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Pizza! Pizza!

One of the cuisines I miss most being GFCF (gluten-free, casein-free) is Italian. Pretty much everything has wheat or cheese (which, sidenote!, is rather ironic, seeing as how one in every 106 Italians suffer from celiac disease) and food substitutes are never as good as the real thing — actually, more often than not, they’re disgusting. Watching others eat pizza is particularly painful since gluten-free pizza dough is usually cake-y, thick, tough, and tasteless.

Until now! A few months ago, I bought Silvana Nardone’s Cooking for Isaiah. Ms. Nardone is the Editor in Chief of Every Day with Rachael Ray, and while I don’t really like RR, the idea of a cookbook created by a mother raising a GFCF child and having to find food he can actually enjoy appealed to me more than, say, someone like Gwenyth Paltrow publishing a cookbook to tell the world what an amazing cook she is (let me tell you how I reallllly feel).

I had been avoiding using recipes from her cookbook despite having read through most of them out of fear that they would be disgusting and I would be disappointed. Tonight for dinner, I decided to make her Pepperoni Pizza. IT WAS AMAZING. The crust had the perfect consistency: fluffy, soft on the inside and slightly crunchy on the outside and full of taste. I attribute it to how Ms. Nardone found the perfect combination of gluten-free flours — instead of using just gluten-free bread mix, or gluten-free rice flower, she mixed multiple flours. But I’ll spare you the endless gushing and I’ll just share the recipes. For full size pictures, click on the images!

Silvana’s all-purpose flour blend
MAKES about 4 pounds • PREP TIME 15 minutes

  • 6 cups white rice flour, preferably Bob’s Red Mill
  • 3 cups tapioca flour, preferably Shiloh Farms (I used Bob’s Red Mill)
  • 1½ cups potato starch, preferably Bob’s Red Mill
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons xanthum gum, preferably Bob’s Red Mill

    In a large bowl, whisk together the rice flour, tapioca flour, potato starch, salt and xanthum gum. Transfer to an airtight storage container and store in a cool, dry place or in the refrigerator.

    Perfect Pizza Crusts
    MAKES Two 8½ inch (21cm) pizza crusts (1 pound/500g pizza dough) • PREP TIME 10 minutes (plus resting) • BAKE TIME 16 minutes

  • 2 cups Silvana’s All-Purpose Flour, plus more for dusting
  • 1 (¼ ounce/7.5g) package active dry yeast
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large egg whites, at room temperature, lightly beaten
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing
  • ¾ cup warm water

    1. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, yeast, sugar and salt. Add the egg whites, olive oil and water. Using a wooden spoon, beat until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl.

    2. Divide the dough into two equal pieces; place each on a lightly floured, 12-inch (30cm)-long piece of parchment paper.

    Lightly flour the top and, using your fingertips or a rolling pin, press the dough out to make a round about ¼ inch (9.5cm) thick. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rest at room temperature for about 30 minutes.

    3. Position a rack in the bottom of the oven with a baking stone on the rack and preheat to 450ºF. Working with one piece of dough at a time, slide the dough with parchment paper onto the preheated baking stone and bake until puffy and crisp on the bottom, about 8 minutes. Let cool on a wire rack. Repeat with the remaining dough.

    Pepperoni Pizza
    MAKES 2 (8½ inch/21cm) pizzas • PREP TIME 5 minutes • COOK TIME 16 minutes

  • 1 cup tomato puree
  • ½ tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 2 (8½ inch/21cm) baked Perfect Pizza Crusts
  • Crushed red pepper flakes, to taste
  • slices of pepperoni (I used turkey pepperoni)

    1. In a small bowl, stir together the tomato puree, olive oil, salt and water (my experience was that you don’t really need the water).

    2. Position a rack in the bottom of the oven with a baking stone on the rack and preheat to 450ºF. Working with one pizza crust at a time, brush with olive oil, sprinkle with red pepper flakes and spoon on about ¼ cup tomato mixture, leaving a ½ inch (1cm) border of plain crust. Top with half of the pepperoni and bake until the crust is golden and the pepperoni is crisp, 6 to 8 minutes. Repeat with the remaining pizza crust and toppings. (I added vegetarian cheese over the sauce and green peppers under the pepperoni — delicious!)

    Although these pies are kind of small, I think you could definitely feed four people with them… unless you have HUGE appetites! This fed three of us, and the boys had extra slices!