This pizza was inspired by friends of mine from Monaco. It's packed full of flavour especially when using high quality/flavourful toppings. It's meant to be eaten with a fork (gold plated or silver preferably) and a bottle of your best bubbly. Mind you, they'd spend more than $100 on toppings but you can achieve the same million dollar experience on a pauper's budget.
The secret is in the sauce, the quality of your ingredients, how the pizza is assembled and cooked. I love it because it's packed full of healthy veggies and very hearty. I've adapted the pizza to be gluten free but you can get similar results on wheat based crusts as well. To achieve optimum results, wheat based pizzas should be cooked on a hot pizza stone.
Million Dollar Pizza Sauce:
1 large can San Marzano Tomatoes (de-seeded through a food mill)
1 tube good quality tomato paste
1 onion finely chopped
4-5 cloves garlic finely chopped
2 anchovies finely chopped
3-5 softened sundried tomatoes finely chopped
2 TSP Oregano
1 TSP thyme
Fresh Basil (6-8 leaves)
Salt to taste
1/2 cup cold water if needed
On medium to low heat, saute onions and garlic in a bit of olive oil until transparent. Add sun dried tomatoes, anchovies and tomato paste and cook for another couple minutes. Add San Marzano tomatoes, oregano, thyme and salt to taste.
The key to the sauce is to cook it on low heat for a long time until the sauce reduces to a flavourful, thick sauce packed with flavour (minimum 1 hour). Keep an eye on the sauce and add more water if needed. Once the sauce is almost done, add ripped basil leaves and finish with a swig of olive oil. Your finished sauce should not be runny and have a wonderful, intense flavour.
Million Dollar Gluten Free Crust
This crust is thicker than most pizza crusts, however, it works well with this pizza as it holds the toppings well and is very flavourful. It's important to par-cook the crust. From my experience, if you want to pile on a ton of toppings, make a thick crust. If you want something a bit lighter, this recipe can be make into a thin crust as well.
11⁄2 teaspoons active dry yeast
3⁄4 cup warm milk (110°F)
1 teaspoon sugar
11⁄2 cups gluten free flour blend
11⁄2 teaspoons xanthan gum
1 teaspoon dried thyme, crushed in your palm
1⁄2 teaspoon onion powder
3⁄4 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon cider vinegar
1 tablespoon olive oil
11⁄4 teaspoons Italian seasoning
1⁄4 teaspoon kosher or coarse sea salt
Dissolve yeast and sugar in warm milk. Set aside to foam for 5 minutes. Generously grease a 11x7-inch nonstick pan.
Combine all remaining bread ingredients in a large mixing bowl, add yeast mixture, and beat with electric mixer about the dough thickens, about 1 minute. Dough will be soft and sticky and have the consistency of runny mash potatoes.
Transfer dough to pan that has been sprinkled with the cornmeal and smooth top with wet spatula. Cover loosely with aluminum foil tent and let rise in warm place (75 to 80 degrees) for 40 to 50 minutes or until desired height.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Sprinkle dough with topping ingredients. Par cook for around 15 minutes or until top starts to turn light golden brown and the crust is almost cooked through. The second part of baking is only to darken/crisp up the sides and bottom of the crust.
Guidelines for Assembly:
- Ensure all your veggies are thinly cut and uniform in size.
- Start assembling your pizza with the crust, lots of sauce, cheese and then veggies. This allows for the veggies to caramelize, cook and release their moisture into the oven, not into your pizza crust!
- When using mushrooms, make sure they are thinly sliced. Mushrooms release a ton of water when cooking. These always need to be put on last.
- Use the correct type of mozzarella cheese. Yes, there is a difference and it's important that you use stretchy mozzarella not pressed mozzarella. Stretchy mozzarella is mild in flavour and will give you that nice smooth, stretchy consistency you've come to love from your local pizzeria. If you use pressed mozzarella which is usually really high in fat, the cheese will release a ton of oil and become hard quickly.
- Place any meat slices on pizza the last ten minutes of cooking. This prevents the meat from overcooking and releasing excessive oil into your pizza.
- Place any complimentary cheeses such as Parmesan, goats cheese or any other specialty cheeses on pizza the last five minutes of cooking.
- Once done, let sit for five minutes - dig in and enjoy!!!
Ingredients used on pizza shown above:
- Red, Yellow and Green Peppers
- Red Onion
- Roasted Garlic Cloves (already cooked)
- Red Chilies
- Jalapeno peppers
- Finished with Parmesan cheese