PIZZA. I love pizza so much.
There's not exactly a shortage of good pizza places here in NYC, but I don't eat it all that frequently...at least not when I'm out. When I'm cooking, though, it's one of my favourite go-to quick and easy meals, perfect for those nights when I have seventeen different things to achieve, and eating is one of the lower priorities.
I often make my own pizza bases, but I see no shame in using store-bought – which is lucky, because when I really just want dinner to be ready already, store-bought is the way to go. I buy fire-roasted whole wheat bases from Whole Foods*, and tend to keep a couple in the freezer at all times.
Late last week, I had little time, a whole-wheat base, and a bunch of kale that I didn't want to become the victim of an Onion joke. It was most definitely a pizza night.
I was going to throw on a bunch of vegetarian toppings, until H1 reminded me that our two vegetarian friends who are currently staying with us were out, thereby successfully twisting my arm** in a bacon-y sort of direction. I kept the ingredients simple and fresh, which is really the not-so-secret secret to a good meal every time. With the 'cheating' base, dinner was ready within 20 minutes – faster than any delivery could have arrived, and, if I do say so myself, way better***.
Kale and Bacon Whole-Wheat Pizza
- Whole-wheat thin pizza base (if making your own, cook it almost all the way first)
- 1 bunch kale
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 4 strips bacon (American-style)
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- Fresh mozzarella
- Paprika and pepper to taste
Tear the kale into pieces, removing the tough stems, and wash thoroughly. Leave just a bit wet, and gently wilt over a low-flame or in a not-too-hot oven (about 180°C/350°F should be fine) with some olive oil, paprika, and pepper. Don't add salt – the bacon and tomato paste will take care of your salt-based needs. Don't worry if it crisps on the sides! Meanwhile, cook the bacon, then roughly chop in pieces about 1cm square, and slice mozzarella into thin pieces (about 0.5cm wide).
Pre-heat your oven as hot as it will go while still being safe. Seriously. Mine won't go above 500°F, so that's how hot I make it. If I could, I'd heat it to 550°F (288°C).
Top the pizza base with tomato paste, cooked bacon, mozzarella, and wilted kale, then place carefully in the middle of your pre-heated oven. Now, keep an eagle eye on it. What you want is a crispy, slightly charred base, and deliciously-melty mozzarella. In my (temperamental) oven that's about 7 minutes. If your oven gets hotter, it could be done in as little as 4 or 5 minutes.
Once the pizza's cooked, remove, slice, and enjoy!****
Do you make pizza often? And do you make your own base every time, or are you open to store-bought also?
*The only place I've been able to find whole-wheat bases in all of NYC – would love to hear other sources if you have them!
**By which I mean he asked if we could have bacon and I agreed immediately.
***We actually have a really great pizzeria close by, but I'd always rather have homemade.
****I feel like it's kind of redundant to tell you these last few steps, but if you're going to do something, do it properly...