Busy doesn’t even begin to describe my life right now. From working two jobs to developing recipes, there’s always something going on at my house and never enough time. But I’m never too busy to make pizza. The secret is to make enough dough for two pizzas–one for the freezer and another for dinner. Your future self will thank you for always having pizza dough in the freezer. It’s perfect for that end of the week hustle to try and figure out what’s for dinner and nothing is in the pantry. That’s how I found myself this week, and I came up with this pickled pepper pizza with whipped ricotta.
In the back of my refrigerator, I had a container of ricotta I wasn’t sure what to do with, since I never have many uses for ricotta. So I whipped it with a fork in the tub and used it on the pizza in little dollops. Then I took a yellow pepper and made a quick pickle brine to let it soak while the dough rises. After that, it’s your standard shredded mozzarella, which browns nicely since it’s low moisture. And fresh basil after it’s all cooked. So simple, and so satisfying.
Let’s get started on this recipe! I love Jim Lahey’s no knead crust recipe, so I used a version of it from Joy the Baker. First, I make the dough. Mix all the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl and pour in the water all at once. Use a wooden spoon to stir the dough together until it creates a ball of shaggy dough. Use your hands if you need to. Cover the bowl with saran wrap and let it rise for 2 hours at room temperature.
While your dough rises, make your peppers. Simply slice a bell pepper into thin strips. In a small pot over medium heat, add the vinegar, water, sugar, and salt. Stir until the sugar and salt is melted. Pour this over the peppers. Then let them sit for at least an hour at room temperature covered. You can keep these for up to a week.
When you’re ready to make your pizza, preheat the oven to 475. Divide your dough in half, and save half wrapped in saran wrap and sealed in a plastic bag in the freezer. With the other half, flatten it onto an oiled baking sheet using your fingertips. It should touch the edges of a standard baking sheet.
To make the sauce, add a can of whole tomatoes, a garlic clove, a splash of red wine vinegar and salt to a food processor and whiz together until it forms a chunky sauce. Spread just enough to cover the pizza in a thin layer. Then reserve the rest for another time. Next add the peppers. Don’t overdo it! Half will be enough. Then sprinkle on the mozzarella. Whip the ricotta with a fork until smooth then add a few dollops evenly across the pizza. Sprinkle on the parmesan cheese and bake the pizza for about 14 minutes in the lower third of the oven or until the pizza is browned and bubbly. After the pizza is baked, add the basil.
- 2¾ cups bread flour
- 1 cup whole wheat flour
- 2½ teaspoons active dry yeast
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- ¾ teaspoon granulated sugar
- 1½ cup warm water
- extra virgin olive oil for the pan
- 1 yellow bell pepper
- ¾ cup apple cider vinegar
- ¾ cup water
- 1 tsp sugar
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 15 oz can whole tomatoes
- 1 clove garlic, peeled
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp red wine vinegar
- 1 tsp olive oil
- ½ cup ricotta cheese
- ¾ cup shredded mozzarella
- parmesan cheese for grating
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the bread flour, wheat flour, yeast, salt, and sugar. Pour in all the warm water and mix with a wooden spoon. If needed, mix with your hands until no dry flour remains and the dough is shaggy. Cover with plastic wrap and let it rise for 2 hours.
- Slice the pepper into thin strips. In a bowl with a lid or a jar, add the peppers. In a small pot or saucepan on the stove, add the vinegar, water, salt and sugar. Heat over medium, stirring, until all the salt and sugar is dissolved. Pour this over the peppers, cover and let sit on the countertop while the dough rises or at least 1 hour at room temperature. Any you have leftover after topping the pizza, keep covered in the refrigerator and keep up to a week.
- Preheat the oven to 475.
- To make the sauce, add the whole tomatoes, garlic, salt red wine vinegar, and olive oil to a food processor. Whiz a few times until a chunky sauce forms.
- Divide the dough in half and wrap up one half in saran wrap, place in a plastic ziploc bag in the refrigerator for use another time, or keep it in the freezer. Before using, defrost the dough in the refrigerator overnight.
- Drizzle a standard baking sheet with olive oil. Spread out your dough, using your fingertips, onto the baking sheet. Once the dough reaches the edges, spread just enough sauce to cover the pizza in a thin layer. You may only use about half of what we made.
- Add as many pickled peppers as you like, but not enough to totally cover the pizza so it doesn't make the pizza soggy. Top with the mozzarella. Whip the ricotta in a bowl with a fork or a whisk until it's light and smooth. Drop a few dollops of ricotta around the pizza evenly. Sprinkle on a little parmesan cheese on the top. Bake for about 14 minutes in the bottom third of the oven or until the pizza is browned and bubbly.