Creamy Garlic White Pizza with Sautéed Leeks and Toasted Pine Nuts

I always hate when bloggers tell you their life story first before giving you the details of the recipe that you’re really here for, so here ya go… If you’re curious as to how I came up with this recipe, feel free to skip ahead:) 

IMG_7951.JPG

Dough:
2 1/2 cups of flour (I combined 1 1/4 cup of white wheat flour with 1 1/4 cup of all-purpose white flour, both from the King Arthur brand)
1 TBSP of grapeseed oil (any high heat oil will do)
1 TBSP of raw sugar
2 1/4 tsp of active dry yeast (or 1 package)
1 cup of warm water (105-110 degrees F)
1 tsp fine salt
1/4 tsp pepper

Additional Dough Prep:
2 TBSP grapeseed oil
1-2 TBSP cornmeal
Garlic Powder
Italian Seasoning

Creamy Garlic Sauce:
1 cup of raw cashews (either soaked in water 2-3 hours or boiled in hot water for 10 minutes then drained)
3-4 garlic cloves
3 TBSP of nutritional yeast
1/3 cup of water
1/2 cup non-dairy milk – I’m a fan of using Rippletein unsweetened original pea milk for savory cooking, but any non-dairy milk works fine.
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp salt

Additional Pizza Toppings:
1/2 package of Daiya Mozzarella cheese
1 leek, washed and scrubbed, chopped crosswise into 1/4 inch pieces
1/4 cup pine nuts
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 TBSP fresh thyme

Garnishes: 
Lemon wedges
1 TBSP fresh parsley, chopped
Agave
**************************************
Dough:
Makes one large 16 inch medium crust pizza, or two 12 inch thin crust pizzas
1) Dissolve yeast in 1 cup of warm water. Let it sit for about 10 minutes until bubbles have formed.
2) While the yeast is dissolving, combine flour, oil, sugar and salt in a large bowl.
3) Once the yeast has dissolved, add the yeast/water into the flour mixture.
4) Stir until ingredients are incorporated and a stiff dough has formed.
5) Place in a large greased/oiled bowl and cover with a towel. Let the dough sit for 60-90 minutes. You can use this time to prepare the garlic sauce, toppings and garnishes.
6) Once the dough has risen, knead the dough for 5 minutes. I use the steering wheel technique where you press your palm firmly into the dough to knead, fold in half, then turn the dough a quarter turn clockwise, then knead and repeat.
7) Once the dough has been kneaded, it’s ready to either roll out or place in a freezer bag and refrigerate for later use. I prefer to make my dough ahead of time since that’s the most time-consuming part of the recipe. That way, all you have do the day of is prepare toppings and assemble the pizza!

Garlic Cream Sauce:
1) Soak cashews in water for 2-3 hours OR you can boil them in hot water for 10 minutes. Drain.
2) Add soaked, drained cashews to a food processor along with nutritional yeast, garlic, water, salt and pepper. Process on high 2-3 minutes or until smooth. Add non-dairy milk a little bit at a time until you achieve a creamy (but not too creamy) texture. I find cashew base sauces tend to dry out fairly quickly so blending/whisking in additional milk helps to keep the sauce, well… saucy!

Leek Preparation: Add 1 TBSP of oil to the skillet on medium high heat. Saute leeks for 2-3 minutes until they soften slightly.

Pine Nuts: I recommend toasting the pine nuts in a pan or skillet with a little bit of oil until they brown up slightly. This will add a smokier, nuttier flavor. This is completely optional and will also work with plain pine nuts.

Additional Dough Preparation:
1) Preheat oven to 475 degrees Fahrenheit.
2) Roll out dough into either one large 16-18 inch pizza or cut the dough in half and roll out into two smaller 10-12 inch thin crust pizzas. My husband prefers thin crust so we usually end up making two smaller thin crust pizzas. Also, this allows for options if you want to do one white sauce pizza and one red sauce (the garlic cream sauce is enough for either one large or two small pizzas).
3) If using a pizza stone or sheet pan, treat the surface with a little cornmeal. This will add some nice texture to the bottom of the crust.
4) Brush oil across the entire pizza. This will ensure the pizza will turn light golden brown once baked.
5) Season generously with garlic powder and Italian seasoning. Now you’re ready to assemble!

Pizza Assembly:
Note: If you have a pizza peel and pizza stone, you can assemble this  first and then move the pizza using the peel onto the preheated stone in the oven. However, using a baking sheet will work in a pinch.
1) Place rolled out dough on baking sheet. Generously spread the garlic cream sauce onto the dough leaving enough margin on the edge for crust.
2) Top pizza with Daiya mozzarella cheese or vegan mozzarella cheese of your choice. With Daiya, I find it’s best to not completely cover the pizza but to each his (or her own).  It’s pizza! There are no rules, really!
3) Top your pizza with leeks, pine nuts, minced garlic, and fresh thyme.
4) Bake in the oven at 475F for 17-18 minutes, until crust is golden brown. Remove from the oven.
5) Optional: Garnish with a drizzle of lemon juice, fresh parsley and agave nectar. I feel obligated to say the garnishes are optional according to your preference, but they really shouldn’t be! Never skimp on the garnishes, I always say… In this case, the acidity of the lemon juice and slight sweetness of the agave nectar really kick up the wow factor for this particular recipe.
6) What are you waiting for? Slice it up and enjoy!

7) And now…story time!

Last October, I visited the city of Charleston in South Carolina for the first time. I was rocking more of a pescatarian diet at the time so I may or may not have delved into oysters, shrimp and grits while we were there.  Side note: I will have to re-visit Charleston at some point and re-live it as a vegan.

We stayed near downtown Charleston in an AirBnb which had a lot of fabulous dining options within walking distance. On our last night in town, we decided to go simple and order pizza from a restaurant down the street called Luke’s Craft Pizza.

Turns out, Luke’s is a newer Charleston establishment. They are a walk-up family-based operation, open only Thursday-Sunday. Luke’s only makes 50 pizzas a day so when they run out, they run out; no additional pizzas are made. You can however call ahead day of and reserve a pizza for a particular time later in the evening. We called around 5pm to place an order for a 7pm pick-up that evening.

IMG_7953.JPG

Suffice it to say, their pizza was incredible. We ordered one pizza with an olive oil/garlic base and Cremini mushrooms and one with the crushed tomato base topped with Asiago and mozzarella cheese. I was amazed at how simple yet delicious the pizzas both were, largely due to the high-quality ingredients.  I love that they keep their menu seasonal, fresh and simple.

I started following Luke’s Craft Pizza on their Instagram (@lukescraftpizza) and have been drooling over all of their weekly pizza special creations such as:

  • olive oil & garlic base, fresh mozzarella, Asiago, cremini mushrooms, and spring onion
  • creamy ricotta base, fresh mozzarella, Asiago, house fennel sausage, roasted broccoli, and sun-dried tomatoes
  • creamy ricotta base, fresh mozzarella, asiago, fresh rosemary, and spicy honey

Since re-adopting a vegan diet at the beginning of this year, I have been dreaming about making a vegan pizza inspired by the many culinary creations of Luke’s Craft Pizza.

Also, we recently had our friends Dale and Olya over for dinner, along with their adorable 1 year old baby. I cooked up a big batch of gnocchi with spring vegetables; they brought a bottle of wine and enormous loaf of homemade, freshly baked sourdough bread to share.

Olya pitched an idea for a sandwich on how to use the remaining bread — roasted garlic spread with leeks. Dale backed her up by saying he knew it sounded like a really random and weird idea for a vegetarian sandwich yet was actually delicious! My husband John and I ended up using the sourdough bread for copious amounts of avocado toast (typical Millennials), but ever since then, I have been mulling over potential uses of garlic and leeks, and so those ingredients inspired this pizza.

Let me know if you end up trying this pizza in the comments!

IMG_7948.JPG

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s