Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Slightly Healthier Pizza

I'm a huge fan of "healthier versions" of my favorite foods so the recipes I'm going to share are likely to be a teensy bit more indulgent than you'd really hope.

Here's one from Top Chef, by Frank from season 2. His challenge was to create a meal under 500 calories. We could shave even more calories off in terms of getting lower fat cheese and choice of meat.

Pizza sauce:
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 medium yellow onion, minced
1 garlic clove, minced
One 15-ounce can tomato puree
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1/4 cup red wine (don't let the rest of the bottle go to waste. Get plastered. It'll make the food taste even better when you're done.)
2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh oregano
2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh basil
1 teaspoon sugar, or to taste (don't go crazy here. That defeats the point.)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Crust and toppings:
4 whole wheat pita bread rounds
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
12 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese, thinly sliced (substitute with lower fat mozzarella if you want)
2 large tomatoes, thinly sliced
8 thin slices prosciutto, torn into pieces (or for a more kosher option, cut meat out altogether and throw on some mushrooms instead for a bulky, filling texture. If you don't mind mixing your meat with your dairy, turkey salami is a good option both kosher and halal criteria.)
12 fresh basil leaves, torn into pieces

For pizza sauce:
1. Preheat the oven to 400F. (If you have an oven like mine, settle down and read a whole Stephen King novel while you're waiting. You can also squeeze in half of War and Peace too.)
2. In a medium saucepan, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion and saute until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and saute until soft, about 1 minute. Add the tomato puree, tomato paste, wine, oregano, basil, sugar, and salt and pepper to taste and stir to combine. Bring to a simmer, cover, then reduce the heat and simmer for 3o minutes for the flavors to blend, stirring occasionally. Set aside to cool slightly.

For the Crust and Toppings:
1. Drizzle the pitas with the oil and season with salt and pepper.
2. Spread the sauce over the pitas, then top with the cheese and tomato slices (and anything else you want to include, such as mushrooms, onions, pine nuts etc. I love a sprinkling of pine nuts on my pizzas...).
3. Place the pizzas on a baking sheet, transfer to the oven, and bake until the cheese is melted and the crust is crisp, about 20 minutes (or 5 hours if your oven is like mine). Remove from the oven and scatter the prosciutto (optional for my Muslim and Jewish friends) and basil on top. Cut each pizza into 4 slices and serve immediately. Or else.


  1. Gila and Teacher Lady, this is a VERY fun initiative!

    I'm surprised no fresh tomatoes go in this sauce? Maybe that's cause it's winter for you, me and Gila can add those being in tomato-land

  2. Oh I would definitely agree that fresh anything would be a great addition to a meal's flavor... I'm just not sure how you would substitute the paste and puree with real juicy tomatoes, but I'm guessing you'd be hard pressed to mess it up!

  3. I have a pizza pan, and election day is coming up. Walla!

    Okay--now I have to do a recipe. thinkthinkthink....