Individual Crispy “Loaded” Pizza

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Pizza is a universal crowd-pleaser, and part of its charm is the doughy bed it rests on, along with gooey, wonderful cheese. You’ll get no argument from me. I love pizza. But not all pizzas are created equally. This pizza is loaded with cheese, mushrooms, sausage, and peperoncini, but not calories. So for watching your weight, this pizza is a delicious solution. It’s meaty, yet amazingly low in fat. You’ll love the crust’s wholesome taste.


Makes 6 servings

3/4 cup warm (110°F) water

1/2 teaspoon molasses

1 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 3/4 cups whole wheat flour, plus additional for rolling and kneading

Nonstick olive oil spray

1 tablespoon cornmeal

3/4 cup low-fat store-bought marinara sauce, such as Trader Joe’s

1 1/2 cups shredded reduced-fat mozzarella cheese, such as Weight Watchers

2 tablespoons grated Parmigian-Reggiano

1/2 cup torn fresh basil leaves

6 medium (about 4 ounces) cremini mushrooms, thinly sliced (about 2 cups)

8 ounces low-fat turkey sausage, such as Butterball, crumbled and cooked (about 1 1/ 3 cups)

6 whole bottled peperoncini, such as B & G, stems removed and cut into 1/4-inch slices

1 1/2 cups shredded reduced-fat mozzarella cheese, such as Weight Watchers

2 tablespoons grated Parmigiano-Reggiano

  1. Step 1

    1. Stir the water and molasses together in a large bowl until the molasses is dissolved. Sprinkle the yeast over the water, and let stand in a warm place until foamy, about 10 minutes.

    Step 2

    2. Stir the salt into the yeast mixture; then stir in the 1 3/4 cups flour until the dough starts to come together. Scrape this rough dough out onto a work surface that has been sprinkled lightly with flour. Knead the dough until it becomes smooth and pulls back when you stretch it, about 5 minutes. If necessary, add just enough flour as you knead to keep the dough from sticking to your hands and the work surface. Make a neat round out of the dough and place it in a large bowl that has been sprayed with the olive oil spray. Cover the bowl loosely with a clean kitchen towel. Let the dough sit in a warm place until it has doubled in size, about 1 hour.

    Step 3

    3. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Divide it into 6 equal wedges. Form each wedge into a tight ball by rolling it in the palm of your hand until the edges have rounded. Spray a baking sheet with olive oil spray. Arrange the dough balls a few inches apart on the prepared baking sheet. Cover them with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 45 minutes.

    Step 4

    4. With a rack in the center position, preheat the oven to 500°F or its highest setting. (Remove any other racks or position them below the center rack. This will make it easier to slide the pizzas onto the stone and remove them once they’re cooked.) Place a pizza stone on the rack and let it heat for 20 minutes.

    Step 5

    Dust a wooden pizza peel with the cornmeal. If you don’t have a pizza peel, dust a cookie sheet (Flat—no rims) with cornmeal. Lightly flour the work surface and roll one ball of the dough out with a rolling pin until it will not stretch any further. Drape the circle of dough over both of your fists so the edges of the dough barely overhand your knuckles and gently pull the edges outward while rotating the crust. Keep stretching and rotating the dough gently until the dough is about 9 inches in diameter. Don’t worry about a few small tears, they can be repaired once the dough is on the peel. Place the dough on the prepared peel. Prick the dough in about 8 places with a fork. Pinch together any little tears.

    Step 6

    SLide the dough onto the hot pizza stone in the oven, and bake until the dough is puffed and the underside is lightly browned, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove the dough and flip it bottom (browned) side up on your work surface. Repeat with the remaining balls of dough. When you’ve had some practice, you should be able to roll out and stretchi n one piece of dough while another is baking on the stone.

    Step 7

    Spread about 2 tablespoons of the marinara sauce onto each crust, leaving a 1/2 inch border. Scatter the basil over the sauce. Scatter the mushrooms, cooked sausage, and peperoncini evenly over the sauce. Mix the cheeses together in a bowl, and sprinkle 1/4 cup of the mixture over each pizza. One at a time, slide the pizzas back onto the pizza stone. Bake until the cheese is golden brown and bubbling and the crust is brown and crispy, 3 to 4 minutes. If your pizza stone is large enough, you may be able to bake the topped pizzas two at a time.

    Step 8

    Cut the pizzas into wedges, if desired, and serve.

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