Could this be the most delicious pizza in the world? Here’s private chef Kat Turner proudly showing a pizza while I gaze on lovingly, tempted by its sweet aromas, excited to taste a bite. Her pizza’s fresh out of the wood-burning oven here in Chicago, Illinois, home of the traditional deep-crust pizza, but currently nurturing a new breed of pizza pioneers.
Kat specializes in cooking food with an eye to special dietary needs, such as no dairy, no wheat or no nightshades. Her hand-kneaded pizza dough is sometimes made with traditional wheat, and other times made with a gluten-free flour blend, then topped with a robust combination of allergy-friendly ingredients.
First, she smeared it with her own ‘nomato’ sauce. It’s a special blend of beets, carrots, onions, celery, thyme, bay leaf, and a tiny bit of chicken stock to make it more robust. No tomato needed. Sometimes she makes it stronger flavored still by adding garlic and Italian herbs such as fresh parsley and oregano, but tonight it’s acting purely as a base for the other toppings.
First up, there’s a killer sage oil, made by heating minced garlic and fresh sage in a skillet, then adding oil and gently continuing to infuse the oil with flavor. After a while, Kat strains the sage and garlic, pressing them to release as much of the liquid as possible, then adds a little lemon juice and minced spinach to make a rich deep green color. A little goes a long way, so she painted the pizza with just a dab or two.
Next, we added some of the butternut squash and onion that I roasted and blogged about here. On top of that, Kat added a some nuggets of mozzarella and herb-rolled goat’s cheese, plus a few plump balsamic-glazed sliced mushrooms.
Then it went straight into the superhot oven… And you know what? I really do think it was the most delicious pizza in the world at that moment.
Photo by Kristin Burns