half and half whole wheat pizzaIt’s like that Louis Armstrong Tomato-Tomahto song.  I love basil pesto but he loves marinara with pineapple.  What’s a couple to do?

But then … ah, the tie that binds: we both love homemade, whole-wheat pizza crust!

Here’s how I make mine way out here in Pacific ocean.  I’ve got a few substitutes I’ll share as well.  Oh, and in regards to the whole wheat, one caveat will ease my conscience: This is not a low-fat-low-carb-pizza-recipe-to-help-you-justify-your-food-choices-and-make-you-blame-poor-calibration-on-your-scale-come-Monday-because-after-all-you-ate-really-really-healthy….

But it is delicious!

Half-and-Half Whole Wheat Pizza
(makes a 15-inch pizza)

Pizza Crust:
1 3/4 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup white flour*
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon instant dry yeast
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 cup warm water
1 to 3 tablespoons warm water

* why the white flour in a whole-wheat recipe?  I’ve tinkered with this for years, and a 100% whole wheat crust just seems too heavy.  It lacks that airiness and texture that adding white flour brings.  That said, you can certainly give the 100% method a try — you might even prefer it!

Preheat oven to 177 degrees Celsius (350 Degrees Fahrenheit)

Mix flour and salt together in bowl.
In separate bowl, mix sugar, yeast and cup of warm water. Stir with clean spoon and let sit until foaming.
Add yeast liquid to flour bowl, add 3 tablespoons olive oil and stir well. Stir in 1 to 3 tablespoons more warm water until dough is moistened enough to be kneaded into a ball.
Knead dough until elastic (about a minute) and then roll dough in olive oil until the dough’s surface is thinly coated.
Cover and let rise in a warm place for about 30 minutes.
Roll out dough into a 15-inch circle and form it onto your baking sheet.
Use excess dough to build up the crust along the sides.
Cover again and let rise at least 10 minutes; if you prefer thicker crust, let rise for a longer period of time.
Use a fork to poke holes around the surface of the pizza and coat the crust and base with a thin layer olive oil.
Place pizza in oven and let bake for about 10 minutes. (This makes the crust a little crispier, which I prefer.)
Remove from oven and add toppings.
Place back in oven and bake until ready, about 30 minutes.

(I like to use the broiler to sear the cheese and salami on top just a tad, so right before I take the pizza out of the oven, I’ll turn on the broiler and let it cook for another minute or two, rotating two or three times to keep the crust from burning.)

Now, on to the toppings!
As noted previously, there are two toppings at play. One is a basil pesto and shrimp (a/k/a, The Far Superior Choice) and the other side is an Italian salami with pineapple and marinara.

Let’s start with the sauces.

Basil Pesto Sauce

Note: most people put pine nuts in their pesto, and in the absence of pine nuts, toasted nuts such as almonds or cashews can be substituted.  But I don’t have pine nuts and honestly, I like the pesto just as much sans any of that, so below are the ingredients I use.

2 cups whole-leaf basil
pinch of salt
ground peppercorns
2 large cloves of garlic
5 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon grated Parmesanbasil pesto and marinara pizza sauces

Blend above together in pestle or food processor of your choice until ingredients form a paste.

Marinara Sauce

1 8-ounce can of pureed tomatoes
oregano, salt, pepper and garlic powder to taste (add a pinch of sugar if desired)

Stir together until spices are blended.
I use about half of the marina sauce on this pizza, and store the other half in an airtight container in the fridge for future use.

Toppings:

For both sides:
3 cups (yes, three cups!!!) grated mozzarella cheese
1 cup shrimp

For basil pesto side:
Note: Feta cheese goes amazingly well with pesto, but I can’t usually get that here. So, I’ve discovered a neat substitute: sliced green olives! They obviously don’t taste just like feta, but the green olives offer a similar sharp taste that contrasts well with the round, fragrant flavor of the basil pesto.

1/2 cup sliced green bell pepper
1 small tomato, thinly sliced
1 and a half quartered artichoke hearts
sliced mushrooms
halved black olives
sliced green olives

For marinara side:

1/3 cup pineapple chunks
8 slices of Italian salami

Half-and-Half Toppings Directions:

Spread basil pesto on one side and marinara on the other.  As you can see, I like to push the pesto sauce up on to the crust a bit!

Marina Side: Add the pineapple chunks

Basil Pesto Side: Add the bell peppers, artichoke hearts, mushrooms, black and green olives.pre cheese toppings

On both sides: add the shrimp (if your marinara-eater doesn’t care for shrimp, skip it altogether, but it does make a tasty addition!).  Sprinkle both sides evenly with the mozzarella cheese.

Then, on marina Side: add the Italian salami

On the pesto Side: add the thinly sliced tomatoes.post cheese toppings

Your post-cheese pizza will look something like this:

And … bake!

I bake my loaded pizza for about 30 minutes, as indicated in the pizza crust instructions above.

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