Individual Vegetable Pizzettas – Golden Door Spa – (Serves 6)

Pizza has long been a Wednesday lunch favorite at the Golden Door.   Pizza invites improvisation: devise your own exciting and healthful toppings. In fact, pizza making is a great way to get the whole family in the kitchen, and to get kids to eat things they might not otherwise.  Source: Recipes from Golden Door Cooks at Home: Favorite Recipes from the Celebrated Spa by Dean Rucker with Marah Stets (Clarkson Potter, April 2009, $40.00/ Hardcover).  Special thanks to Destination Spa Group. 

  • Olive oil spray
  • 6 ounces portobello mushroom caps, gills scraped out with a spoon, diced small (2 cups)
  • 1 large zucchini, diced (11/2 cups)
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • Pinch of kosher salt, or to taste
  • Pinch of freshly ground black pepper, or to taste
  • Golden Door Pizza Sauce (page 92 – recipe below)
  • 3 plum tomatoes, cut into 18 thin slices
  • 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup Caramelized Onions (page 273-recipe below)
  • 4 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese, diced (1 cup)
  • Fresh baby basil leaves or chopped fresh basil, for serving (optional)

If using pizza stones, place two in the oven. Preheat the oven to 450°F.
Dust the work surface with cornmeal. Divide the pizza dough into six equal balls (each about 1/4 cup). Roll each ball into a 6-inch circle. (Alternatively, to make two large pies, divide the dough in half and roll each portion into a 12-inch circle.) Prick the dough all over with the tines of a fork to prevent large bubbles from forming. Transfer the rolled-out dough to nonstick baking sheets or pizza pans or a regular baking sheet sprinkled with a little cornmeal. If using pizza stones, use a rimless cookie sheet to slide them onto the hot stones. Bake until the bottom of the crust is just light golden, about 8 minutes. Remove the dough from the oven.
Spray a sauté pan with olive oil and heat over medium-high heat. Add the mush­rooms and cook, stirring, for 1 1/2 minutes. Add the zucchini and the garlic and cook, stirring, for 1 1/2minutes. The vegetables should be cooked no more than halfway through. Remove the pan from the heat. Season with salt and pepper.
Spread a scant 2 tablespoons of pizza sauce on each crust. Arrange three tomato slices on each and sprinkle with 1 teaspoon Parmesan. Divide the caramelized onions and the mushroom mixture among the crusts. Divide the mozzarella chunks among the pizzas.
Bake until golden brown on the bottom and edges and the cheese is melted, 10 to 12 minutes. Serve hot, garnished with fresh basil, if desired.

Golden Door Pizza Sauce
This classic, tangy pizza sauce is very simple to prepare. Use it for pizza, calzones, and baked pasta dishes. Make it once and you may never use jarred sauce again. Because it stores so well, you may want to make a double batch. If so, use 1 (14-ounce) can of crushed tomatoes and double all of the other ingredients. Makes scant 3/4 cup

  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 cup canned crushed Italian tomatoes
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons tomato paste
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • Pinch of sugar, or to taste (optional)

In a small saucepan, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, until softened and fragrant but not at all brown, about 30 seconds. Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, basil, oregano, and red pepper flakes. Bring to a simmer and simmer gently for 10 minutes. Taste and if too tart, stir in the sugar.
Let cool completely before using. (The sauce may be stored in a tightly covered container in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 days or frozen for up to 1 month.)
Caramelized Onions
Even if you are not a big fan of onions, give caramelized onions a try; they add a fantastic, savory-sweet note to many dishes. The secret to truly caramelizing the onions-as opposed to simply browning, or even burning them-is patience. Cook them down very slowly to concentrate the natu­ral sugars in the onions. Makes 1 1/2 cups.

  • Olive oil spray
  • 2 large onions, halved and thinly sliced (4 cups)
  • 1/2 cup Chicken Stock, Vegetable Stock (pages 268 and 269), store-bought low-sodium broth, or water
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar Pinch of kosher salt, or to taste
  • Pinch of freshly ground black pepper, or to taste

Spray a skillet with olive oil and heat over medium heat. Add the onions, and cook, stirring occasionally, for 30 minutes until brown, stirring in 2 tablespoons of the stock whenever the bottom of the skillet starts to get dry and browned. You may not need all of the stock.
Add the balsamic vinegar, increase the heat to medium-high, and cook for about 4 minutes longer, stirring occasionally; the onions should be deep golden brown and very soft. Transfer the caramelized onions to a bowl and season with salt and pepper. Once cool, store the caramelized onions in a tightly sealed container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

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