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Carol's latest book, Gluten-Free Cooking for Two, is now available. Designed for small households, each perfectly-proportioned recipe serves two people. You will eliminate unwanted leftovers and reduce waste when you cook right-size meals with the 125 recipes in this book. Enjoy!! Celebrate with me!!! Gluten-Free Cooking for Two has won two awards: named one of ten "Best Gluten-Free Cooking Books in 2017" by Healthline.com and won a Silver Medal in the 2017 Living Now Book Awards in the "Natural, Nutrition, Organic, Vegetarian" category.
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Homemade Gluten-Free Pepperoni Pizza

Of all the foods I missed when I adopted a gluten-free lifestyle, pizza was at the top of the list. In fact, pizza is the food I want when I’m stranded on that proverbial desert island.

 Pepperoni Pizza

Pepperoni Pizza

I didn’t eat my first pizza until I was 16 years old. Odd, isn’t it! And, frankly, I didn’t particularly care for it. But once I was in college, I became a pizza lover.

When wheat left my life in 1988, one of the first recipes I converted was pizza. The recipe below has gone through a few iterations since then and I have served it to many guests (even non-GF guests)—each devouring it with joy, not even caring that it was gluten-free because it was so good.

I have also included a recipe for pizza sauce, but you can use store-bought brands instead. And, I’m a big fan of making the dough ahead of time (maybe the night before?), which improves flavor and makes it easier to handle. Instructions are below. Enjoy!

PEPPERONI PIZZA

Reprinted with permission from Gluten-Free 101: The Essential Beginner’s Guide to Easy Gluten-Free Cooking (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)

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This pizza crust is so fabulous that it has received national acclaim and my family likes it better than store-bought pizza. You can hold it in your hand and it won’t crumble! The dough adheres to the pan better when it is greased with shortening rather than cooking spray. You can use store-bought pizza sauce, but mine is thicker so it won’t make the crust soggy.

Pizza Sauce (Makes 1 cup, enough for a 12-inch pizza)

1              can  (8 ounces) tomato sauce

1  1/2     teaspoons Italian seasoning 

1/2      teaspoon fennel seeds (optional)

1/4      teaspoon garlic powder or 1 minced garlic clove

1          teaspoon sugar

1/4     teaspoon salt

Crust  (Makes a 12-inch pizza)

1              tablespoon active dry yeast 

3/4         cup warm (110°F) milk of choice

1              teaspoon sugar

2/3         cup brown rice flour, plus more for sprinkling

1/4         cup potato starch

1/4         cup tapioca flour

1  1/2     teaspoons xanthan gum

1              teaspoon Italian seasoning

1/2         teaspoon salt

2              teaspoons olive oil

2              teaspoons cider vinegar

Topping

12           gluten-free pepperoni slices

1  1/2     cups (6 ounces) shredded Mozzarella cheese or cheese alternative

Pizza Sauce

[1] In a small, heavy saucepan combine all of the sauce ingredients and simmer, uncovered and stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes. Set aside.

Crust

[1] Place oven racks in the bottom and middle positions of the oven. Preheat the oven to 400ºF. Dissolve the yeast and sugar in the warm milk for 5 minutes. In a food processor, blend all of the crust ingredients, including the yeast mixture, until the dough forms a ball. The dough will be very, very soft.  (Or, blend in a medium bowl, using an electric mixer on low speed until well blended.)

[2] Place the pizza dough in the center of a greased 12-inch nonstick (gray, not black) pizza pan. Liberally sprinkle the rice flour onto the dough; then press the dough into the pan with your hands, continuing to dust the dough with flour to prevent sticking. Make the edges thicker to contain the toppings, taking care to make the dough as smooth and even as possible for the prettiest crust. At first, it will seem as though there is not enough dough to cover the pan but don’t worry―it is just the right amount.

[3] Bake the pizza crust for 10 minutes on the bottom rack. Remove from the oven and brush the top with the pizza sauce.  Arrange the pepperoni slices on top and sprinkle with the cheese. Return the pizza to the oven and bake on the middle rack until nicely browned, about 15 to 20 minutes.  Remove the pizza from the oven and cool it on a wire rack for 5 minutes. At this point, you may brush the crust edges with a little olive oil (optional) or proceed to cutting it into 6 slices. Serve warm.

Makes a 12-inch pizza, 6 slice

Per slice: 295 calories; 12 grams protein; 13 grams total fat;  2 grams fiber; 32 grams carbohydrates; 35 mgs cholesterol; 856 mgs sodium

How to Shape Pizza Crust Dough

See a step-by-step guide to making gluten-free pizza at www.GlutenFree101.com. Click on Tutorials, then on Pizza 101.

Make-Ahead Pizza Crust Dough

Wouldn’t it be nice to have a pizzeria in your own kitchen? Well, that may be asking a bit much. But you can have pizza often and with little effort, with a little advance preparation. Make the pizza crust dough ahead of time and freeze it, tightly covered, for up to a month. Thaw the dough overnight, tightly covered, in the refrigerator before shaping the dough on the pizza pan following Step 2 above. Or, make the dough on weekends, refrigerate tightly covered, and bake it up to 3 days later.  The only change required for make-ahead dough is to use cold, rather than warm milk so the yeast won’t activate until the pizza goes in the oven. While the chilled dough is easier to shape, it may take longer to rise because it is cold so let the shaped crust sit on the countertop for 10 minutes to warm up a bit before baking. The sauce can also be made ahead and refrigerated for up to a week.

Bake-Ahead Pizza Crust

Remember when we could buy a pizza crust at the grocery store… the ones that are already baked and just need toppings and a warm-up in the oven? Well, you can make your own. Prepare the pizza crust dough and shape it following Step 2 above. Then, proceed to Step 3 and bake on the bottom rack of a preheated oven for 10 minutes but then―instead of adding the toppings―shift the pizza pan to the middle rack and bake just until the crust is a light golden brown and firm to the touch, about 10 to 15 minutes. (The goal is to bake it just long enough to cook the dough but not brown it so much that it burns during the final baking.) Remove the pizza crust from the oven and cool it completely on a wire rack. Then wrap it tightly in foil and freeze for up to a month.

When you’re ready to bake the pizza, remove the foil and place the pizza on a lightly greased 12-inch pizza pan. Let the crust thaw while you prepare the toppings, about 10 minutes. Add the toppings and bake on the middle rack in a preheated oven just until the cheese is melted and lightly browned, about 15 to 20 minutes (depending on toppings). Serve immediately.

 

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