Tonight I’m volunteering at Share Our Strength’s Taste of the Nation in Washington DC. I attended last year and it’s a great event for an important cause. Taste of the Nation will bring together the city’s best chefs, restaurants and mixologists to raise funds to help ensure no child goes hungry. When Nicole Gulotta from The Giving Table contacted me about donating today’s post to the issue of hunger in America it was a no-brainer. I worked with The Giving Table last year as part of Food Bloggers For Slave Free Tomatoes. We have a unique platform for addressing food-related issues and I think we have a responsibility to do what we can.
A new documentary called A Place at the Table was recently released by the creators of Food Inc. The movie follows three families struggling with food insecurity and sheds light on the problem of hunger in America. Here’s a synopsis from the official website:
“Fifty million people in the U.S.—one in four children—don’t know where their next meal is coming from. Directors Kristi Jacobson and Lori Silverbush examine the issue of hunger in America through the lens of three people struggling with food insecurity…Ultimately, A Place at the Table shows us how hunger poses serious economic, social and cultural implications for our nation, and that it could be solved once and for all, if the American public decides — as they have in the past — that making healthy food available and affordable is in the best interest of us all.”
While developing this recipe I tried to imagine shopping for a family on a tiny budget. Almost everything I normally purchase seemed unreasonable. I decided to focus on something I can almost always make based on ingredients in my kitchen; homemade pizza. It’s a great way to use up leftover vegetables and meat. I went with a caramelized onion arugula pizza because I wanted to use up leftovers but homemade pizza is a blank canvas. Really, the sky is the limit.
- 2 1/2 cups all-purpose or white whole wheat flour
- 1 teaspoon dry active yeast
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1 cup warm water
- 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 large egg yolk
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 28 ounce can whole tomatoes, drained
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 clove garlic, chopped
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 2 medium yellow onions
- 1 cup water
- semolina flour for dusting
- 2/3 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
- a handful of arugula or greens of your choice
- crushed red pepper to taste
In a food processor, combine flour, yeast and sugar. With the machine running, add the warm water and allow the dough to come together for around 20-30 seconds. Let the dough rest for 5 minutes, then add the olive oil, egg yolk and salt and run the machine for another 30 seconds. Place the dough in a large oiled bowl and cover. Allow the dough to double in size. Divide the dough in half. If you're only making one pizza, wrap half the dough in plastic and refrigerate. Place one or both circles of dough back in the bowl, cover, and allow to rest while preparing the onions and sauce.
Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet on low heat. Add onions and a pinch of salt. Have a measuring cup full of water nearby. Cook the onions on low heat, stirring frequently, until the onions begin to brown. Turn up the heat to medium and continue caramelizing the onions. As a glaze develops on the bottom of the pan, add a few tablespoons of water and scrape up the brown bits, incorporating them into the onions. The heat will cause the water to evaporate. Repeat this process for approximately 25-30 minutes, keeping a close eye on the onions to make sure they don't burn. When the onions have turned a dark brown color and are both bitter and sweet in flavor, remove from the heat and set aside.
To prepare the sauce, puree tomatoes, olive oil, salt, pepper, dried oregano and garlic in a food processor.
Preheat the oven to 500 degrees F. Sprinkle some semolina flour on a large baking sheet. You can also use a pizza stone and peel if you prefer.
Stretch the pizza dough to approximately a 12 inch round and set it on the semolina dusted surface. Top with approximately 1/3 cup tomato sauce. Spread the tomato sauce evenly, leaving approximately an inch of space around the edge of the pizza to create a crust. Top with half the caramelized onions, a handful of arugula and then 1/3 cup mozzarella cheese.
Bake the pizza for 13-15 minutes. Top with crushed red peppers to taste. Serve immediately.