You know the adolescent expression, “If you like it so much—why don’t you marry it?” That’s how I feel about pizza. Even bad pizza is good pizza—which makes good pizza really freakin’ good pizza.
Seriously. Have you ever met a savory, foldable, unapologetically cheesy slice that you haven’t wanted to fall in love with? I didn’t think so.
In the past thirty-two years, I feel as though my refinement in the field of pizza has been elevated from elementary to nearly obtaining my Marinara Masters. My first memories of this Italian-oriented dish were as a twelve-year-old at a friend’s house ordering it delivery-style from a major chain. Notorious for their pan-style pies, each triangle’s interior was bready and thick—while the rounded end of the buttery crust was adorned with a lacy, crispy layer of crunchified cheese. Throughout college, pizza became the reliable, always-available, always-ready-to-party friend that my roommate and I depended on. In my mid-twenties I lived directly under the Hollywood sign in Los Angeles, and just down the street was the eclectic Oaks Gourmet Market. Their far-flung menu featured an extensive pizza roster and I went gaga over the impressive mashup of toppings: pineapple caramelized onion ragout; smoked cheddar; garlic ricotta sauce.
Although I loved every sinfully gooey morsel down to the crust, I’ve always known that the “healthy” factor of this pepperoni-provoked obsession wasn’t ideal.
Nowadays, I adore crafting pizzas in my own kitchen from the dough up. I’m fascinated with all the different vehicles—naan bread, pita, eggplant—that can act as a foundation. Attempting to keep a healthier régime though (not to mention having a mom who lives a wheat-free lifestyle), I’m always on the hunt for products that deliver on a gluten free level and most importantly—that are actually authentically delicious. If you’ve stepped foot into the ring of the gluten free game, you know that many of the rice and corn-based products that line the shelves taste more like cardboard than edible ingredients. So when I stumbled upon Manini’s wholesome, fiber-rich par-baked pizza crust that not only crisped and crunched like standard starchy pizza dough, but alas! (yep, I said alas) packed an invigorating punch of nutrition—I had found “the one.” Thanks to naturally gluten free and nutrient-dense ancient grains like amaranth, teff, sorghum, and millet—the flavor is earthy and nutty and each sturdy slice holds up like a champ.
I do live in a beach town, after all, so it’s not unusual for my mom to visit often. I like to keep things she can eat on-hand and lucky for me—she digs pizza just as much as I do. Manini’s par-baked crust serves as a solid bottom, delivers a righteous crunch, and offers a mouthful of nourishing components every glorious bite. With the aid of a superior bottom, I no longer have to scour the stores for something to satisfy my mom’s picky palate. I also don’t feel as bad coating these divine pies with gourmet goodies like funky taleggio cheese and spicy herb oil. I can even sneak in a luxuriously creamy, uber decadent béchamel sauce (made with Manini’s Multi-Purpose Flour).
Seriously. Have you ever met a gluten free pizza crust made up of plants that essentially haven’t been changed in hundreds of years? I didn’t think so.
Talk about taking a bite out of history. Check out my recipe below featuring Manini’s gluten free par-baked crust for Wild Mushroom + Taleggio Pizza with Fontina Béchamel & Spicy Tarragon Oil.
About the Author:
Fanny Slater is a home-taught food enthusiast with a passion for storytelling and licking the plate. She recently won Rachael Ray’s Great American Cookbook Competition, has become a regular guest on The Rachael Ray Show, and has been featured in Every Day with Rachael Ray Magazine. She shoots playful cooking videos for recipe development partners and tip segments for her local CBS station. Her company Fanfare specializes in recipe development, food writing, and sassy social media eats. Fanny cooks “comfort foods in a tuxedo”—eclectic twists on familiar favorites. Get your Fanny in the kitchen at FannySlater.com and @fannyslater