I first had this amazing pizza at Ubuntu in Napa while Jeremy Fox was the executive chef. He was gracious enough to share the recipe with GQ Magazine, and a Rose family tradition was born. My husband claims this is the best pizza he’s ever had, anywhere, and while he knows enough to flatter the cook well and often, I have to agree with him. A chewy crust is topped with a slow-cooked strawberry sofrito, mozzarella style cheese shreds, and torn basil. Ubuntu’s version is made with mozzarella and Burrata cheese, but my vegan version is every bit as tasty. You can find Daiya mozzarella style shreds near the tofu at most grocery stores. If you don’t have the patience or time for handmade dough, purchased dough from your local pizzeria or Whole Foods works fine, too. You will get the best results using a perforated, non-stick pizza pan placed atop a ceramic pizza stone that has been heated in the oven at 500 F for one hour.
Strawberry Sofrito Sauce
2 medium white onions, diced
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/3 cup pine nuts
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup canned, crushed San Marzano tomatoes
1 1/2 pints fresh strawberries, sliced or 2 cups frozen strawberries, sliced
1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
-Sweat the onions gently with the olive oil, pine nuts, and kosher salt in a non-reactive lidded pot over medium heat. When the onions are translucent, add the tomatoes and strawberries and simmer until the mixture thickens, about 2 hours.
-Add the balsamic vinegar and continue to cook for 30 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
Pizza dough (see recipe below)
Strawberry sofrito sauce (see recipe above)
Daiya mozzarella style shreds
Basil leaves, torn
-Preheat a pizza stone in the oven on 500 F for one hour.
-Stretch pizza dough to desired size and thickness and place onto a perforated, non-stick pizza pan. Top with strawberry sofrito sauce and Daiya mozzarella style shreds.
-Bake for 5 to 10 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown and the cheese has melted.
-Top with torn basil leaves and serve immediately.
Overnight Pizza Dough
1 cup lukewarm water (110 F to 115 F)
1 envelope dry yeast, divided
1 cup all purpose flour, divided
1 1/2 cups lukewarm water
2 teaspoons fine sea salt
1 envelope active dry yeast
5 1/4 cups (or more) all purpose flour
3/4 cup vital wheat gluten
-Place 1 cup lukewarm water in large bowl of heavy duty-mixer. Sprinkle 1 teaspoon yeast (reserve remaining yeast for dough) and 1/4 teaspoon flour over water. Let stand until yeast dissolves and mixture looks spongy, about 4 minutes. Add remaining flour and whisk until smooth; scrape down sides of bowl. Cover bowl with plastic wrap. Let sponge rest at room temperature in a draft-free area overnight (about 12 hours; sponge will look bubbly).
-Add 1 1/2 cups lukewarm water, 2 teaspoons salt, 1 envelope yeast, and reserved remaining yeast to sponge, then add vital wheat gluten and 5 1/4 cups flour, 1 cup at a time, beating with dough hook to blend after each addition. Continue to beat until dough is smooth, comes cleanly away from sides of bowl, and is only slightly sticky to touch, scraping down bowl occasionally, about 5 minutes. If dough is very sticky, beat in more flour, 1/4 cupful at a time. Scrape dough onto floured surface; knead into a smooth ball.
-Brush inside of a large bowl with oil. Add dough; turn to coat with oil. Cover bowl with plastic wrap; chill 6 hours, kneading dough down when doubled (after 2 hours).
-About 1 1/2 hours before baking, dust 2 backing sheets with flour. Turn dough onto floured surface. Knead gently; shape into a 16-inch log. Cut into 8 equal pieces. Knead each piece into a smooth ball. Arrange 4 balls on each cookie sheet and cover with plastic wrap.