Sunday, July 29, 2007

Pizza! The Zen of 'Za

Pizza is one of those scrump-deli-icious pleasures of life that no-one should have to bypass. My son, little sensory-seeking child that he is, always liked pizza, even as a toddler. Fortunately for us, I think it was the tomato sauce he liked. Crust and cheese were ok, but secondary to the experience for him.

One of the first GFCF meals I wanted to recreate for the Little Prince was pizza. This is not as hard as it sounds. Basically all you need is a GFCF pizza crust, some pasta sauce, and a cheese substitute and you’ve got, Pizza GFCF Mamma Mia Style!

Ready-made Pasta Sauces
For the sake of convenience, you can find many GFCF ready-made pasta sauces at your regular grocery. But remember GFCF Mommy’s Golden rule, read the label. Some brands I use often are Newman’s Own Cabernet Marinara and Newman’s Own Sockarooni which includes some vegetables (you may want to run it through the food processor before putting it on your pizza if your child is sensitive to chunky textures.) Muir Glen has some excellent organic pasta sauces. Several Prego and Classico are GFCF, but you need to make sure they do not have some cheese mixed in. Even if “cheese” is not in the style name, it may be an ingredient, so be sure to check.

Pizza Crusts
Crusts are a bit more complicated and a matter of personal taste. I would recommend buying ready-made ones at first and later maybe experimenting with mixes.

Thin and crispy: Ener-G has 6” and 10” rice based and yeast free pizza crusts that come in packages of 3. They are not cheap, but they are good. Glutino, Kinnikinnick, and The Gluten Free Pantry also have individual pizzas that are thin, crispy, and rice-based. (See GFCF food company sidebar at right for links). Here's an "out of the box" idea I have also used: corn tortillas or Food for Life rice tortillas as crust. Just lightly toast the tortilla and top with sauce and substitute cheese. It's kind of a "nacho pizza" and my son loves it too. Kids who like crunch may enjoy this idea.

Thick and chewy: For ready-made thick and chewy crusts, I have to purchase from local bakeries that offer GFCF items. For those in South Florida, check the Florida resource list at right. Some Whole Foods stores now carry ready-made GF bakery items in their stores, but they are not always CF. You can also use mixes to make nice thick and chewy crusts in a large 10-12 inch size that the whole family can enjoy. The Gluten Free Pantry has a very nice Country French Bread and Pizza Mix. Namaste has a mix too, but I have not tried it yet.

Cheese Substitutes:
If your child can tolerate soy, both Tofutti and Follow-your-Heart brands have a soft mozzarella that you just grate and they melt very nicely. Galaxy Foods has a new vegan rice cheese that is a bit stiffer, but still melts. Golden Rule again, not all Galaxy cheeses are CF, though they are all lactose-free.

In the photo above, I used a millet-based thick crust from a local bakery, Muir Glen Cabernet Marinera, and Follow-your-Heart Cheese.

The hard part is the shopping. The rest is easy! Thaw your crust, if it has been frozen. Top with sauce, cheese substitute, any other toppings and bake at 425 for about 15 minutes until cheese is melted.

1 comment:

ChristinaL30 said...

Great post! Pizza was the staple of our 8-y-o son's diet until we started GFCF this June. He's been in withdrawal since (we all have, actually), and I've been telling the kids they just can't have pizza anymore, period. It would be so nice to have a legal, good-tasting pizza!
One note, though: Tofutti does not certify that their items are GF, because their suppliers don't certify as GF. :( Maybe with enough requests, they will make that a priority, but I'd hate for anyone to accidentally have an infraction on this.