Who says tomatoes are a vital to a good pizza? Red pepper paste, particularly the one from Olive Branch, is the new tomato sauce. There are no tomatoes on this pizza, just lots of delicious red peppers (red pepper paste, roasted red peppers from a jar and fresh red peppers) as well as mushrooms, green and black olives, onions and mozzarella. Many of these ingredients are leftovers from the Cheese and Mushroom Frittata recipe so it’s an ideal dish to make in the same week.
I make fresh pizza dough in my breadmaker (it only takes 45 minutes) but ready-made dough or store-bought (pizza crust mix) could do. My trick is to leave the dough to rise in the breadmaker for about an hour then not knead, flour or roll the dough after I remove it. This results in a fluffy and thick crust ideal for a deep dish pizza. Remember to coat your hands with some olive oil so the dough doesn’t stick when you handle it.
Preheat the oven to 195°C (175°C for fan-assisted ovens) / 375°F.
Spread some olive oil onto a non-stick deep pizza pan, preferably one with holes. Put a cutting board underneath so the olive oil doesn’t make a mess. Drizzle a few drops of olive oil on top of the dough before you start spreading it. With your hands coated in olive oil, gently extend and press the dough so it covers the pan. Work slowly and don’t pull. Don’t spread the dough too thin. We are aiming for a deep dish pizza. Eventually the dough will cover the pizza pan.
Add a few spoonfuls of red pepper paste and spread evenly with the back of a spoon. I like to use Olive Branch’s Red Pepper Paste from their Greek Mezze range as it also contains Greek cheese (mizithra) and fresh chillies.
Slice half a small onion into rings. Chop a handful of fresh red peppers and mushrooms (Do not wash the mushrooms with water, scrub off the dirt with a brush or paper towel. Mushrooms absorb water and your pizza will turn out soggy if you wash them), some roasted red peppers from a jar, 125g of mozzarella and a few green and black olives (I used fresh Rosemary Garlic Olives from Silver & Green and removed the pits).
Add the fresh red peppers, roasted red peppers and onions to the pizza.
Then arrange the sliced mushrooms and olives on the pizza.
This is your work of art so make it look pretty!
Lastly, top with mozzarella.
Place on the middle oven rack and bake in the preheated oven for about 30 minutes, until cheese is melted and crust is golden brown.
Run a spatula around the edges and underneath to loosen the crust, then gently slide the pizza onto a large plate. Makes 8 slices or 4 massive ones!
Serves 2-3 people, or one hungry teenager (I speak from experience). Enjoy!
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