Chick­pea and al­mond flours add body to quick-roll dough

The Hamilton Spectator - - Go ARTS & LIFE - JOE YONAN

My favourite recipes are those that open up a new lane of cook­ing, a lane that I imag­ine leads in new di­rec­tions.

Take the Pesto Socca Pizza that I came across re­cently in “The Ul­ti­mate Ve­gan Cook­book,” a col­lec­tion of more than 600 recipes by seven au­thors. Now, I’ve used chick­pea flour in myr­iad ways, start­ing with pan­cakes that take shape in France, called socca, and in Italy, known as far­i­nata. But writer Marie Regi­nato does some­thing dif­fer­ent, us­ing much less wa­ter — and a touch of al­mond flour — to quickly form a dough you can roll out and bake un­til crisp. The flavour and tex­ture of the crust re­mind me of pas­try more than pizza: it’s a lit­tle crumbly, in a good way.

After bak­ing the crust by it­self, I fol­lowed her lead and topped it with pesto, roasted squash and sliced radishes, adding pump­kin seeds and arugula for colour and crunch. This pizza is de­signed for just one or two serv­ings, and the crust might be too del­i­cate to make much big­ger, but you can al­ways make more than one. Regi­nato of­fers that any roasted veg­etable could work in place of the squash, and I’m en­vi­sion­ing the sauces that could swap in for the pesto, too — mari­nara, hum­mus, gar­licky yo­gurt. The crust could even turn into a cookie.

Did I men­tion that it hap­pens to be gluten-free? Sweet.

Pesto Socca Pizza

Makes 2 serv­ings

Feel free to re­place the squash with the sea­sonal veg­eta­bles of your choice.

2⁄3 cup chick­pea flour

1⁄3 cup al­mond flour/meal (may sub­sti­tute chick­pea flour)

1⁄2 tea­spoon kosher salt

3 ta­ble­spoons wa­ter

1 tbsp plus 2 tsp ex­tra-vir­gin olive oil

8 ounces peeled and seeded but­ter­nut squash, cut into

1⁄4-inch-thick slices

3 to 4 tbsp store-bought or homemade pesto (prefer­ably cheese-free to keep it ve­gan)

1⁄4 cup roasted un­salted pump­kin seeds (pepi­tas) Sliced radish, for gar­nish

Hand­ful arugula leaves, for gar­nish

Pre­heat the oven to 400 F. Whisk to­gether the chick­pea flour, al­mond flour and salt in a small bowl. Stir in the wa­ter and 1 ta­ble­spoon of the oil, and keep stir­ring for a few min­utes to make sure it is well blended, with the con­sis­tency of Play-Doh. Form into a small disk, cover with plas­tic wrap and re­frig­er­ate for 10 min­utes.

Mean­while, toss the squash with 1 tea­spoon of the oil on a small rimmed bak­ing sheet, then sprin­kle with 1/4 tea­spoon of the salt. Roast un­til ten­der, for 10 min­utes.

Roll the rested dough be­tween sheets of parch­ment paper to an 8-inch round that’s 1/4-inch thick. Peel off the top layer of parch­ment, and lightly rub or brush the top of the dough with the re­main­ing tea­spoon of oil. Trans­fer the dough, still on the bot­tom sheet of parch­ment, to a reg­u­lar-size bak­ing sheet. Bake un­til the crust is firm and its edges are turn­ing a light golden brown, 10 to 12 min­utes.

Care­fully trans­fer the crust, which is a lit­tle del­i­cate, to a serv­ing plate. Im­me­di­ately spread the pesto evenly over the sur­face of the crust, then top with roasted squash and pump­kin seeds. Gar­nish with the radishes and arugula. Serve warm. Per serv­ing (us­ing 3 ta­ble­spoons pesto): 530 calo­ries, 17 grams pro­tein, 38 g car­bo­hy­drates, 38 g fat, 5 g sat­u­rated fat, 5 mil­ligrams choles­terol, 510 mg sodium, 9 g di­etary fi­bre, 8 g sugar

Adapted from “The Ul­ti­mate Ve­gan Cook­book: The Must-Have Re­source for Plant-Based Eaters,” by Emily von Euw, Kathy Hester, Linda and Alex Meyer, Marie Regi­nato, Ce­line Steen and Am­ber St. Peter (Page Street Pub­lish­ing, 2018).


This pizza is de­signed for just one or two serv­ings, and the crust might be too del­i­cate to make much big­ger, but you can al­ways make more than one.

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