Celebrate this Valentine’s Day with a pink heart-shaped pizza. The crust gets its natural coloring from pureed beets blended into the dough. Load up the pizza with the toppings of your choice: mini pepperoni pieces cut into hearts, or baby vegetables that you use to spell words of romance. Or both!
For the pizza dough:
2 ½ cups bread flour, plus more for rolling
1 teaspoon sugar
1 1/8 teaspoons instant dry yeast
1 teaspoon kosher salt
¾ cup hot, but not boiling, water
½ cup pureed beets (about 1 large beet, roasted and peeled)
1 tablespoon, plus 2 teaspoons olive oil
For the pizza toppings:
1/3 cup prepared pesto
4 ounces fresh mozzarella, thinly sliced
pepperoni slices, cut into hearts
carrots, radishes, bell peppers, or veggies of your choice to garnish
Make the dough: Add the bread flour, sugar, yeast, and salt to the bowl of a stand mixer, and stir to combine. Fit the mixer with the dough hook. With the mixer running, stream in the water, beet puree, and 1 tablespoon of oil until the dough forms into a ball, and pulls away from the sides of the bowl. If the dough is too sticky, add more flour one tablespoon at a time, until it forms a smooth ball. Use a bench scraper to scrape the dough onto a floured surface. Knead the dough into a smooth, firm ball.
Brush a large bowl with the 2 teaspoons of oil, and place the dough ball inside. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap, and put the bowl in a warm place for an hour, to allow the dough to rise and double in size. A good place to put your dough is the inside of a slightly warmed oven. When the dough has risen, allow it to rest at room temperature for 10 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 550°F. Turn the rested dough onto a floured surface and use a floured rolling pin to roll the dough into a 10-inch circle. Carefully transfer the dough to a baking sheet lightly dusted with cornmeal or flour. Trim out the heart shape with a knife. Spread the pesto onto the dough, leaving a 1-inch border, and layer on slices of cheese, followed by pepperoni hearts. Cut your vegetables to spell “LOVE” and arrange on top of the pizza. Bake until the crust is cooked through, and the cheese is melted, 8-10 minutes. Sprinkle the pizza with microgreens if desired. Cut into slices and enjoy.