Pizza, almost any kind, but especially Pizza Margarita, is my absolute favourite food in the world. I could eat it three times a day and still not get enough of it. I even look forward to leftovers for breakfast, but the pizza has to be cold, straight out of the fridge.
It is rare that I will deviate from the classic pizza Napolitana, but when you have an avid gardener in the family, who provides you with a consistent supply of whatever vegetable is in season, necessity sometimes induces creativity.
So, for me, the onset of zucchini season means zucchini piti (Italian fritters), zucchini soup, zucchini loaf, zucchini sticks, zucchini carpaccio, zucchini pizza, etc. Do you get the picture? I haven’t tried juicing it yet, but I’m thinking it might be time.
I’ll admit that I didn’t exactly grow up with zucchini pizza. My mother will tell you that she used to make a version, but for some reason, I don’t have any recollection of it. My version was more the result of the vegetarianism and the strong preference for variety. And of course the millions of zucchini my mother gives me every year at this time.
It may not be my beloved Pizza Margarita, but I look forward to it every year. I intentionally don’t use a tomato base so there is no interference – the zucchini must and does shine here. I also don’t happen to enjoy the combination of tomatoes and zucchini, however classic it may be.
The trick to this pizza is the shaved zucchini drizzled in a touch of olive oil, which caramelize beautifully in the oven but still manage to retain their moisture. The shavings allow that perfect balance of reduction to juiciness. Coupled with the thinly sliced onion and layer, yes, an entire layer of basil leaves, the mounds of raw zucchini remain bright, sweet, and light when baked. This white pizza is the epitome of fresh and a welcome change from the usual.
Serves4 (or 3 hungry people)
|Zucchini, Italian, small, shaved||2|
|Onion, small, thinly sliced||1|
|Garlic, cloves, crushed||3|
|Basil, leaves, fresh||8-10|
|Fennel leaves (optional)||3 sprigs|
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- Grease an 11 by 16 (approximately) pizza pan. I use vegetable shortening.
- Stretch pizza dough over greased pizza pan. Set aside.
- Half zucchini and remove seeds. Only remove seeds if using Italian zucchini. You should use Italian zucchini for this pizza. Trust me!
- Using a vegetable peeler, thinly shave the zucchini lengthwise starting from one end. You should end up with long, thin strips of zucchini, not unlike when you shave carrots.
- In a medium bowl, sparingly coat shaved zucchini with olive oil. Add salt, black pepper, oregano, onion and garlic and toss well.
- Lightly brush pizza dough with olive oil.
- Sprinkle pizza dough with grated Parmesan.
- Add whole basil leaves.
- Arrange provolone slices on pizza.
- Sprinkle chopped fennel leaves, if using.
- Spread the zucchini mixture over the pizza. The zucchini mounds will appear like too much, but they shrink.
- Bake pizza for approximate 30-45 minutes, until provolone is bubbly and golden.