Our Most Popular Pizza Of The Night
Saturday we celebrated my birthday by inviting a bunch of good friends over to make pizza in our new outdoor wood-burning oven. Everyone was asked to bring his or her favorite topping while we supplied the pizza dough, sauces and cheese. In total, I must have cooked over 24 pizzas before we were done.
Everyone got creative and came up with some interesting combinations. We tried artichokes, anchovies, pepperoni, pineapple, sausage, prosciutto (Italian ham), an assortment of olives, peppers, mushrooms, fresh tomatoes, sun dried tomatoes and I'm sure I'm forgetting some.
For cheese we tried mozzarella, goat, pecorino, Parmesan and fresh buffalo mozzarella. There was tomato sauce, pesto sauce, garlic and olive oil. Each pie was unique and a delight to sample.
The wood-burning oven ranges from 700°F to 800°F when cooking pizza. The pies are thin crusted and only about 8 inches in diameter so they cook fast, about 3 to 4 minutes per pie.
Unfortunately it was about 95°F outside on Saturday so standing in front of the oven for over 2 hours was a test of endurance. I'm reminded how uncomfortable it must be for professional chefs working in a hot kitchen 8 to 10 hours per day. I was fortunate to have an ice bucket filled with beer next to me so I could grab ice to cool off and replenish my liquids.
There are so many great pizza recipes but I wanted to share with you this one from Wolfgang Puck's cookbook, Pizza, Pasta, and More! I am a big fan of Chef Puck and find his recipes easy to follow, to the point and most enjoyable.
We adapted his recipe by adding arugula to the pie. It is a favorite of my youngest daughter.
Chef Puck suggests using a pizza stone placed on the middle rack of your oven that has been preheated to 500° F. Before we had this wood-burning oven, I would use a pizza stone and can highly recommend them if you like to make pizza at home or even bread for that matter. They really make a difference when trying to get the crust nice and crisp.
I like thin-crusted pizza so the roundness isn't as important to me as the thickness. The thinner the pizza, the faster and crisper they cook.
Here is his recipe for Prosciutto Arugula and Goat Cheese Pizza.
Prosciutto Arugula and Goat Cheese Pizza
- 12 ounces pizza dough
- ¼ cup pesto
- 1 cup mozzarella cheese grated
- 1 cup Fontina cheese grated
- 2 Roma tomatoes cut into thin slices
- 2 ounces prosciutto Italian ham, cut into thin strips
- 2 ounces goat cheese cut into small pieces
- ¼ teaspoon fresh oregano minced
- ¼ teaspoon fresh thyme minced
- 4 teaspoons Parmesan cheese freshly grated
- Divide the dough in half for two pizzas. Stretch and roll the dough out on a floured surface to make 8-inch rounds.
- Brush each pizza round with Pesto and a layer of mozzarella, Fontina, tomatoes, prosciutto, goat cheese, oregano, thyme and Parmesan cheese.
- Bake the pies until the crusts are lightly browned. In the oven this will take about 10 to 12 minutes. In our wood burning oven, about 4 minutes.
- When the pie is done, remove it from the oven and place it onto a large cutting board or pizza pan and cut into slices with a pizza cutter.