-purpose or bread flour, plus more as needed
2 teaspoons instant yeast
2 teaspoons coarse kosher or sea salt, plus extra for sprinkling
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

For the toppings:
1 medium sweet potato
1 large leek
1/2 cup crumbled Gorgonzola or blue cheese

To make the dough:
Combine the flour, yeast, and salt in the food processor.  Turn it on and add 1 cup water and the oil through the feed tube as it's running.  Process for about 30 seconds, while adding more water, a little at a time, until the mixture forms a ball.  It should be slightly sticky, so if it still feels dry, add another couple tablespoons of water and process for about 10 more seconds (on the other hand, if the mixture is TOO sticky, add a tablespoon or two of flour).

Sprinkle some flour over a clean counter top or other work surface and tip the dough out onto it.  Knead by hand for a few seconds to form a smooth, round ball.  Place the dough in a large bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let it rise until it has doubled in size, about 1 to 2 hours (if you're in a hurry, you can cut this time short, or if you are making this ahead of time, you can let the dough rise in the fridge for up to 6-8 hours).  If you are going to freeze the dough, wrap tightly in plastic wrap or a ziplock bag and freeze for up to a month (to defrost, either leave in plastic bag or place in covered bowl and let thaw in the fridge or at room temperature.  Bring to room temperature before shaping.).  Otherwise, proceed with the recipe.

When the dough is ready, shape it into a ball and divide it into two or more pieces (one piece for each pizza, depending on how large of pizzas you want to make).  Shape each piece into a round ball.  Place each ball on your lightly floured work surface, sprinkle with flour, cover with plastic wrap or towel, and let them rest for 20 minutes.

To make the pizza toppings:
Wash and scrub the sweet potato.  Peel it, then chop it into one inch pieces.  Drizzle some oil onto a baking sheet and add the potatoes.  Toss them in the oil to coat.  Roast at 350-400 F until tender and nicely browned, turning every 10 minutes or so.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.

To wash the leek, cut off the dark green leaves and discard them, then thinly slice the white part into rings.  Pull the rings apart with your fingers and place them in a bowl of cold water.  Rub them with your fingers to remove any dirt (the dirt will sink to the bottom), then remove the leeks with your hands or a slotted spoon and pat dry.  Heat a tablespoon of oil in a skillet over medium heat.  When hot, add the leeks and sauté until tender and just starting to brown.  

To make the pizza:
Put a baking stone on the lower rack if using and heat the oven to at least 500 F (yes, I said 'at least', so if your oven goes higher, feel free!).  Roll or lightly press the dough into a flat roundish shape, lightly flouring the work surface and the dough as needed (use only as much flour as you need to).  Let the round sit for a few minutes to relax the dough and make it easier to roll out.  Get your pizza paddle, if you have one, and lay a piece of parchment paper over it.  Place the round on the parchment paper and roll or press the dough out as thinly as you like, turning occasionally and sprinkling with flour as necessary.  If using baking sheets, oil them first, then press each dough ball into a flat round directly on the sheets.

Sprinkle the top with some salt and drizzle with olive oil.  Evenly distribute the sweet potato, leeks, and cheese over the top.

Slide the pizza (still on the parchment paper) onto the pizza stone, or slide the baking sheets into the oven.  Bake 6-12 minutes, depending on how hot the oven is, until nicely browned.  Serve immediately.        

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