When my dad moved to America, he set up shop in Queens, New York.
In a place notorious for its Korean population, one of the most nostalgic foods from our family trips to the city was the classic New York slice. Before we get too concerned, I promise I was a super cultured child taken to visit all the best Korean spots too.
With adulthood, social media, and the constant noise of health culture, I started to see pizza as an evil food instead of something that I got to really enjoy. And as with some of my favorite foods from childhood, it was now deemed “bad” and not permitted to be eaten except on very rare occasion. Comfort food can be a beautiful thing when it serves as a conduit for gathering and connection. Thinking back, I missed out on really experiencing things like pizza nights with college roommates and game days with family because of my unhealthy way of thinking.
Over time, I’ve found that making these types of comfort food myself has really helped with conquering the “good” vs. “bad” food mentality. This way, you can make nutritious versions of your favorite foods exactly how you like them and load on your preferred toppings. The choice is absolutely yours.
I’m not a deep dish kind of girl. Even though I’ve lived in Chicago my entire life, I find the first bite of a half-folded, perfectly crisp New York slice undeniably superior (sorry Chicago friends). It’s something that I’m always craving and haven’t had any luck finding here, so I thought it was about time to attempt it myself. The classic cheese will always be number one to me, but I wanted to take this nostalgic dish and put my own spin on it. One day, I’ll master the art of hand tossing that infamously thin crust, but the taste and texture of this dough is exactly what I remember.
Working with fresh dough is one of my favorite things about baking, because it forces you to be a little more intuitive. Since the yeast is alive, your dough will change with elements such as the humidity and temperature. With practice, I’ve started to learn things like signs that the dough is ready and how to properly shape it to get the best end product. You can also always go to your local pizzeria and buy dough, but for me, it’s so much more enjoyable to make it from scratch.
When shaping your pizza, make sure you stretch it a little thinner than you want it to come out, because it’ll puff up in the oven. The secret to the perfect pizza is an extremely hot pizza stone, which produces a crust that’s crispy on the outside and airy and soft on the inside. You can also use a pizza pan, but investing in one of these stones makes all the difference in your final dish.
For the pizza topping, I decided to go for a spiced chickpea and kale. While curried chickpeas may seem like an outlandish choice, the deep flavor that comes from the combination of sweet and savory spices in a curry powder pairs perfectly with the earthy and acidic combination of kale and tomato. When topping your dough, make sure not to go too heavy with this mixture. Otherwise, the pizza will come out soggy.
In addition to the chickpea mixture, I topped mine with baby bella mushrooms, more kale, and a few oven roasted cherry tomatoes, but you can use any fresh vegetables or herbs you’d like!
Spiced Chickpea and Kale Pizza
Takes , Serves 8.
Chickpea and Kale Topping
- In a stand mixer, sift flour then add yeast, salt, and sugar. Stir with paddle attachment until ingredients are fully incorporated.*
- Pour warm water into flour mixture and mix until dough is formed. After flour is just incorporated, add olive oil.
- Switch attachment to dough hook and knead for 10 minutes until dough is soft and elastic. Alternatively, you could knead the dough by hand.
- Divide dough into four equal pieces and shape each piece into a ball. Place each ball into a well oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let the dough rise in the fridge for about 12-24 hours.
- After 12-24 hours, preheat oven to 500°F. Set a pizza stone in the oven while it’s preheating.**
- In a large saucepan, add peeled tomatoes, tomato paste, minced garlic, salt, sugar, and spices. Stir constantly over medium heat until sauce begins to boil. At this point, lower the heat and simmer for 45 minutes, stirring often.
- Add kale and rinsed chickpeas to tomato mixture and continue simmering for an additional 10 minutes.
- Remove dough from fridge. On a lightly floured surface, stretch dough into 12-inch circle. Make sure not to add too much flour to the dough as you're shaping. This will produce a tough pizza crust.
- Transfer shaped pizza dough onto hot pizza stone and add desired amount of chickpea mixture.
- Bake in the oven for about 4-6 minutes, turning the pizza 180° halfway through for even cooking.
* A large mixing bowl and whisk will work as well.
** You can also use a pizza pan, but I’ve found using a pizza stone produces a significantly better result.