I’m calling this one “flatbread” just so I can pretend that I don’t eat pizza every other day. But really, who am I fooling? It’s a sauceless pizza.
The last issue of Bon Appétit that I got had an incredible-looking artichoke pizza on the cover and it’s been sitting on my coffee table staring me down night and day ever since. So, I finally broke down and made one myself. I added some Genoa salami to the pizza for a nice salty contrast (you can get this in either mild or spicy), some thinly sliced red onions, and a few pieces of smoked provolone. After topping the pizza I sprinkled on a hefty amount of crushed red pepper because, well, I like it hot.
What can I say? It was pizza perfection. Um. Erm. I mean flatbread perfection!
For the crust, I went the easy route and mixed up a batch of no-knead bread dough the night before. It was left to ferment at room temperature overnight, which gives a fantastic flavor. If you don’t have time for that or are just planning last minute, you can certainly use a basic pizza dough or even a store-bought dough (not the canned stuff though, that’s the worst).
The secret to keeping pizzas inexpensive, even when they have expensive toppings like salami, artichoke, or provolone, is to avoid using a heavy hand. It’s easy to go heavy with pizza toppings, but you’d be surprised at how little you really need to cover the surface of the dough. So keep it light, friends.
Spicy Italian Flatbread
- 2 cups all-purpose flour ($0.28)
- 1 tsp salt ($0.05)
- 1/4 tsp instant or bread machine yeast ($0.02)
- about 3/4 cup water ($0.00)
- 1/2 Tbsp cornmeal ($0.02)
- The night before, combine the flour, salt, and yeast in a large bowl. Add just enough water to form a shaggy, slightly sticky ball of dough, with no dry flour left on the bottom of the bowl. Loosely cover the dough and let it sit at room temperature for 12-18 hours.
- When you’re ready to make the pizza, preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Cover a baking sheet with aluminum foil and lightly mist it with non-stick spray. Sprinkle the cornmeal over the prepared baking sheet.
- Sprinkle a little flour over the fermented dough and on a clean work surface. Scrape the soft dough out of the bowl and gently knead it just a few times. Flatten the dough, then transfer it to the prepared baking sheet. Drizzle one tablespoon of olive oil onto the surface of the dough, then use your hands to spread and stretch it to cover the surface of the baking sheet. It doesn’t need to be perfect.
- After the dough is stretched, sprinkle the Italian seasoning over the surface. Thinly slice the red onion, salami, and provolone. Roughly chop the artichokes, if desired, or just break them up with your hands. Spread the onion, salami, provolone, and artichokes over the surface of the dough. Lastly, top with a generous sprinkle of crushed red pepper.
- Bake the flatbread in the fully preheated oven for 15-18 minutes, or until golden brown on the edges and the cheese is bubbled and browned. Cut into eight equal pieces and serve.
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How to Make Spicy Italian Flatbread – Step by Step Photos
To make an easy “no-knead” dough, begin the night before. Stir together two cups of all-purpose flour, 1 tsp salt, and 1/4 tsp of instant or bread machine yeast (not “active dry”). Add about 3/4 cup water, or just enough to form a shaggy, slightly sticky ball of dough with no dry flour left on the bottom of the bowl. The dough will be compact when first mixed, but as it rests over night it inflates into the soft, bubbly mess that you see above. Cover the dough loosely while it’s fermenting and let it go for about 12-18 hours (this is flexible).
When it’s time to make the pizza, begin to preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Cover a baking sheet with foil, then mist it lightly with non-stick spray. Sprinkle about 1/2 Tbsp of cornmeal over the baking sheet.
Lightly dust the dough in the bowl with flour, as well as a clean work surface. Scrape the dough out of the bowl (it will be soft and sticky) and gently knead it a few times. Flatten the dough into a disc, then transfer it to the prepared baking sheet. Pour about 1 Tbsp olive oil on the surface of the dough, then use your hands to press and stretch it out to cover the baking sheet. The oil will help you work with the dough without it sticking to your hands. Once stretched, sprinkle about 1 tsp of Italian seasoning blend over the surface of the dough.
For toppings, I used 1/4 of a red onion (thinly sliced), 1/2 of a 12-oz. jar of artichoke hearts, 3 slices of Genoa salami, and 3 slices of provolone cheese. What will I do with the leftovers of these ingredients? Honestly, probably make a second pizza… I mean FLAT BREAD. But they could also be used to top a big green Italian salad, a sandwich, or even to stuff an omelet. They won’t go to waste, that’s for sure.
Spread the toppings out over the flatbread, then top with a good dose of crushed red pepper (about 1/2 tsp). Instead of chopping the artichoke hearts, I just broke the pieces up with my hands.
Bake the flatbread for 15-18 minutes in the FULLY preheated oven, or until it’s golden brown on the edges and the cheese is nicely browned. And that’s it! Cut into 8 pieces and serve (and try not to eat all eight at once. It’s hard. I know the pain.)