Sunday, September 28, 2014

Artichoke, Arugula, and Prosciutto Pizza at Home - The Basics

I love making pizza at home. It's easy to do, doesn't require a lot of hands on time, and tastes much better than anything delivered from a restaurant chain.  It also allows me to experiment with new vegetables, cheeses and sauces. 

My local supermarket makes a great pizza dough, so that's my starting point. I have made the dough myself in the past, and it tastes just the same, so I'd rather use store bought dough and focus on really good toppings. 

Here are some tips for making a great pizza:
  • Take the dough out of the refrigerator at least 30 minutes before you plan on getting started cooking. I try to do an hour if I can. Letting it come up to room temperature will make it much easier to work with. 
  • Don't rush rolling and stretching the dough. If it starts to spring back after you roll it, leave it alone for five minutes (start prepping your other ingredients and try again. 
  • Sprinkle your work surface and the top of the dough with a little flour before rolling. This should prevent the dough from sticking to the work surface or your rolling pin. Picking up the dough and moving it will also prevent sticking. 
  • When rolling the dough, use gentle pressure. If you press down really hard, the dough will likely stick. 
  • If using vegetables, try to remove excess moisture. Squeeze frozen thawed vegetables in a clean kitchen towel or saute vegetables with a lot of moisture (zucchini, squash, onions.)
  • Break out a ruler.  If the recipe states to roll out the dough to a certain size, match that size. Otherwise your pizza may be too thin and tear, or too thick and bready. 
Here's the recipe for Artichoke, Arugula, and Prosciutto Pizza, adapted from I never had artichokes before this.  For the pesto, you can buy some already made, or see this post for a quick and easy pesto recipe. 

Cooking spray
1 tablespoon cornmeal
1 lb. pizza dough
2 tablespoons pesto
1/2 cup (2 ounces) shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
1 (9-ounce) package frozen artichoke hearts, thawed and drained
1 ounce thinly sliced prosciutto
2 tablespoons shredded Parmesan cheese
1 cup baby arugula leaves
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

Position oven rack to lowest setting. Preheat oven to 500°

Coat a baking sheet with cooking spray; sprinkle with cornmeal. Roll out dough into a 14 x 10-inch rectangle and place on baking sheet. 

Spread the pesto evenly over dough, leaving a 1/2-inch border. Sprinkle mozzarella cheese over pesto. Place baking sheet on the bottom oven rack; bake at 500° for 5 minutes. Remove pizza from oven.

Pesto and mozzarella on the dough.
Coarsely chop artichokes. Arrange artichokes on pizza; top with sliced prosciutto. Sprinkle with Parmesan. Return pizza to the bottom oven rack; bake an additional 6 minutes or until crust is browned.

Place arugula in a bowl. Drizzle juice over arugula; toss gently. Top the pizza with arugula mixture. Cut the pizza into 4 (7 x 5-inch) rectangles; cut each rectangle diagonally into 2 wedges.
Adding the artichokes, prosciutto, and parmesan.