Sunday, July 3, 2011

Grilled Pizza

Grilled Pizza Margherita
 With it being summer and all, the grill beckons me to lay something beyond hamburgers and hot dogs upon its fiery grates.  I had been wanting to try grilling pizza for some time now and I'm glad I finally took the opportunity.  I was nervous about how it was all going to work out.  I mean, it seemed like it could be a real recipe for disaster (I had visions of sauce and cheese falling to a flaming doom). 

Thankfully, it was much easier than I was anticipating.  Here are the keys: keep your pizzas small.  This is a great time time let everyone dress individual pizzas (6-8" around max will keep things much easier to handle).  Also, precook your pizza crust on the grill for just a minute on both sides.  This will give you a sturdier base on which to put your toppings and you will feel much more confidant in the transfer process.  Overall, it made me feel very accomplished to serve grilled pizzas (it also made me dream of a custom built, wood-burning pizza oven in the backyard but we are a long ways from that!). 

I served very traditionally Italian style pizzas--the wonderfully simple, Margherita style (tomatoes, fresh mozzarella and fresh basil) and another of my favorites from when we visited Italy, Quattro Staggioni (which literally translates into "Four Seasons" and is divided into four quadrants of toppings: ham, artichoke hearts, mushrooms and black olives).  I think each topping is supposed to represent a season, but beats me which one is for which!  Regardless, it employs several of my favorite ingredients and I thought it was high time to recreate the Quattro Staggioni at home.

Pizza Margherita
1 recipe pizza dough (see below)
1-2 cups favorite jarred pizza/pasta sauce (more traditional would be just tomatoes seasoned with olive oil, garlic, salt, pepper and some spices--Italian seasoning--but I was lazy)
1 pound fresh mozzarella cheese, sliced into rounds
large handful fresh basil leaves

Quattro Staggioni toppings: (on top of sauce and cheese placed individually in each of four quadrants of the pizza)
thinly sliced ham, cut into bite sized strips
quartered artichoke hearts
thinly sliced black olives
thinly sliced mushrooms
Quattro Staggioni in the front

Preheat grill to medium high.  Divide pizza dough into fourths and roll out to desired width and thickness (6-8" is easiest to work with).  Grease the grates of the grill well with olive oil (an easy way to do this is use tongs holding a wad of paper towels dipped in oil rubbed against the grates.  Be careful of flare ups).  Very carefully and working in batches as needed, lay the pizza dough on top of the grill grates.  Allow to cook for just a minute or so.  As soon as bubbles begin to form on the top of the dough, use tongs to flip over to the other side.  Allow to cook for another additional minute or just until the dough is cooked enough to handle.  Remove from the grill, set aside and repeat with remaining pizza crusts. 

Once pizza crusts have been pre-baked, top with sauce or tomatoes, cheese and desired toppings.  Lower grill heat to medium low.  Using a large spatula, a pizza peel or your hands, carefully return topped pizzas to the grill.  Cover and cook for just a few minutes, until cheese is melted, checking to make sure that the bottom crust is not getting too dark (you can always turn down the grill .  Use a spatula or pizza peel to remove pizzas.  Let sit for a few minutes, slice and serve. 

Note: You can also use these ingredients to make a baked pizza.  See my Homemade Pizza Party post on some helpful instructions for indoor pizza!

Homemade Pizza Dough
Makes about four individual pizzas (can also make one 12-16” pizza, depending on thickness)
2-2 1/2 cups flour (can use up to half whole wheat and up to 1/2 cup corn meal)
1 envelope quick rise yeast (or 2 1/4 teaspoons)
1 teaspoon sugar or honey
6-8 oz. warm water (around 110 degrees)
2 Tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons Kosher salt
Optional: 1 tsp. herbs or garlic

    In a glass measuring cup, add yeast and sugar to warm water.  Stir and allow to sit for about 5 minutes to proof (it will grow in volume and be bubbly).  Meanwhile, in a food processor or stand mixer, blend together flour, salt and olive oil (and herbs, if using).  While processor is running, pour in water-yeast mixture and continue to process until a solid ball of dough is formed (you may have to add a little more flour or water).  Allow to run 30 seconds more.  Turn off machine and pull out dough.  Place in a greased bowl and cover with a dish towel or greased plastic wrap.  Allow to sit at least 30 minutes.  Punch down dough and turn in on itself a few times.
The little thief was at it again, but I was able to stop him this time!
Inspiration derived from: Annie's Eats' blog entry on Grilled Pizza

Also, check out my friend, Amy's post on Grilled Pizza she just did the other day as well!  It looks super yummy!  I'll have to try that combination of toppings soon!

No comments:

Post a Comment