Thursday, February 7, 2013

Homemade pizza, incidentally gluten-free

Some time ago, when I was experimenting with the gluten-free cuisine, I tried to order a gluten-free pizza from a local, well-respected place around Albuquerque. Yeah it sounded weird, but I thought I'd give it a shot. At Pizza 9 and Luigi's (both otherwise decent pizza joints), I was told that the gluten-free pizza comes in one size only. That is because they don't make it in-house (easy to imagine why - with all the gluten-full flour flying about, contamination would be a sure thing). So I went with Pizza 9. And I must say that I had an awful, awful experience. I wish I could undo it, it was that bad. The crust tasted like medicine (if you've ever eaten something expired from a can in your pantry, imagine that) and it generously imparted this flavor to the entire pie. I forced myself to eat it and with every bite decided anew that I would never, ever try this again.

Years later however, I decided to try again. But this time I'd make it myself. Pizza is one of the rare treats that I allow myself every couple of months. And when I do, I enjoy it tremendously. So I thought of the people who have to live with Celiac disease - they should be able to enjoy this marvelous treat too, wouldn't that be fair? So I bought this Chebe tapioca-based pizza crust I found at Sprouts Market and followed the instructions on the package to make the crust.

First, it must be said that Chebe only contains 6 ingredients, and 3 of those are spices. I probably wouldn't buy anything that comes in a box otherwise. According to the package, this mix is not only gluten-free but also free of soy, corn, yeast, peanuts, eggs, dairy, sugar and it's non-GMO. What more could you ask for?

The process is very simple, even if you've never done this before. You only need two eggs, some oil and water or almond milk to put into the mix and make it into a dough. The dough is going to be pretty sticky, so having a pizza stone will help a lot in this regard. But you could also make this in a regular tray, non-stick or lined with parchment paper.

And my friends, it was amazing! I love thin crust pizza, and that's exactly how it turned out: thin crust, a bit crunchy on the edges, but that depends on how long you bake it. No weird taste or funkiness this time. It was a really tasty home made pizza. And it's definitely made it into my bookmarks. Give it a shot, gluten-addicts out there - you might be pleasantly surprised!

Gluten-free pizza
~ makes 1 14-inch pizza

2 eggs
2 Tbsp olive oil
1/4 cup almond milk or water

28 oz chopped tomatoes (I use Pomi, you can use canned)
4 oz tomato paste
1 tsp brown sugar
1 tsp salt
1 tsp dried basil
a dash of black pepper
1 tsp Italian seasoning (to make your own, throw together some dried basil, oregano, thyme. rosemary and sage) 

1 cup shredded goat cheddar 
2 Roma tomatoes, sliced
1/3 cup thinly sliced onion rings
1/4 cup pitted olives
1/4 cup chopped green chile

Mix the crust mix with the eggs, oil and almond milk or water. Knead and form a dough with your hands and spread it using a rolling pin (or a wine bottle) on an ungreased pizza stone or tray.

Blend the sauce ingredients together. Spread some sauce over the crust and distribute it evenly. Sprinkle the cheese, then the tomato slices, onions, olives and finally the green chile. 

Bake 15-18 minutes until the edges are light brown. Easy!

Any questions, leave a comment!

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