I finally managed a restaurant-quality grilled pizza, y’all. I’ve been using the same dough recipe since last summer and I’ve tried a variety of different toppings, but this last one – Onion Pizza with Ricotta and Chard – is a real winner. If you want crisp yet chewy homemade crust and totally delicious (and pretty nutritious!) toppings, this one’s for you.
Basic Grilled Pizza Dough
Makes four 10-inch pizzas (1 pound dough total)
1 teaspoon sugar
1 packet (1/4 ounce) active dry yeast
2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for bowl and brushing
Coarse salt and ground pepper
2 1/4 cups bread flour or all-purpose flour, plus more for work surface
Pour 1 cup warm water into a medium bowl; add sugar and sprinkle with yeast. Let stand until foamy, 5 minutes.
Whisk oil and 1 teaspoon salt into yeast mixture. Add flour and stir with a wooden spoon until liquid is incorporated (dough will appear dry). Turn out onto a floured work surface. Knead until dough comes together in an elastic ball, 2 minutes. Transfer to an oiled medium bowl; brush lightly with oil. Cover bowl with plastic wrap; set in a warm, draft-free place until dough has doubled in bulk, 45 minutes. Punch down dough and cover; let rise another 30 minutes.
Turn out dough onto a lightly floured work surface. Divide into 4 equal pieces. (To store, refrigerate dough pieces, covered, up to 2 days, or freeze, up to 1 month.) Let rest 15 minutes before using.
Source: Everyday Food, July 2010
Onion, Ricotta, and Chard Pizza Toppings
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 1/4 pounds onions, sliced
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
2 garlic cloves, minced
Coarse salt and ground pepper
1/2 pound chard, stemmed, leaves washed (can substitute spinach, if desired)
3/4 cup ricotta (6 ounces)
2 ounces Parmesan, grated (1/2 cup, tightly packed)
Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a large, heavy skillet. Add the onions. Cook, stirring often, until tender and just beginning to color, about 10 minutes. Add the thyme, garlic, and a generous pinch of salt. Turn the heat to low, cover and cook another 10 to 20 minutes, stirring often, until the onions are golden brown and very sweet and soft. Remove from the heat and set aside.
While the onions are cooking, stem and wash the chard leaves, and bring a medium pot of water to a boil. Fill a medium bowl with ice water. When the water comes to a boil, salt generously and add the chard. Blanch for one to two minutes, just until the leaves are tender, and transfer to the ice water. Drain and squeeze out excess water. Alternatively, steam the chard for two to three minutes until wilted, and rinse with cold water. Chop the chard medium-fine. Combine the ricotta, chard, and Parmesan in a medium bowl and set aside.
Make ahead note: The cooked onions and the blanched or steamed chard will keep for three or four days in the refrigerator.
Source: The New York Times
To assemble pizzas:
Heat grill: Set up a grill with heat source, coals or gas, on one side over medium-high. Clean and lightly oil hot grill.
Stretch dough: On a lightly floured work surface, separately stretch or roll 2 pieces basic grilled pizza dough or 8 ounces (two 4-ounce pieces) store-bought dough into 10-inch-long ovals or other desired shape. Brush one side lightly with herb oil or olive oil and season with coarse salt and ground pepper.
Grill dough: Using your hands, place dough, oiled side down, directly over heat source. Brush dough with herb oil or olive oil and cook until underside is lightly charred and bubbles form all over top, 1 to 2 minutes. With tongs, flip dough and cook until lightly charred, 1 to 2 minutes. Slide dough to cooler side of grill.
Add toppings: Top dough with ricotta/chard/Parmesan mixture and caramelized onions. Cover grill. Cook until toppings are heated through, 2 to 5 minutes.
Holy cow, this pizza was deeeeeelicious. The dough was crisp on the edges and chewier in the center, the caramelized onions were smoky and sweet, and the ricotta with the chard and Parmesan was creamy and super flavorful. I served this with a beet and arugula salad with goat cheese and walnuts and thought I was in heaven. I will definitely make this pizza again, and the menu (with the salad) would make a fantastic casual dinner party.
I’ll admit that it took a bit of practice to develop a good system for getting the dough from the kitchen to the grill, so I’ll share what I know. I roll and stretch the dough on my kitchen island and then put each piece on its own lightly-floured baking sheet before I brush it with oil. Since I don’t have much work space on the sides of my grill, I make Dr. O carry the two baking sheets onto the deck and then I hand-transfer the dough to the grill. The dough tends to shift and stretch a bit when it’s picked up, but that’s OK; rustic is good.
TIPS: If I make the pizza dough ahead, I wrap it in plastic wrap before I store it. If I freeze it, I wrap it in plastic wrap and put it in a freezer bag as well. To use frozen dough, I typically just thaw it in the refrigerator overnight.