Once upon a time, my dad served an LDS mission to Spain. While he was there, he discovered several “new” ingredients — mostly fresh ones, like prosciutto ham and garlic, as two examples.
Then, many years later, he discovered two Italian importing companies/delis in Utah: Granato’s and Caputo’s. He discovered that you could get really good prosciutto ham, fresh mozzarella cheese, kalamata olives, balsamic vinegar and fresh baguettes there.
He would buy these ingredients, bring them home, acquire fresh basil and fresh Roma tomatoes, and we would have sandwiches! I have loved these all my life.
To make a long story short, my diagnoses of Celiac Disease and other food allergies (especially dairy) have made it so I can no longer order caprese salads and sandwiches. That hasn’t stopped me from trying to find an acceptable substitute, though.
Another thing I had to give up when I found out about my food allergies was the classic pizza. There are many companies that make a decent gluten-free pizza crust mix. There are even pizzerias that are starting to figure out how to serve gluten-free pizzas in their restaurants (despite them being VERY expensive, in most cases), but CHEESE as a main ingredient makes it moot.
I had one such mix floating around in my pantry from before my food allergy diagnoses.
I decided to use it instead of just watching it stare at me, mocking me for the gooey cheese that I can no longer eat without getting sick. It would not defeat me.
I’ve never cared much for marinara sauce, and usually substituted it with some kind of alfredo sauce. That doesn’t work anymore, so I decided to try pesto. Many restaurants put pesto on pizza. Why not me? (I used the pesto recipe in The Gluten-Free Vegan, but you can use any pesto recipe that you love.)
So far, so good. Then I added fresh Roma tomatoes…
…and baked it. For this crust, you add toppings before you bake, and it results in a very bread-y pizza. After the main baking was done, I added…
…fresh prosciutto ham (which I acquired at Costco). It’s a very, very delicate meat, so I only put it back in the oven for another 3-5 minutes.
Those who can eat dairy and wanted to, added a bit of fresh mozzarella cheese (also obtained at Costco).
That pizza is really, really, really, really good in and of itself, but if you want that extra touch, you add some of this liquid goodness: Balsamic vinegar.
When I drizzled it over the pizza, it sort of bounced off the prosciutto ham, went onto the plate, and soaked into the bottom of the crust, which was the perfect touch.
Success! Caprese is back in my life, minus the mozzarella. Though I really miss fresh mozzarella, it was heavenly even without it.
I had enough ingredients left over from making it the first time around that all I had to do was buy another crust (this time from the Namaste brand), and we had another caprese pizza. It was amazing.
We ended up liking the Namaste brand crust better, anyway. It has some Italian seasoning in it, and it’s much less bread-y. It’s baked before any toppings are put on, so it’s more crunchy and resembles a “normal” pizza crust. The second time, we didn’t bake the prosciutto at all, and I liked it even more.
While the ingredients are definitely more expensive than regular pizza ingredients, even when purchased from Costco, the pizza was amazing, and worth every penny. My dad has purchased fresh basil plants, and I’m sure that when they get bigger, we’ll be having this pizza again. Can’t wait!