Pizza is yet another of my guilty treats (there are so many…) and I, along with many of my friends, was really pleased by the recent opening of the Cornish Pizza Company in the village where I live. If you live in a large town or city you probably won’t appreciate this but when you live rurally quality take away food nearly always requires a substantial drive and the food is often cold by time you get it home.
But not everyone who enjoys pizza can get away with eating the wheat base – lots of people avoid wheat for medical reasons or because of a mild intolerance or indeed because they are on a low carb diet for weight loss.
So when I saw this cauliflower based pizza base I decided to try it out – if I can get a pizza hit and add to my 5 a day then it’s definitely worth experimenting.
The base is made from mashed cauliflower, grated mozzarella and basil, all bound together with some egg. Once baked it becomes firm and stable and the cheese browns nicely giving it that wonderful cooked cheese hit that you really want from a pizza. You can then add the topping of your choice as you would with any other base.
I have to say I loved this pizza – it was tasty and moreish but if it had a slight downside (very slight) it is that you really need to eat it with a knife and fork – the base is not quite stiff enough to be able to pick a slice up in your fingers without a laundry disaster.
The cauliflower base is so tasty that I am also going to make it again in tiny portions because I think it will make a really good vehicle for all sorts of dips or even as a canape base.
1 medium / large Cauliflower
250g Mozzarella – grated (don’t buy pre-grated if you can help it – it’s much less “rubbery” if you buy fresh and grate it yoursef)
2 Eggs – lightly whisked
A small handfull of basil leaves, shredded.
Whatever you like to put on your pizza! I used:
1 Red Onion – sauteed
3 or 4 Mushrooms – sliced and sauteed
Small Plum Tomatoes, halved.
10-12 Slices of Pepperoni
Some torn up, left over Mozzarella
A few torn Basil Leaves.
Makes 2 8″ / 20cm Pizzas
Pre-heat the oven to 200 C / 400 F / Gas Mark 6
Chop up the cauliflower and steam until just cooked. Set aside to cool and then grate into a sieve over a bowl. Squeeze out as much water as you can and discard the water. Put the cauliflower into the now dry bowl, add the grated mozzarella, the shredded basil leaves and the eggs and stir it all together.
Lightly grease a non-stick baking sheet (it really needs to be non-stick) – you may need two sheets. Spoon the cauliflower mixture into two piles on the sheet(s) and flatten into rough circles approximately 8″ / 20cm in diameter and 1/4 ” / 5mm deep. If you want to be neater you can use the outer ring of a springform cake tin as a guide.
Place the tray(s) in the top of the oven for 12 – 15 minutes. I like the crispy bits round the edge that come from longer cooking – if you do too keep an eye on it after 12 mins and leave it until it looks brown and bubbly.
Remove the pizza bases from the oven and add the topping of your choice. You can use a traditional tomato sauce but I like the freshness that comes from lightly roasted fresh tomatoes – particularly in the summer when they are home grown.
Return to the oven for 5 minutes until the topping is heated through and any cheese is melting nicely. Serve with a green salad.
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