Sunday, February 3, 2013
Flatbread Pizza with Roasted Red Pepper Sauce, Broccoli, Caramelized Onions, and Pineapple
Lots of roasting happened in the making of this pizza.
I like thinking of the oven as a "black box." And unlike most metaphorical black boxes, I actually don't like to analyze this one. Usually, I love thinking about the "why." Which I'm sure my mom just loved as I was growing up. Actually, I am still scolded for over-thinking things.
I could learn all the mechanisms by which browning occurs and so on. But if I do, it would no longer be the mysterious box into which things are placed and then deliciousness occurs. I've actually had a lifelong reticence to learning about such processes. As a high school student, I got it into my head that I was not going to take chemistry. I didn't, and it felt like such a victory. I carried my anti-chemistry flag right through college and grad school. I can be such a contrarian sometimes. I have little doubt that learning some chemistry would explain a lot of the magic, but I obstinately refuse to get into it.
When broccoli and garlic and red peppers are doused in some olive oil, salt, and pepper and put into this magic box, loveliness happens. So I let the oven work its magic...and then add some fresh pineapple chunks for a sweet, juicy counterpoint.
3 cups broccoli florets
red pepper flakes
1 lemon wedge
Roasted red peppers:
3 red peppers, cut into quarters
1 head of garlic
1 tablespoon oil
2 onions, peeled, halved, then sliced
Roasted red pepper pizza spread
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 (15.5) ounce can cannelini beans
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
juice from 1/2 a lime
salt and pepper to taste
the roasted garlic
the roasted red peppers
1/2 cup grated extra sharp cheddar
1/2 cup grated mozzarella
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
about 1 cup of fresh pineapple chunks
2 flatbreads (we used Stonefire's garlic naan)
To roast the broccoli: Heat oven to 425. Place florets on baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle red pepper flakes, salt, freshly ground black pepper and Parmesan cheese over pieces. Roast for about 25 minutes, until pieces are soft and have that delicious browning on them. Remove from oven and squeeze fresh lemon juice over top.
To roast the garlic: Heat oven to 400. Take off the papery outer skin of the garlic bulb. Don’t remove all the skin, just the stuff that comes off easily. The head of garlic should still remain intact. Slice off the pointy end of the bulb to expose all the cloves. Place in a small greased ramekin and cover with the olive oil. Sprinkle just a pinch of salt and cover with aluminum foil. Place in oven and roast for about 45 minutes. The cloves of garlic will be all nice and soft.
To roast the red peppers: Heat oven to 425. Place red peppers on baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle red pepper flakes, salt, and freshly ground black pepper over pieces. Once one side of the veggie has a nice brown color, flip; then continue roasting for a total of about 35 minutes.
To caramelize the onions: Place a tablespoon of olive oil in large sauté pan over medium heat. Add the onion slices. Don’t stir too often yet. Let the pieces brown, without getting burnt. After about 15 minutes or so, once slices have mostly browned, I like to turn the heat down to low or medium low. Stir frequently. I like adding a bit of water or oil every so often to keep the pieces from burning or sticking too much. After about 40 minutes or so, the onions should have a dark brown, jam-like quality.
To make the red pepper spread: In a medium sauce pan, add oil, beans and their liquid, red pepper flakes, roasted garlic, and roasted peppers. Cook on medium low for 10 minutes. Season with lime juice, salt, and pepper. Blend with an immersion blender, and season again if needed.
To make the pizzas: Spread red pepper sauce on flatbreads. Top with cheeses, caramelized onions, and broccoli. Bake at 375 until cheese is all melted and the flatbread is getting crispy, about 8-10 minutes. Once it is done cooking, finish with fresh pineapple chunks.