Any night in our house can be Pizza Night. It is always a favorite meal for Nicoletta and I. What’s not to like, crispy thin crust with fresh organic toppings and fresh mozzarella. I crave pizza all the time, maybe not as much as Nicoletta but pretty close, not the heavy laden pizzas with processed cheese and meats, but the lovely lite and fresh pizzas we eat in Rome. Thanks to Jamie Oliver’s recipe for thin crust pizzas, I may have found the crust we have been searching for. Got to love his enthusiasm and energy and his determination to educate our young generation to better health, along with the passion for fresh food and cooking.
It has been an abundant season for veggies in my parents’ garden, especially zucchini blossoms, so you guessed it, why not on a pizza, so the first on the pizza paddle and into the pizza oven in the barbecue is Zucchini Blossoms on a pesto sauce with fresh mozzarella, goat cheese and feta cheese with a nice drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.
Beautiful colors, nice charred edges, a creamy and soft cheese, a nice thin crispy crust. You taste the basil and garlic of the pesto, the zucchini flowers with a bit of sweetness and smokiness from the slight charred edges, the edginess of the feta soothed by the suttleness of the goat cheese, and to bring it home the melted mozzarella soft and stringy. One thing I wanted to mention was that when picking the zucchini blossoms only pick the male blossoms, the ones without the zucchini attached. I don’t know why that is, I only know my parents were adamant about this fact, and I don’t know if you know this, but do not argue with an Italian parent! LOL
Second pizza, the simplest of all pizzas but so flavorful, it will leave you wanting piece after piece: the Margherita, thin bubbly crust laden with a rich san marzano tomato sauce, dollops of pesto and morsels of fresh mozzarella, always finishing the top with a drizzle of olive oil. You bite in, cheese stringing from your lips to the edge of the pizza, the tomatoes hit your taste buds with a blast of rich sweet acidic flavor, the pesto creeps in with hints of basil, pine nuts, parmigiano, garlic and olive oil, and the crust tender with crispy bits.
The finale, a dessert pizza. Yes, Nutella! on that thin crust just what the doctor ordered. That smooth hazelnutty chocolate sweetness oh so so good. A great end to a beautiful evening out in the backyard. Me, my beautiful wife, my son and the pizza oven and paddle, could be a song. One day I will build a wood fired pizza oven and really toss some pizzas in the air, spew out some great Italian slang and manipulate those pizzas close to the fire. Can you smell that fire?
Plan your pizza night soon.
P.S. goes great with a nice cold cold beer.Print
- 400 g flour type 00
- 80 g finely ground semolina flour
- 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 4 g dry active yeast
- 1/2 tablespoon sugar
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 300 ml lukewarm water
- 1/2 cup San Marzano tomatoes, puréed
- 1/2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1 basil leaf
- 5 zucchini blossoms, slivered
- 1/4 cup fresh feta cheese crumbled
- 3 medium bocconcini
- 3 tablespoons lemon flavored goat cheese
- 1/4 cup pesto
- 1/4 cup nutella
- Pizza dough:
- In a bowl combine yeast, 2 tablespoons lukewarm water, sugar, oil and salt.
- Mix well and set aside for a few minutes till it starts foaming.
- On a mixing board place flour and make a well in the middle.
- Pour yeast mixture in the well and with a fork slowly bring flour into the center and keep adding water till dough becomes workable with the hands.
- With clean floured hands work the dough to a nice smooth consistency.
- Shape into a nice ball and place in a well floured bowl, cover and let rise for a couple of hours.
- Pizza sauce: Purée tomatoes in a food processor. Add olive oil, salt, basil, and set aside.
- Pizza crusts:
- Cut dough into 3 equal portions.
- On a floured surface shape dough into a circle using your fingers and manipulate.
- Place circle of dough onto the board and keep working it till you have a 14 inch circle and a thickness of about 4 mm.
- Preheat barbeque to around 450° F.
- With a pizza paddle put dough into the bbq pizza oven and cook for 1 minute on each side
- Take out of bbq with paddle and spread pesto throughout the crust leaving a 1 cm outside crust edge.
- Zucchini blossoms: Place slivered zucchini blossoms evenly on pizza.
- Sprinkle feta throughout.
- With a small spoon place dollops of the lemon goat cheese on top.
- Cut bocconcini into small chunks. Drizzle some olive oil on top
- Toss 1-1/2 chunks of bocconcini evenly onto pizza and place back into the pizza oven.
- Cook till edges are lightly charred and cheese is smooth and melted.
- Margherita: Same as above for cooking the crust a bit.
- Then spread tomato purée throughout the crust leaving that same 1 cm edge.
- Evenly sprinkle bocconcini pieces onto pizza.
- Place dollops of pesto on top. Drizzle some olive oil.
- Place in pizza oven and cook till cheese is melted and edges are nice and crisp.
- Nutella: For the dessert pizza, take pizza crust and place in oven, cook crust till edges are a bit charred and middle is cooked.
- With a spoon spread nutella evenly, then serve.