Living in Chicago, I hear a lot of debate on what good pizza should be. Thin crust, thick crust, red sauce, no sauce, deep dish – the list goes on. While true Chicago deep dish fans might disagree with me, I tend to prefer traditional pizza on a standard night. I love how easy and versatile it is – pretty much anything you have in your fridge goes great on a pizza.
For this weeknight treat, I topped my pizza with zucchini, red onion and a lemony roasted garlic sauce. I often find I prefer pizzas without red sauce when I’m making my own pizza, because it’s easier to avoid a soggy crust when your pizza isn’t loaded down with sauce. The lemony-ness (yes, that’s a word) really lightens up the pizza. And the roasted garlic… mmm. I highly recommend you take the extra time to roast the garlic instead of using it raw. Roasting it removes any of the bitterness and just leaves you with lots of flavor.
I made my first attempt at making my own pizza dough for this recipe, and let me tell you it was one of the messiest things I’ve done. Surprisingly, it turned out well, but I’ll wait until I can make pizza dough without covering my entire kitchen in it to share a recipe with you. If you make this, I suggest you use your favorite store-bought or homemade pizza dough. I personally have had good success using Trader Joe’s pizza dough – any variety would be great here.
Now let’s talk cheese: I used a blend of mozzarella and parmesan here. Mozzarella gives that cheesy texture you’re looking for on your pizza, while parmesan brings in some complexity to the flavor. Use both. Trust me. More cheese is rarely a bad thing.
Zucchini and Red Onion Pizza
Cook time: 50 minutes; Total time: 1 hour
For the Pizza Dough & Sauce:
Your favorite pizza dough
2 tsp olive oil
3 cloves roasted garlic (see instructions below to make your own roasted garlic)*
1 tbsp lemon juice (about juice of ½ a fresh lemon)
⅛ tsp salt
½ tsp lemon zest
For the Pizza:
¼ small red onion
2 tsp olive oil
⅛ tsp sea salt
⅛ tsp ground pepper
1/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
2-3 tbsp shredded parmesan cheese
Handful cilantro, for garnish (optional)
Corn meal, for dusting pan (or use parchment paper to line the pan)
Start by roasting the garlic:
Preheat your oven to 400℉. Remove the excess paper (the casing can stay) around a head of garlic and place it onto a piece of foil. Drizzle the garlic head with olive oil, and close your foil pouch. Roast the garlic for about 40 minutes. The garlic is done when a knife pierces easily through a clove. Let cool for a few minutes, then squeeze out three cloves for the sauce. Refrigerate the remaining cloves. You can also just roast three cloves individually, and I think it should take less time, though I haven’t tried this method.
Prep your pizza:
Slice zucchini and red onion thinly. Toss together in a bowl with olive olive, salt and pepper. Sprinkle a thin layer of corn meal on a baking sheet. Roll out your pizza dough, and onto your baking sheet.
Make your sauce:
Boost your oven up to 475℉ after the garlic comes out. In a small bowl, mash roasted cloves with olive oil, lemon juice, lemon zest, and salt.
Assemble your pizza:
Brush pizza dough with lemon-garlic mixture. Top with veggies, mozzarella, and parmesan cheese. Pretty patterns not necessary, but certainly encouraged. If desired, top with cilantro when your pizza comes out of the oven.
Bake at 475 for 10-12 minutes, or until crust is golden brown.
*If you want to make this process faster, you could skip roasting the garlic, and simply mince it before mixing with the other ingredients, but the flavor profile will be slightly different.