Sautéed pepper, Goat cheese and Basil Pizza on Cauliflower Crust with Roasted Red Pepper Sauce and drizzled Balsamic Reduction
I DID IT! I finally graduated from culinary school and it feels AMAZING! Of course I got the two dishes I was most nervous to get for my final (we have to cook two dishes and present them to a panel of judges in a certain period of time and then get critiqued on not only our food but also how well we organized our stations, our timing etc). I had to make bigoli, which is a hand rolled pasta, and the duck breast (which comes with duck confit, this sauce that takes forever and some other ish that’s weird). I also had to present first, of course, AND go against some seriously talented people in my class. Because of course they would also pick the same dishes as me. BUT I FINISHED and it’s over and just, thank God. It’s over. Although I am going back for 3 months starting in April to do the cake technique and design program, but that’s another story…
Making this cauliflower pizza crust was also a small victory too, because it’s something i’ve been wanting to try ever since I saw it on Pinterest a few years back. My roommate, Alyssa, decided to give up pasta for Lent (which is seriously a big deal because it’s basically all she eats), and I gave up cereal and nut butters (which is also seriously a big deal because it’s basically all I eat).
Since I recently graduated from school and don’t have a job yet, I have a lot of time to kill before the cake program starts. SO I am going to try and make us as many healthy meals as possible to help pass the time and to help us maintain our actually impossible Lent promises. I also selfishly love to cook for Alyssa because she is literally the most grateful person ever and makes me feel like a rockstar/genius/wizard in the kitchen. So, needless to say, she said this pizza was amazing and she might like it more than regular pizza; and did a little jig after eating it. Like I said, most incredible person to cook for. (sorry Troy) This is a picture of what the crust looks like before it has been baked.
After the crust has been baked for 15 minutes at 450 F.
Without the balsamic reduction…
Here are the pictures with the balsamic drizz. I personally think it added a really awesome zing, but it’s also delicious without it.
The crust is really awkward to shape and it seems like there is no possible way this will come together like a crust, but it does. After I pressed this out I immediately texted my roommate telling her she should have a backup plan for dinner, because I seriously doubted that this could actually work. Also, when measuring the chopped cauliflower, make sure it is a rough chop rather than flourettes. It will be easier to process and the measurements will be more accurate.
- Cauliflower Crust
- ½ large head of cauliflower, roughly chopped (should be about 3 cups)
- 1 egg
- ¼ cup parmesan cheese
- ¼ cup part skim mozzarella cheese
- 1 clove of garlic, minced
- 1 T fresh basil, finely chopped
- ½ tsp salt
- pepper, to taste
- Roasted Red Pepper Sauce
- (makes enough for about 2-3 small pizzas)
- 2 large red peppers, seeded and roughly chopped
- 1 large onion, roughly chopped
- 3 cloves of garlic, crushed
- about 2 T olive oil, plus more as needed
- 1 tsp salt
- pepper, to taste
- ½ red bell pepper, sliced
- ½ yellow bell pepper, sliced
- ½ part skim mozzarella
- about 1 T goat cheese
- Fresh basil leaves, rinsed and dried
- Balsamic reduction, optional
- Balsamic Reduction
- ⅓ cup balsamic vinegar
- ½ tsp sugar
- (This sause can be made in advance) Preheat the oven to 375 F.
- Toss the all of the ingredients together and spread out in a thin layer on a rimmed sheet tray. Roast until tender and lightly golden on the edges; about 30 minutes.
- Pour hot roasted vegetables into the bowl of a food processor and puree on high until smooth and creamy. About 5 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 450 F. Line a pizza pan or sheet pan with parchment paper (the parchment is crucial)
- In the bowl of a food processor, add the chopped cauliflower and process until no large chunks remain. It should look like couscous.
- Pour into a bowl and microwave for 8 minutes. It is important that you let it cool completely before moving to the next step.
- With a thin dish towel or cheese cloth, squeeze the cooked cauliflower until almost all of the water/liquid has been removed. Be careful not to squeeze too hard, or the towel may rupture (which happened to me)
- Place the rung out cauliflower in a dry bowl and add the remaining ingredients. Mix well.
- Clump the mixture into a large ball and very gently shape it in your hands.
- Place the ball in the center of the parchment and begin to very gently press down into a thin circle. Some holes may form, so just be sure to close them up. It may seem like the crust will stick, but if you have the parchment paper it will release after it is fully cooked.
- Saute the peppers with about a tablespoon of olive oil over medium. Cook for about 10 minutes or until tender and browned on the edges. Let cool before handling.
- Place the sugar and vinegar in a small pot and simmer on medium low until it has reached a thin, syrup-like consistency. About 5 minutes. Do not over reduce or the sauce with become too thick as it cools and will stick to the bottom of the pan like glue. If this does happen add a touch more vinegar and whisk vigorously.
- When the crust is fully cooked and has cooled slightly, spread about 2 heaping spoon fulls of the red pepper sauce onto the crust. Evenly distribute the mozzarella cheese and the sautéed peppers. Sprinkle with goat cheese.
- Bake for about 5 minutes or until the cheese has melted completely.
- Garnish with fresh basil and drizzle with balsamic reduction.