Pizza can be healthy and delicious if you follow these tips

The words "healthy" and "pizza" don't often go together, but as the popularity of Neapolitan or thin-crust style has shot up, you'll find more and more deliciously healthy options. And some tasty vegan and gluten-free choices, too.

So what does a pizzaiolo - or seasoned pizza maker - do to make their creations more healthy?

At Pizzana in Brentwood, the oven is nearing 675 degrees, and Daniele Uditi is the master pizzaiolo and chef running the show.

Uditi, who learned his craft growing up in Naples, Italy, brings his native Italian influences in, like the signature ancient grain blend of flour for his dough, regional tomatoes for sauce and Italian cheese. But he goes local for the rest.

"All of the other toppings -- the mushrooms, the artichokes, the leaves we use for salad; all of the ingredients I put on top of the pizza come directly from the farmer's market," Uditi said.

But it's the crust that's such a big draw here. A secret that many chefs fail to master.

It might just be the most important ticket: it's all in the dough. He calls it his "slow dough" because to get made, it actually has to rest and digest.

Uditi explained, "I ferment my dough for 48 hours. Everything is made by hand, there is no yeast involved in the process and everything is natural fermented. I want my guests to feel the lightness when they eat a pizza."

That's because dough, a combination of sugars and starch, needs time to ferment and break down.

Bacteria in your system can break these ingredients down much more easily if dough has had time to ferment.

Much of the bread or dough in America is processed quickly with ingredients that don't digest well, which is why many have issues.

His recipes make it easy to enjoy for those who feel they are carb-sensitive, although he also offers a true gluten-free version.

And something that vegans might appreciate? His cauliflower crema made for the funghi pizza. It's made with roasted cauliflower with onion, a bit of salt, pepper and olive oil and looks and tastes like a creamy cheese. He likens it to a bechamel sauce - yet it's vegan.

"I want them to feel free to come to the restaurant, enjoy pizza. And don't miss the cheese, don't miss the meat."

You'll find Pizzana restaurants in Brentwood and West Hollywood.
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