Food

This vegetarian pizza with fennel, sundried tomatoes and olives is entertaining-worthy

Good thing it’s party-sized.

Good thing it’s party-sized

(Photo: David Bagosy, Styling: Melissa Direnzo)

If you piled all of your favourite antipasto elements onto a piece of bread and then into your mouth for a very satisfying bite, you’d be close to imagining what this pizza tastes like. With fennel, sundried tomatoes and olives nestled into a simple, yet from-scratch sauce and dough, this is an entertaining-worthy pizza. Good thing it’s party-sized.

Party Pizza with Fennel, Sundried Tomatoes and Olives

By Josie Malevich

Sundried tomatoes and black olives give this vegetarian pizza with thinly sliced fennel lots of umami flavour. You can use store bought pizza if desired. Finish with arugula before serving.

Ingredients

Pizza Dough:

  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 cup warm water, divided
  • 1 pkg (8 g) active dry yeast
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 ½ to 2 ¾ cups all-purpose flour (unbleached)

Pizza:

  • ⅓ cup strained and pureed tomatoes (passata)
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 2 tbsp olive oil, divided
  • 3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • ¼ tsp salt, divided
  • ¼ tsp pepper, divided
  • ½ cup halved and pitted sundried black olives
  • ⅓ cup finely chopped sundried tomatoes
  • 4 tsp finely chopped fresh thyme
  • 8 oz fresh mozzarella, thinly sliced
  • ¼ red onion, thinly sliced
  • ½ bulb fennel, thinly sliced
  • ¼ tsp hot pepper flakes
  • 1 tbsp torn fennel fronds, for garnishing (optional)

Preparation

Pizza Dough:

Add the sugar to 1/2 cup of warm water and stir, then stir in the yeast. Let the mixture stand for 10 minutes or until it gets foamy.  

Combine the remaining warm water, salt and oil in a large bowl. Stir in the yeast mixture and 2 1/2 cups of flour. Stir together until a shaggy dough starts to form. Remove the dough from the bowl and knead it until it becomes smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes. If dough is too sticky, add the remaining flour.

Place the dough in an oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let stand a room temperature or in a warm place until it has doubled in volume, about 60 to 90 minutes. Alternatively, refrigerate the dough and let it rise overnight (a slower rise like this results in better flavour).

Discard the plastic wrap and punch down the dough. On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough out to fit 18 x 13-inch baking sheet. Place dough onto a lightly floured baking sheet and stretch to fit. Alternatively cut dough in half and roll and fit into two 12-inch pizza pans. Let stand for 20 minutes.  

Pizza:

Preheat oven to 450F degrees.  

Make the pizza sauce: Stir together the tomatoes, tomato paste, 1 tablespoon of oil, garlic and a pinch each of salt and pepper.

Spread the pizza sauce over the dough, leaving a 1/2-inch border around the edges. Scatter sundried tomatoes, olives and thyme over top.  Top with mozzarella slices. Scatter the red onion and fennel slices over top. Drizzle with the remaining oil. Sprinkle with hot pepper flakes, and the remaining each salt and pepper.

Bake until the crust is golden brown and the cheese is bubbling, about 15 to 20 minutes. Garnish with fennel fronds if using.

Servings: 1 party pizza or 8 servings

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