Monday, December 2, 2013

brussel sprout béchamel pizza.

I know Thanksgiving just came and went and you're probably thinking about salads and soups before the glut of holiday cookies arrives at the office but it would be foolish if you didn't also think about pizza.  

This brussel sprouts pizza to be exact.  

I feel bad doing this to you, but there is a 1/4 pound of brussel sprouts on each of these pizzas so that makes this kind of like a salad pizza.  Right?  (Don't tell me otherwise.)  

This is the best white pizza I have ever made.  The béchamel is creamy but not overly heavy.  It provides the perfect base for a sprinkle of mozzarella and a heavy layer of brussel sprout leaves.  As the pizza bakes, the leaves crisp up, turning into crunchy bites of deliciousness that pair perfectly with the rich and cheesy béchamel. It's kind of amazing which is why I'm making for dinner again tomorrow night (I kid you not).    

Brussel Sprout Pizza
Recipe inspired by Jim Lahey

Makes 2 pizzas (or enough pizza for 4 people)


2 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons flour
1 1/2 cups milk (not skim) 
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 ounce fontina, diced
1 tablespoon parmesan


1 recipe béchamel (recipe above)
1 recipe pizza dough (I've been using this one from Smitten Kitchen as of late and it's pretty spectacular)
1/2 pound brussel sprouts 
1 tablespoon olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste 
5 - 6 ounces of mozzarella, shredded 
2 tablespoons parmesan
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes

Prepare your brussel sprouts: Wash the brussel sprouts.  Cut off the bottom and carefully remove as many of the outer leaves as possible and place them in a large bowl.  You want to try and get as many leaves as possible before you dice the inside.  They don't need to be perfect but the leaves are key since they provide an excellent crispy crunch to the pizza. If it gets hard to remove them, cut off a little more of the bottom.  When you get to the inside of the sprout and can't remove any more of the leaves, thinly slice whats left and add it to the bowl.  Repeat with the remaining brussel sprouts.  At then end you will have a lot of leaves, don't worry, they shrink down when you cook them.  Toss them with 1 tablespoon olive oil and salt and pepper to taste.  Set aside.  

Preheat the oven to 500 degrees.  Preheat a pizza stone or generously oil a large baking sheet.  

Make the béchamel: In a medium saucepan, melt the butter over moderate heat. Stir in the 3 tablespoons of flour until a paste forms. Gradually pour in the milk, whisking until smooth. Bring the béchamel sauce to a simmer over moderately high heat, whisking constantly, until thickened, about 4 minutes. Reduce the heat to low and cook, whisking often, until no floury taste remains, about 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the fontina until melted. Season the sauce with salt, pepper, red pepper flakes, and parmesan.

Prepare the pizza: Divide your dough in half.  On a lightly floured work surface, stretch your dough into a round or rectangular shape about 10 inches in diameter.  (Trust me, it doesn't need to be perfect.)  Remove the pizza stone from the oven or get your oiled baking sheet and place the dough on it.  (I like to wrap the dough over a rolling pan to transfer).  Spread half the béchamel on the pizza.  Top with half the mozzarella.  Place the pizza in the oven.  After 5 minutes, remove the pizza from the oven and top with half the brussel sprouts.  Return the pizza to the oven and continue to bake for another 5 - 8 minutes or until the brussel sprouts are charred and blistered and the crust is golden brown. Top with 1 tablespoon parmesan and 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes. Repeat with the remaining piece of dough.  

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