Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Hold the Sauce! Oven to Table Thin Crust White Pizzas

Don't get me wrong I love traditional Pizza but, crave a lighter thin crust white pizza (no tomato sauce) on occasion.

I experimented with two recipes.  The first recipe was a proscuitto and arugula pizza.  This pizza was a beautiful contrast of a thinly sliced Italian proscuitto paired with baby arugula greens-it was delightful.  The second recipe focused on summer squashes which by itself can be bland but, paired with caramelized onions, thyme and crushed red pepper and it comes alive with flavor.

The beauty of homemade pizza is the opportunity to savor the season.  There is no set rules for the toppings.  The dough can be homemade or store purchased. You can use what you have on hand or what you see in season at the farmers market.  The effort and time you want to invest is up to you.

You can embrace the lighter healthier side of pizza using the recipes below as your foundation.



Proscuitto and Arugula and Zucchini and Caramelized Onion Pizza
Makes 2-10 inch pizzas
Recipes from Fine Cooking
Proscuitto and arugula pizza

Ingredients:
5 oz. fresh mozzarella
1-1/2 Tbs. freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
1-1/2 Tbs. heavy cream
1-1/2 Tbs. buttermilk
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Flour for the peel
2-8 oz. balls pizza dough (homemade or store bought) at room temperature
2 cups baby arugula
Extra-virgin olive oil
4 to 6 oz. thinly sliced proscuitto

Directions:
Put a pizza stone on the lowest rack of the oven, heat the oven to 550 F., and let the stone heat for at least a half-hour.

Cut half of the mozzarella into a 1/2-inch dice and put in a medium bowl. Thinly slice the other half and, using the side of the chef's knife, mash it into a paste.  Add it to the diced mozzarella .  Add the Parmigiano, cream, and buttermilk, and season lightly with salt.

Lightly flour a peel.  Stretch one dough ball into a 10-to 11-inch round and transfer to the peel.  Spread half of the cheese mixture over the dough almost to the edge and season with black pepper.  Slide the dough onto the hot stone and bake until the cheese is melted and the crust is nicely browned, about 8 minutes.  Transfer to the cutting board and slice.

Drape half of the proscuitto over the pizza.  Toss the arugula with just enough olive oil to dress it very lightly.  Season with salt and pepper and scatter half over the proscuitto.  Repeat to make the second pizza.

Zucchini and caramelized onion pizza

Ingredients:
3 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium red onion, thinly sliced
Kosher salt
2 small cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbs. thinly sliced chives
1 tsp.  finely chopped thyme
1 small zucchini, trimmed and thinly sliced or shaved lengthwise
1 small yellow squash, trimmed and thinly sliced or shaved lengthwise
1 cup coarsely grated mozzarella
Flour for the peel
1 8-oz. balls pizza dough (homemade or store bought) at room temperature
Sea Salt
Crushed red pepper (optional)

Directions:
Put a pizza stone on the lowest rack of the oven, heat the oven to 550 F., and let the stone heat for at least a half-hour.

In-a 12-inch skillet, heat 1 Tbs. of the olive oil over medium heat.  Add the onion and a generous pinch of salt; cook, stirring occasionally, until soft and well browned, 15 to 18 minutes.  Remove from the heat and let cool.

In a large bowl, combine the remaining 2 Tbs. olive oil with the garlic, chives, thyme and a good pinch of salt.  Add the zucchini and squash and toss to coat.  In a small bowl, combine the two cheeses.

Lightly flour a pizza peel.  Stretch one dough ball into a 10 to 11 inch round and transfer it to the peel.  Top with half of the caramelized onion and just enough cheese to cover the onion.  Top with half of the zucchini and squash, alternating colors and direction and slightly overlapping them; the squash does not have to cover the whole pizza.  Sprinkle with a little more (about 1/2 cup) of the cheese.

Slide the pizza onto the hot stone and bake until the cheese is melted and the crust is nicely browned, about 8 minutes.  Transfer to a cutting board and sprinkle with sea salt and crushed red pepper flakes, if using.  Repeat to make the second pizza.

Enjoy!