Posts Tagged 'Pizza Recipes'

Onion Pizza with Ricotta and Chard (aka My Best Grilled Pizza Yet!)

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)

Ingredients:
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

Method:
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

Ingredients:
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)

Method:
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.

Onion Pizza with Ricotta and Chard

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.

Recipe links: Basic Grilled Pizza Dough and Onion Pizza with Ricotta and Chard

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Red Onion, Potato, and Goat Cheese Pizza

I really enjoy making homemade pizza, especially now that I’ve found a crust recipe that is super easy but still has good flavor and texture.  I realize that pizza is one of those things where you can really just slap some sauce, cheese, and other ingredients together on a crust, bake it, and probably end up with something good, but my favorite cooking magazines keep sending these irresistible pizza recipes my way.  I decided to try the recipe for Red Onion, Potato, and Goat Cheese Pizza from the November 2009 issue of Cooking Light yesterday so we would have something yummy to eat during our football game (go Huskers!).  Admittedly, this particular pizza is a bit dressed up for game day, but we absolutely loved it.

I’ll share my crust recipe first; it’s adapted from an Emeril Lagasse recipe with a tip from Mario Batali.

Basic Pizza Dough

Ingredients:
¾ cup of warm water (105 to 115 degrees F)
¼ cup of light-bodied white wine
1 (1/4-ounce) package active dry yeast
1 teaspoon of honey
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon of coarse salt

Method:

In a large bowl, combine the water, wine, yeast, honey and 1 tablespoon of the olive oil, stirring until combined.  Let stand until the mixture is foamy, about 5 minutes.

Add 1 ½ cups of the flour and the salt, mixing by hand until everything is incorporated and the mixture is smooth.  Continue adding the flour, ¼ cup at a time, working the dough after each addition, until the dough is smooth but still slightly sticky.  You may not need all of the flour.  Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead until the dough is smooth but still slightly tacky, 3 to 5 minutes.

Oil the mixing bowl with the remaining tablespoon of olive oil.  Place the dough in the bowl, turning to coat with the oil.  Cover with plastic wrap and set in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1 ½ hours.  Punch down the dough before rolling out the crust.

If you don’t want to make your own dough, you can certainly use the refrigerated kind.  I just can’t do it anymore, though. 🙂

Now for the toppings…  First, I put 7 ounces of fingerling potatoes (about 5 potatoes) in a saucepan, covered them with water, and brought them to a boil.  I cooked them until they were just tender (12 minutes up here at altitude; 10 minutes is probably fine if you’re at sea level) and drained them.  Once they were cool enough to handle, I sliced them into 1/4-inch slices and set them aside.

While the potatoes were boiling, I sliced a medium red onion into 1/2-inch rings.  I heated 1 teaspoon of olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat and sautéed the onion until it was tender (8 minutes).  (Note: I turned the heat down to medium at about the 4-minute mark because my onion was charring pretty quickly.)

Once the potatoes and onions were ready to go, I rolled my dough out to a 14-inch circle on a lightly floured surface.  I sprinkled my pizza stone with cornmeal and transferred the dough round to the pizza stone.  Next, I sprinkled 1 cup (4 ounces) of shredded part-skim mozzarella over the crust.  I arranged the potatoes and onions over the mozzarella and then evenly topped the vegetables with 4 ounces of soft goat cheese and 1 minced garlic clove.  (The recipe only called for 3 ounces of goat cheese but mine came in a 4-ounce package; I knew it would go to waste if I didn’t use it all.)  Even though the recipe didn’t say to do this, I gave the entire pizza a sprinkle of coarse salt and ground pepper; I think sometimes Cooking Light recipes go too easy on the seasoning (probably because many of their readers are trying to cut things like salt – and sugar, fat, etc. – from their diets).

I baked the pizza in the lower third of my oven at 450F until it was browned (15 minutes), and then sprinkled it with 1 1/2 teaspoons of fresh thyme leaves before serving.

Red Onion Potato and Goat Cheese Pizza

Man, was this ever good.  I loved the sweetness of the charred red onion, the tanginess of the goat cheese, and the bright flavor of the fresh thyme.  Texturally, I thought the tender potatoes, creamy goat cheese, and chewy crust were just perfect together.  I know one online reviewer of this recipe indicated that the pizza was “flavorless” beyond the goat cheese, so maybe the homemade crust and the sprinkling of coarse salt and pepper really does make a difference.  (I’d like to think so!)  The one thing I think would make a good thing even better in this case is BACON…  Granted, it takes a nice vegetarian option and turns it into something different, but that addition would really send the flavors of this pizza over the edge.  I can’t wait to try it!

TIPS:  If you can’t get fingerling potatoes or don’t want to pay for them, you could absolutely get away with using red or white new potatoes.  You might have to adjust the boiling time if the potatoes are on the large side; just make sure they’re tender (but not mushy or falling apart) before you drain them.

Also, as always, feel free to substitute a different kind of cheese if you don’t like goat cheese.  I think 3 to 4 ounces of part-skim ricotta (distributed in teaspoon-size dollops, maybe?) would work well with this recipe.

Recipe link: Red Onion, Potato, and Goat Cheese Pizza

Roman Pizza

I finally – FINALLY! – made my own pizza dough. And guess what? It was sooo easy. I’ll admit that my bread making experience is pretty limited at this point, and I think I was letting that lack of experience intimidate me. I watched Giada de Laurentiis make this absolutely delicious-looking Roman Pizza on Everyday Italian a few weeks ago, though, so I decided I just had to give it a try.

First, I dissolved 2 teaspoons of active dry yeast in 1/2 cup of warm water (5 minutes). The water has to be between 105F and 110F; I just stuck my thermometer fork in the water to check the temperature.

While the yeast dissolved, I combined 2 cups of all-purpose flour and 1 teaspoon of coarse salt in the small bowl of my food processor. With the machine running, I used the feed tube to add 3 tablespoons of olive oil, followed by the yeast/water mixture. I blended everything *just* until a dough formed.

Next, I lightly floured a piece of wax paper, placed the dough on it, and kneaded the dough until it was smooth (1 minute). I lightly oiled a large bowl, put the dough inside, and turned the dough to coat it with the oil. I covered the bowl with plastic wrap and let the dough sit until it had doubled in volume (1 hour). This is the part that always sounded so dramatic to me… When the hour had passed, I punched the dough down (it didn’t fight back!) and formed it into a ball. I wasn’t quite ready to make my pizza yet, so I put the dough in an airtight container and stored it until later that evening. (You can make the dough up to 1 day ahead.)

I deviated from the recipe a bit when it was time to actually make the pizza. Giada’s recipe says the dough I made (1 pound) will make two 13 1/2 x 8 1/2-inch rectangular pizzas. This seemed like it would create an incredibly thin crust. All of the other pizza recipes I’ve tried have recommended 1 pound of dough per pizza, so I just decided to roll mine out into a large circle and bake it on my pizza stone. (As you can see from the picture, I’m “circle challenged” when it comes to rolling out dough, but it doesn’t have to be perfect!) I topped the dough with 1/3 cup of marinara sauce, 1/3 cup of shredded smoked mozzarella cheese, 1 cup of shredded Fontina cheese, 2 ounces of thinly sliced mushrooms, and 2 ounces of chopped pancetta.

I baked the pizza at 450F until the crust was crisp and the cheese was melted and browned (15 minutes.)

Yum-my! This was so incredibly easy and delicious. The combination of the pancetta and mushrooms was just terrific, and I loved the cheese blend. The crust was light, thin, and perfectly cooked through. If you’re looking for a chewy crust, this isn’t it; it was more like a cross between bread and a cracker. Dr. O and I really enjoyed the texture and flavor, though.

I love the convenience of being able to make the dough ahead of time… If you put it together and grate your cheeses on Thursday night, you can have Friday night pizza ready to go in 20 minutes. It doesn’t get much better than that!

TIPS: Mozzarella and fontina are both relatively soft cheeses, so they’re easier to grate if you put them in the freezer for 10 – 15 minutes first.

Recipe link: Roman Pizza

Hamburger and Grape Tomato Pizza

If you can round up some frozen or refrigerated pizza dough, here’s a perfect weeknight recipe – Hamburger and Grape Tomato Pizza from the May 2008 issue of Everyday Food. I really enjoy good old-fashioned pizza, but we don’t eat it very often… I haven’t purchased a frozen pizza since we moved to Dallas, and I think the last time I ordered a pizza was to feed the friends who helped us move in June of 2006. I like this recipe because it’s quick and easy, but it still lets me feel like I “made” dinner.

To make the pizza, I started by rubbing a rimless baking sheet with 2 teaspoons of olive oil. (You can turn a rimmed one upside down if that’s all you have.) I unrolled a package (13.8 ounces) of Pillsbury pizza crust onto the baking sheet and stretched it into a 12 x 14-inch rectangle. (The recipe suggests a pound of dough stretched to an 11 x 15-inch rectangle, but I worked with what I had.)

I spread 3/4 cup of marinara sauce over the top of the crust, leaving a 1-inch border all around. I topped the sauce with 1 cup of grated provolone, 1 cup of halved grape tomatoes, and half of a medium red onion (thinly sliced); I also scattered 1/4 pound of ground beef chuck over the top of the pizza. I seasoned the pizza with salt and pepper and baked it at 450F until the crust was golden, the beef was cooked, and the cheese was melted (17 minutes).

Hamburger and Grape Tomato Pizza

I cut the pizza into 8 slices to serve it.

Hamburger and Grape Tomato Pizza

Dr. O and I enjoyed this one. I especially liked the grape tomatoes. I wish I could find a more authentic pizza crust (crust tends to make or break the pizza for me), but the refrigerated Pillsbury crust was the only thing available at Kroger. I’ll definitely be checking around Central Market during my next trip.

TIPS: The first time I made pizza at home with the Pillsbury crust, I formed my dough into a ball and tried to roll it into the shape I wanted rather than just unrolling the dough and stretching it slightly. BIG MISTAKE. I about drove myself crazy. If I ever find a frozen ball of pizza dough I *will* roll it out with a rolling pin and give it my best shot, but dough can get pretty elastic and difficult to work with. Unrolling is definitely the way to go if you’re using canned refrigerated dough.

A few users on Everyday Food’s Web site have expressed concern about scattering raw meat over the top of the pizza. I didn’t have any trouble and mine was most definitely cooked through; just make sure you’re scattering small crumbles of meat instead of large pieces. If you’re still concerned, you could always pre-cook the meat before topping the pizza.

Recipe link: Hamburger and Grape Tomato Pizza

Thinnest Crust Pizza with Ricotta and Mushrooms

I’m always on the lookout for recipes with short ingredient lists and lots of flavor – Thinnest Crust Pizza with Ricotta and Mushrooms from the January/February 2007 issue of Everyday Food is one of those recipes. Plus, it’s ready in just over a half an hour, which makes it perfect for any night of the week.

I started by positioning my oven racks in the upper and lower thirds of my oven. While the oven heated to 450 F, I lined two rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper and then brushed each one lightly with olive oil. I put one whole-wheat sandwich wrap on each baking sheet and brushed each wrap with 1 teaspoon of olive oil.

Next, I sprinkled each wrap with 1/2 cup of shredded Asiago cheese and 1/3 cup of ricotta cheese. (I applied the ricotta in dollops, about 6 per wrap.) After the cheese, I added about 5 ounces of sliced mushrooms and half of a small red onion, thinly sliced, to each wrap and then seasoned with salt and pepper.

thinnest_crust_pizza_uncooked.jpg

The recipe says to bake the pizzas for 20 – 25 minutes until the crust is crisp and very brown all over, rotating the baking sheets top to bottom and front to back halfway through. My crust was very brown in about 15 minutes, so I took the pizzas out and served them.

thinnest_crust_pizza.jpg

This recipe has terrific flavor. I’m not really a fan of red onion even, but once it’s baked, it’s delish. On the downside, my pizzas weren’t exactly crisp all the way through. They might have gotten there if I had left them in for the entire recommended cooking time, but my crust would’ve been black. I used La Tortilla Factory Tomato Basil Wraps (they have gluten-free ones too, Leslie!), which are wonderful, but I may try a different line of wraps next time to see if I get different results.

TIPS:  Depending on where you live, you might have difficulty finding shredded Asiago cheese.  You could buy a block and shred it yourself (if you can find it), or Parmesan cheese will work just as well.

Recipe link: Thinnest Crust Pizza with Ricotta and Mushrooms




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