Making Pizza

I love pizza. Ive always loved pizza, from pizza parties when I was a kid, to the first slice of real Italian pizza I devoured in Napoli when I was 17, to learning how to toss dough and make the perfect pie in the little town I lived in Calabria. It has long been my favorite food, so we started a tradition about a year ago to have Pizza Fridays. It was our day to wind down, chill out at home and have a slice (or four) of home made pizza, maybe a chilled glass of wine or a cold beer. Then I stopped eating gluten.

Even gluten-free I found my occasional fix at Magic Oven in their delicious rice crusts, and even made myself a few brown rice tortilla pizzas at home from time to time. But when I went grain free for the time being, I thought my days of pizza loving were over.

Then I was glancing through a grain-free book I picked up from the library, and a pizza recipe caught my eye- pizza? Grain-free? I wasnt convinced. But I had to at least try it. So I modified the recipe a bit, and in hardly any time at all, I was rolling out my dough onto my cookie sheet, placing it in the oven, and hoping for the best (though admittedly not expecting much).

After only a few minutes in the oven, it started to rise. Now I was happy! Then when I had my first bite Im surprised I didnt actually jump for joy. I think the only reason I didnt was I might risk dropping my pizza.

This pizza isnt like youre average crust. Its more of a flatbread pizza, and it definitely doesnt taste like wheat, but it has a light, crunchy texture and a buttery, almost sweet taste that is more than just satisfying, its really delicious. It may not be exactly like the real thing, but gosh darn it it is a good substitute.

Grain-free pizza crust
Adapted from Breaking the Vicious Cycle

{Makes 1 small pizza}

2/3 cup blanched almond flour, more as needed.
1 egg
1 tsp olive oil, more for coating dough
1/2 tsp baking powder
big pinch salt
pinch oregano, basil, garlic powder, parsley

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Whisk egg in a medium bowl. Add olive oil, salt, spices and mix. Add in almond flour and stir to combine until it forms a ball. Add more almond flour as needed.

2. Oil a cookie sheet with olive oil, and place dough in middle of pan. Using a rolling pin coated with oil or flour, roll dough out until it is 1/4 thick.

3. Bake in oven for 5-10 minutes until crust begins to brown and set. Remove from oven and add toppings as desired.

4. Once toppings are added, bake for 10-15 minutes until crust is firm and golden and toppings are cooked through.

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Crispy Kale and Tomato pizza

For the pizza I ate that night, I focused on fresh, local ingredients I picked up at the farmers market. Beautiful red pearl onions, fresh garlic and bright green kale. I love this combination I came up with, because it pretty much means I get to eat one of my favorite things- kale chips, on another one of my favorite things- pizza.

1 grain-free pizza crust

Small handful of kale, chopped fine
2 small pearl onion, diced small
1 small head of fresh garlic, or two cloves
1/2 tomato, sliced thinly
olive oil as needed
sea salt, to taste
your favorite pesto (optional)

1. Prepare crust as indicated above. In a small bowl, toss kale with a drizzle of olive oil and a pinch of salt. Top pizza crust with pesto, onion, garlic, tomato slices and kale. Drizzle with more olive oil.

2. Bake for 10-15 minutes until tomatoes are wilted and kale is crispy. Devour!