Earlier this week while planning my Super Bowl Sunday party menu, I suddenly remembered one of my favorite pizzas from Artisan Pizza and Flatbread in Five Minutes a Day: the Balthazar goat cheese and onion pizzettes. The flavors — caramelized onions, goat cheese, and thyme — are quintessentially French, and while I know everyone would gobble it up this Sunday without blinking an eye, I thought on this quintessentially American occasion it might be more festive to stick to the basics: meat and cheese. That said, the creamy base of the Balthazar pizzettes — a delectable mixture of goat cheese, cream cheese and egg yolk — complements so many toppings including browned hot Italian sausage and Genoa salami. Of course, feel free to use your favorite red or white sauce as a base layer — you can't mess this one up. Happy Football watching, Everyone!
Super Bowl Sunday Pizza Yield = 2 pizzas
2 rounds favorite pizza dough (Lahey recipe below) 8 oz. hot Italian sausage 4 oz. cream cheese or mascarpone, room temperature 4 oz. goat cheese, room temperature 1 egg yolk 4 oz. Genoa salami (or something similar) freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano
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 place on a lightly floured work surface. Place a sheet of parchment paper onto your pizza peel.
3. Meanwhile, squeeze sausage out of its casing directly into a large sauté pan. Cook over medium heat until sausage is browned all over. (Note: You shouldn't need to add any oil/butter if you cook this over medium heat — the fat will render as you brown it, helping to keep the sausage from sticking.) Set aside.
4. In a small bowl, mix goat cheese and cream cheese or mascarpone with egg yolk. (Note: If you didn't leave your cheeses out to soften, you can soften them quickly in the microwave. Just be sure to check the cheeses every 3 to 5 seconds. You want them soft, not melted.) Set aside.
5. Gently stretch your pizza round into a rectangle, roughly 11 inches by 6 inches. (Note: You can do this in the air using the backs of your hands to gently stretch out the dough; or you can do this on the surface of your board.) Place dough onto parchment paper-topped peel. Spoon cheese mixture into a thin layer over the top of the dough. Arrange salami over the top of the cheese. Sprinkle sausage over top. Lightly cover with grated Parmigiano Reggiano.
6. Shimmy your dough onto your Steel. Bake until your pizza is blistered and bubbly, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a cutting board. Make one long cut through the middle of the flatbread lengthwise. Cut crosswise on the bias into thinnish, hors d'oeuvre-size slices. Serve immediately.
7. Repeat shaping/topping with remaining dough/toppings.
Lahey Pizza Dough:
1000 grams flour, preferably tipo 00, plus more for shaping dough 4 teaspoons fine sea salt 1/2 teaspoon active dry yeast
1. Whisk flour, salt, and yeast in a medium bowl. While stirring with a wooden spoon, gradually add 3 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. 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.
3. Let dough rest, covered with plastic wrap or a damp kitchen towel, until soft and pliable, about 1 hour. Wrap each dough ball separately in plastic wrap and chill.
By Alexandra Stafford aka Alexandracooks.com