Vegetarian Mini Pizza della Sicilia

You know when you do something that you think you are pretty good at. And then you see someone else doing it a hundred times better, and you realize that you have been sucking at it the whole time. That is how we felt when we ordered a vegetarian pizza from a small ristorante on Sicily, a few years back. The way they put topping on a pizza, mama mia, that is how it was meant to look like (and taste!). Forget about the traditional vegetariana, with a few vegetables in pretty looking patterns. These pizzas were topped with at least ten different ingredients. And instead of arranging them in plain patterns, they were stacked upon each other in a big pile. There were tomatoes, onions, spinach, olives, big chunks of garlic, artichokes, mushrooms, marinated eggplant and zucchini, big pre boiled potatoes … and a lot more. The lesson we learned from that day, don’t be shy when you decorate a pizza. Just throw as many vegetables on it as you can fit.

These pizzas are inspired from that sicilian restaurant, but instead of making one giant pizza we made mini versions. It has probably been said a zillion times before, but this is a great thing to do for a party. Prepare all the ingredients and a big batch of pizza dough (you can prepare the dough the day before), then let everyone decorate their own pizza.

Regarding the dough. About a year ago we made potato pizza on a rye dough. That recipes was so good that we have been sticking with it since then. This time we used the same recipe, but switched rye for spelt flour, and it turned out just as good as the rye dough. We have tried a few different gluten free pizza doughs, but we never found one with the same elasticity as our dough. So if you have the perfect recipe for a gluten free pizza dough, please write it or link to it in the comment field, and we will try them out next time.

Vegetarian Mini Pizza
Makes around 8 – 10 small pizzas (5-inch) or 1 large

As we mentioned above you can use almost anything as topping, we have only written some suggestions. We marinate the zucchini and eggplant and make a proper tomato sauce ourselves, if you want to make it easier for yourself you can buy these things pre-made in the supermarket.

Dough:
1 cup/2,4 dl lukewarm water
2 tsp instant dry yeast
2 tsp sea salt
2 1/2 cup/6 dl spelt flour (we used light)
2 tbsp olive oil

Tomato sauce:
1 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 clove garlic
2 tbsp capers (drained)
a pinch of dried chili
1 1/2 cup/3,6 dl of canned tomatoes
1 tbsp fresh or 1 tsp dried oregano
salt & black pepper

Topping:
4 pre boiled potatoes
250 g marinated artichoke hearts
100 g kalamata olives
1 zuchini (marinated)
1 eggplant (marinated)
4 brown mushrooms, cut in quarters
1/4 fennel, thin slices
300 g small tomatoes
2 small spring onions, divided in half
1/2 broccoli100 g goat cheese
salt & black pepper
fresh aragula, put it on after the pizza has been in the oven

Making the dough: Pour warm water in a medium size bowl. Add salt and yeast and stir around. Mix in 2 cups of flour. Gradually add more flour until the dough comes together enough for you to start kneading it. Knead for a couple of minutes, add additional flour if it sticks to your hands. Put the dough back in the bowl and drizzle it with olive oil. Work the dough until it’s completely covered in the oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and set it in a warm place for 1 – 2 hours.

Making the tomato sauce: Heat olive oil in a medium size pot. Add onion, garlic, and chili and saute  for 2-3 minutes. Add capers and fresh tomatoes and spices and cook for 10 minutes, lower the heat and let it simmer for half an hour more under a lid.

Preheat the oven to the highest possible temperature (450-500°F). Remove the plastic cover from the dough and start working it with your hands on a slightly floured work surface. Make 8 to 10 small portions. Stretch and flatten the dough until you get the desired size and thickness that you prefer and move it to a baking pan covered with parchment paper. Spelt flour doesn’t stretch as good as wheat flour but if you work carefully and flatten it with the palm of your hand you will get it right. Another trick is to roll them out directly on the parchment paper with a slightly floured rolling pin and then just move the parchment paper to the baking pan.

Brush the dough with 2 tbsp tomato sauce. Cover them with topping of your choice. Bake for about 10-15 min until the outer part of the topping and the edges are slightly burnt. Sprinkle with fresh goat cheese, a bit of olive oil, fresh aragula, salt and freshly grounded pepper. Serve immediately.