Spelt Pizza with Caramelized Onion, Artichokes and Chard

pizzawhole2.jpg Those of you who live in the GTA will be familiar with Il Fornello: the hip, alt-chic series of restaurants that seem to be able to satisfy all palates.  Besides fabulous pizza baked in wood-burning ovens, this contemporary Italian resto also provides a wide variety of dishes for those of us sensitive to wheat, gluten, or dairy. In other words, it’s the perfect weekday dinner out for me and my HH:  he gets to have the Chicken Asiago (chicken breast stuffed with spinach/asiago mix), while I get to have my alternative pizza. We eat, we enjoy, we laugh about how my dinner costs $6.85 and his is $42.50 (okay, well, I laugh).

For years, my favorite pizza at Il Fornello was the “make your own”:  start with a crust of your choice (in my case, spelt, of course), then add your pick of toppings from their list.  Despite my best intentions to break free of old habits, I inevitably choose the same old, same old, consisting of roasted garlic, hot peppers, kalamata olives, tomatoes, and either spinach or roasted eggplant.  If I’m really hungry, I’ll add some sliced onion or capers to the mix.

Finally, after staring at the list of crust ingredients just about every time I ate there for a few years, at least, I thought, “why don’t I just try to do this at home?”  It seemed eminently achievable, given that (a) it was spelt, my flour of choice; (b) there was no dreaded yeast in the crust; (c) it was thin-crust, my preference; and (d) sometimes, you just want to have pizza at home.

So I took the basic list of ingredients from the restaurant menu, omitted a couple (such as the millet, which just didn’t seem necessary), changed another (subbed agave for honey), then played with the proportions.  What I came up with was the following crust, ridiculously easy, totally yummy, and great for a pizza night when you’re snowed in at home. Because I’m basically a lazy cook (I may have mentioned that before), there’s no rolling or throwing into the air required.  Oh, and it’s also great for breakfast the next day.


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  1. That looks really tasty.

  2. imagineannie says:

    Oh. Yum. And I have some spelt in the freezer!!

  3. Sally,

    Thanks–it was! (Even for breakfast).

  4. Annie,

    Get that spelt out and start stirring–it’s sooo easy. I’ve made it with a regular tomato base, too, but I think I actually like this version more (though I suspect the greens might remind you too much of those “other” greens on buffet tables–limp and wet–so you might prefer to substitute something else there!) 😉

  5. Great sounding pizza. Is there anything I can use in place of agave nectar?

    Excellent resource!

  6. Don’t you use yeast or sourdough starter? I would like to use starter, how much? 1/4 cup? Or 1/2 cup

    • Hi Jojo,

      Sorry, I have no idea how much yeast or sourdough starter you’d use. . . I’ve never used those in my baking. I am not allowed to consume yeast on my diet.

  7. Thanks for the quick reply.
    I guess I will continue to use my ciabatta spelt sourdough bread recipe to make my spelt pizza crust with chia seeds and my starter….which is fairly light as I use light spelt, as opposed to whole spelt which contains the bran.

    You mentioned you are not allowed to use yeast, as are many folks….but you are allowed to use starter, which is made from flour and water and allowed to ferment.
    where I live in high altitude area starter is the only thing that will give me a decent rise.
    I too am not a yeast consumer as it is not natural IMHO.
    I suspect if you are sensitive to yeast, you probably should not use much bran either as it is very hard on the digestive system!?

    oh and Cndy, you can use honey or maple syrup instead of the Agave!

    • Thanks for all the great info–I will certainly look into it. 🙂 I actually don’t use any glutenous flours any longer–this recipe was posted in 2007, and I had to change my diet in March, 2009. And sorry, but who is Cndy?

      • Sorry, I meant Cindy(foolish typo) from an earlier comment above , june 7th 2009, I should have replied to her.
        Oh , and I use non gluten flour to make my starter..-:)

  8. hi i would love to try the recipe but without the flax seeds please

  9. Spelt is not gluten free. Don’t use it if you have celiac or a gluten sensitivity.

    • Hi Terri,
      That’s right: spelt is not gluten-free. This recipe was posted long before I went gluten-free, when I still ate spelt. The Recipe Index should indicate which recipes are not gluten-free. 🙂

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