Before we get into this mouthwatering individual pizza recipe, I'd like to introduce you to Alexandra Stafford. I had the opportunity to meet her soon after she'd first used her Steel. And I was absolutely blown away by her blog, AlexandraCooks.com.
I'm thrilled to announce that Alexandra has joined our creative staff! She'll now be creating exclusive Baking Steel recipes that you'll be able to find right here on our blog. How exciting is that?
Please enjoy her very first guest post. (And don't forget to check out her blog!)
Arugula, Prosciutto & Pecorino Individual Pizzas
By Alexandra Stafford
What's not to love about cool, lightly dressed greens atop a warm, bubbly crust? Here the classic combination of arugula, prosciutto and shaved Pecorino top individual pizzas and can be served as a simple appetizer or a light summer meal aside sliced tomatoes, marinated zucchini or slivers of roasted red peppers.
Baked without any cheese or other toppings, these small rounds—three fit on the Steel at one time—puff beautifully, and after five minutes in the oven, the pizzas emerge, edges blistered with pools of olive oil dimpling the surfaces. The key to creating these crusts with air pockets throughout, especially when using the Jim Lahey pizza dough, is to handle the dough minimally, using as light a touch as possible when stretching the balls into rounds.
Of course, these individual pizzas can be topped with any of your favorite ingredients, but there is something irresistible about the combination of crisp and cool with warm and crusty. And as the weather gets cooler, kale, spinach, mustard greens — any dark leafy greens — would make nice substitutes for the arugula.
Arugula, Prosciutto, & Pecorino Pizzas
Yield = 6 individual pizzas 4 oz arugula, washed and dried
12 thin slices of prosciutto
shaved Pecorino or Parmigiano Reggiano to taste
Simple Vinaigrette (recipe below)
6 rounds of Lahey pizza dough (recipe below)
cornmeal or flour for dusting peel or parchment paper, cut into six 8-inch squares (optional, but helpful)
1. Place your Baking Steel in the oven and preheat your oven to 550ºF. Allow Steel to heat for 45 minutes.
2. About 20 to 30 minutes before baking, remove pizza dough from fridge and let rest on a lightly floured surface.
3. When you are ready to bake, gently stretch each round into a 5- to 6-inch circle. Drizzle each lightly with olive oil. Use your fingers to stretch the dough out if necessary. If you are comfortable using your peel, dust it lightly with flour or cornmeal, and start shimmying your pizzas onto the Steel — you can fit three of these individual pizzas on the Steel at one time. If you tend to have trouble with your peel, place each round of dough on the prepared parchment paper squares. Shimmy each round (parchment paper and all) one at a time onto the Steel — again, you will be able to fit three of these rounds on the Steel at one time. Bake until pizzas are blistered and bubbly, about five minutes. (Note: After about a minute or two, you can pull the pieces of parchment paper from underneath each pizza (if you wish) or you can just let them char.) Remove pizzas from Steel (tongs are helpful for this) and place on serving board. Repeat with remaining rounds.
4. Meanwhile, top each round with 1 to 2 slices of prosciutto. Toss the greens with enough dressing to coat them lightly. Pile greens on top of each pizza. Top each pizza with shaved cheese. Serve whole if the pizza is the main dish; cut into quarters if serving as an appetizer.
Lahey Pizza Dough
500 grams flour, preferably tipo 00, plus more for shaping dough
2 teaspoons fine sea salt
1/4 teaspoon active dry yeast
1. Whisk flour, salt, and yeast in a medium bowl. While stirring with a wooden spoon, gradually add 1.5 cups water; stir until well incorporated. Mix dough gently with your hands to bring it together and form into a rough ball. Transfer to a large clean bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let dough rise at room temperature (about 72°) in a draft-free area until surface is covered with tiny bubbles and dough has more than doubled in size, about 18 hours (time will vary depending on the temperature in the room).
2. Transfer dough to a floured work surface. Gently shape into a rough rectangle. Divide into 6 equal portions (for individual pizzas) and 3 equal portions (for larger pizzas). Working with 1 portion at a time, gather 4 corners to center to create 4 folds. Turn seam side down and mold gently into a ball. Dust dough with flour; set aside on work surface or a floured baking sheet. Repeat with remaining portions.
1 small shallot or red onion, minced
1/4 cup white balsamic vinegar
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt 1/4 teaspoon sugar
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil freshly cracked black pepper
1. Place shallot in a small bowl with the vinegar, salt and sugar. Let macerate for 15 minutes. Slowly drizzle in the olive oil. Season with black pepper to taste. Before using, shake, stir or whisk again to emulsify.
Make sure to check out Alexandra's blog, at AlexandraCooks.com.