‘The Verduran’ Pizza

Verdure is Italian for green, and this mostly green pizza is inspired by that word. If you don’t have the exact...
Contributor

Charles Schiller

Verdure is Italian for green, and this mostly green pizza is inspired by that word. If you don’t have the exact vegetables listed here, substitute others such as artichoke hearts, zucchini, or Portobello mushrooms.

Notes

If the bottom of your pizza appears to be black in small spots, don’t freak out. You have not burnt it up. Some charring is natural and this is a very delicious part of the crust. 

Placing your grilled pizza under a hot broiler for a minute will give the toppings a nice sizzle.  

Ingredients

For the crust:

  • 3 Teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 1 Cup warm water
  • 1/2 Teaspoon sugar
  • 2 Teaspoons Kosher salt
  • 1/4 Cup fine ground cornmeal
  • 1 Tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 Cups unbleached flour

For the toppings:

  • 2 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • Pinch of salt
  • Pinch of pepper
  • 1 Tablespoon Parmesan, grated
  • 1 Cup mozzarella, shredded
  • 1 Cup chunky tomato basil sauce
  • 1 Cup fresh baby arugula or spinach
  • 1 Cup sliced mushrooms, sautéed
  • 1/2 Cup red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 Cup red bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • 2 Tablespoons black olives, sliced

Directions

For the crust:

In a small bowl, dissolve the yeast in warm water with sugar. Place the Flour in the mixing bowl and stir in the salt and cornmeal. Add the water and oil and stir with a strong spoon or with the dough hook of an electric mixer until a stiff dough has formed. If you are using a mixer the dough can be kneaded for about two minutes. If you are kneading by hand, place the dough on a very lightly floured counter and knead dough for about 10 minutes, (adding only enough flour to prevent from sticking). When the dough is nice and smooth, brush with olive oil to prevent a skin from forming. Place the dough in an oiled bowl and cover with a piece of plastic wrap. Place the dough on the counter. Don’t place it anywhere hot. Let dough rise for an hour. Punch the dough down and refrigerate the dough overnight. 

The next day- Use a knife and cut your dough into four even size pieces. Roll the dough into pizza crusts. After rolling the crusts you will be ready to grill your pizza crust.

For the toppings:

Brush the grilled side of the pizza crust with the olive oil. Dust with Parmesan cheese and follow with the mozzarella. Drop multiple spoonful of the chunky tomato basil sauce over the cheese. Place the arugula or spinach over the pizza. Scatter the rest of the vegetables on to the pizza and drizzle with more olive oil and a dash of salt and pepper. 

To grill your pizza, be sure your grill is at the medium heat temperature we have described earlier. An important difference in grilling your finished pizza is to move your coals to one side of the grill. You will grill the pizza with an indirect heat, instead of directly above the hot coals.

Position your pizza alongside your grilling surface. Carefully slide your pizza off the tray using your tongs to guide the pizza on to your grill. Place the pizza to the side of the hot coals. Do not place it directly over the coals.  You may place a lid on the grill now to help heat the toppings while your pizza cooks. If your pizza is not overloaded with toppings, the toppings should be hot when the crust is done.

Check your pizza in one minute to see how things are developing. Use tongs to lift the edges and see the results so far. If your pizza is beginning to darken quickly, your fire is too hot. Browning should occur in about 3 to 5 minutes. Turn your pizza, 180 degrees, during the grilling to get an even doneness. You may slide it directly over the fire for a brief moment to help get the crust even crispier. Be careful it may burn if left over the fire too long.

When your crust is browned it will also be crispy on the bottom. It is ready to remove. Pull it on to your tray or screen with your tongs and remove it from the grill. Slide the pizza onto a cutting board, garnish with the pine nuts and cut into squares or slices. Enjoy!   

Pizza Shopping Tip

Pressed for time on a busy weeknight, but don't want to settle for frozen pizza? Start with ready-made pizza crusts. You'll still be able to add your own sauce and fresh ingredients for a homemade taste.

Pizza Cooking Tip

If you're attempting to make your own dough, make sure to keep your work surface lightly dusted with flour, or the dough may stick.

Pizza Wine Pairing

Grenache, gamay, nero d'avola, pinotage, rosé; pinot gris/grigio with seafood pizza; albariño with white pizza.