Salad and Prosciutto Pizza

Salad and Prosciutto Pizza is a sauceless pizza that is a refreshing complete meal.

Salad and Prosciutto Pizza
(Adapted from recipe courtesy of Bonappetit.com, February 2018)

Serves 4

1 lb. pizza dough (The Best Pizza Dough or store bought, at room temperature)
3 Tbsp plus 2/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
3 garlic gloves, finely grated
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 large head of Bibb lettuce, leaves separated and torn
6 oz. Gorgonzola crumbles (about 2 cups)
1/4 cup pickled red onions
3 Tbsp sliced chives
1/3 cup red wine vinegar
2 tsp sugar
4 oz. thinly sliced prosciutto

Preheat oven and baking stone or baking steel to 475F on a convection setting, if possible.

Mix garlic and 2 tablespoons of oil in a small bowl.

Divide dough in half. Roll out half of the dough on a floured surface. Transfer to a cornmeal dusted peel or cutting board. Brush the dough with half of the garlic-oil mixture. Season with salt and pepper. Dot with a quarter of the gorgonzola crumbles. Bake for 10 – 12 minutes until the golden, puffed, and crisp all over. Repeat with the other half of the dough. Allow to cool before topping with salad so the lettuce doesn’t wilt.

Toss lettuce, remaining cup of Gorgonzola, pickled onion, and chives in a large bowl; season with salt and pepper. Whisk vinegar and sugar in another small bowl, then, whisking constantly, gradually stream in the remaining 2/3 cup of oil. Pour dressing over salad and toss to coat. Arrange salad on top of pizza crusts and drape with prosciutto. Slice into squares and serve.

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Pesto, Red Pepper, Onion, Goat Cheese and Mortadella Pizza

Pesto, Red Pepper, Onion, Goat Cheese and Mortadella Pizza is another pizza without a tomato-based sauce. A thin spread of pesto serves as the sauce.

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Pesto, Red Pepper, Onion, Goat Cheese and Mortadella Pizza
(Mark Kelly, 2014)

1 cup basil pesto
1 red pepper, stemmed, seeded and sliced lengthwise into 1/4-inch-wide strip
1/2 large yellow onion, halved and then sliced thin
8 oz. fresh goat cheese
6 oz. shredded part-skim mozzarella
4 thin slices mortadella
Pizza Dough (See previous post titled “The Best Pizza Dough”)
Extra-virgin olive oil

Saute the pepper and onion in a large skillet over medium heat until the vegetables are just softened.

Place baking stone or baking steel in the oven and preheat the oven to 500F.

On a flour-dusted cutting board, roll out the pizza dough and brush the edges generously with oil. Spread the pesto over the entire dough to within 1/2-inch of the edge. Layer the sauteed vegetables over the pesto. Place the sliced mortadella on the pizza overlapping them slightly, if necessary. Top with crumbled goat cheese and the shredded mozzarella.

Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, or until the cheese is bubbly and beginning to brown. Allow to cool for a few minutes before cutting and serving.

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Mushroom – Prosciutto Pizza with Fontina

Mushroom – Prosciutto Pizza with Fontina is a sauceless pizza that relies on the sweet-salty Fontina cheese and the rich sauteed mushrooms for flavor. The absence of a sauce allows the bottom of the crust to get extra-crispy as some of the cheese works its way into the dough.

Small amounts of cooked sausage or pepperoni can be used in place of the prosciutto and almost any semi-soft cheese can be used in place of the Fontina. For another variation substitute basil for the parsley.

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Mushroom – Prosciutto Pizza with Fontina
(Mark Kelly – 2014)

16 ounces button mushrooms, thinly sliced
8 ounces Shitake mushrooms, thinly sliced
5 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
2 Tbsp flat-leaf parsley roughly chopped
1/2 cup dry white wine at room temperature
6 ounces thinly sliced prosciutto, cut into 1/2″-wide by 2″-long strips
12 ounces coarsely grated Fontina cheese
2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper

The Best Pizza Dough (Two – 12″ – 14″ diameter)
(See previous Ample Bites post “The Best Pizza Dough” for recipe)

Preheat oven and baking stone or baking steel to 500F.

In a large skillet over medium heat bring 2 tablespoons of oil to a shimmer. Add the mushrooms and cook until the release their liquid, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add the wine and season with salt and pepper. Cook until the liquid is evaporated. Add the parsley and toss for about a minute. Remove from heat.

Brush the outside 3/4″ of each pizza dough with oil. Spread half of the grated Fontina on each dough, divide the prosciutto between the doughs and then top each with half of the mushroom mixture. Drizzle the prepared doughs with olive oil just before moving each to the oven. Bake the pizzas for 10 minutes. Allow to cool for 5 minutes before serving.

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The Process of Making Homemade Pizza

Making homemade pizza from scratch is a process that requires planning, preparation, patience and a good deal of counter space. The outcome of this process is a savory meal that you can customize to your tastes and a house that smells like a pizzeria for 10 or 12 hours.

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The most important element of the homemade pizza is the dough. The dough is also the thing that yields that pizzeria smell. Making the dough is easy if you have the right ingredients. For the recipe, see the earlier post titled The Best Pizza Dough. The two key ingredients are the Farina 00 flour and the yeast. The dough is mixed and kneaded and placed in a bowl coated with cooking spray about 1 – 2 hours before the first pizza goes into the oven. You can mix the dough by hand (a very sticky proposition) or use a KitchenAid tabletop mixer (my preferred method). Leave the dough in a warm spot to rise until ready.

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While the dough is rising I prepare my ingredients like Italian sausage, caramelized onions, and roasted red peppers. I also chop any uncooked toppings such as raw onion, green olives, garlic, spinach and basil. I gather any spices I plan to use such as oregano, cracked red pepper, fennel seed and black pepper. I then grate or slice any cheeses I plan to use for toppings. Finally, I pour some extra-virgin olive oil into a bowl. This oil will be used to brush the dough edges to produce brown and crisp outer crust.

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About 30 minutes before I plan to start baking my first pizza I set a rack at the very bottom of the oven, place a pizza stone on the rack, and preheat the oven to 550F. As the oven heats up, I cover a large cutting board with a thin coating of all-purpose flour. This will be the surface used for rolling the dough pieces flat. I also prepare my pizza peel, a large flat wooden paddle used for transferring the prepared pizzas to the pizza stone, by dusting it with a thin coating of yellow cornmeal. The cornmeal will allow the pizzas to slide smoothly into the oven without sticking.

I then divide the dough into pieces and cover them with a dry towel to keep them warm until they are rolled. The first dough is moved to the flour-coated board. Using a pastry brush, I coat the dough thinly with olive oil. Then, I use a large spoon to ladle and spread pizza sauce evenly over the dough. Now it is time to add the toppings, spices and, finally, the cheese. Once the pizza is dressed, into the oven it goes for 10 to 12 minutes or until the crust is brown and crispy and the cheese is bubbling and beginning to brown.

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As soon as the first pizza goes into the oven the next dough is rolled and the preparation process continues. If I am preparing four “personal-sized” pizzas the baking process will take just under an hour.

If you follow this simple, organized approach you, too, can treat your friends and family to delicious homemade pizza that they will rave about.

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