Pizza Quattro Stagioni, a pizza that represents the four seasons and the ingredients that are known in Italy for those seasons. A beautiful way to pay homage to a food passionate culture dedicated to the freshness and simplicity of Italian cooking as a result in a most incredible textural and flavorful experience!
Song of the day: "Over the Hills and Far Away" by Led Zeppelin.
Pizza Quattro Stagioni (Four Seasons Pizza) is a variety of pizza in Italian cuisine that is divided in four sections and prepared with diverse ingredients likewise symbolizing the four seasons of the year. A delicious crispy thin crust beautifully colored with a rich San Marzano tomato sauce and that lovely array of ingredients nestled in gooey fresh melted mozzarella. Only one thing to say, YUMMY!
We usually have pizza every week and this week is no different, hence why it is one of our favorite foods. It is Saturday and a perfect time to make some pizza dough and enjoy some in-home cooking! This is also a "family time" friendly recipe!
Let's get that oven fired up and get to making this Pizza Quatro Stagioni, an exceptionally popular pizza in Italy that is known as "classic", "famous", "renown", Italian Pizza!
Quatro Stagioni 101
I wanted to talk a bit about the ingredients and the seasons. So this pizza has four sections because it signifies the four seasons. Here are the stars of the show:
- Tomato and basil- summer
- Mushrooms- fall
- Olives and Prosciutto cotto-winter
For the love of pizza dough
The pizza dough is our go to dough recipe, however, I have to say I sure do miss my dough whisperer Nicoletta. She just has the hands to make dough! It will probably be fine, might just have to channel Nicoletta's dough making energy!
I am an organized cook. Gathering all the ingredients and getting them ready so I am not wasting time looking for things is important to me as I can really channel my energy into the recipe. The fun is about to begin and I am going to go in hands and all and stretch that dough.
This may sound strange but the aroma of pizza dough is something I love. Firstly that yeasty aroma and secondly the glutenous richness, to me this says delicious pizza crust all the way!
Tips and more tips
A good idea is to oil the pizza pan. You can do this on the pizza stone, however, you have to work quickly and put lots of cornmeal on the paddle so the crust will slide off and onto the stone. Today I am using a pan oiled along with my hands nicely moistened with extra virgin cold-pressed olive oil.
Another good tip is to puree the San Marzano tomatoes. I use the canned Italian ones that say D.O.P. meaning it is really and authentically Italian! If you have your own from your garden canned and preserved then go for it.
Work that dough!
The secret is to first shape the dough ball into a flat round then into the pan it goes. Start in the center and press and stretch the dough to the outside of the pan. You may have to do it a few times as the dough tends to want to shrink back. You may get a hole just gather some dough and press to seal the hole. Now that the dough is completely stretched, it is time to assemble the pizza!
Stages of making a Quattro Stagioni Pizza
- Make the dough and let it rise.
- Stretch the dough.
- Spread the sauce all over the pizza in circular motions leaving a nice 1 cm border on the outer edge.
- On goes the fresh mozzarella.
- Next, the four sections: mushrooms, olives, prosciutto cotto, and artichokes.
- Some fresh basil leaves for garnish.
- To finish a drizzle of olive oil.
- Finally, into the oven it goes!
One last look before it goes in......
I can just hear a few of you asking for another look at the pizza and topping before it goes into the oven. Okay, photo shot!
Oh, I forgot to tell you, pre-heat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. A good hot oven is a key to a deliciously crisp pizza!
Wow, that looks so good and I am starving. Just can't help myself, sorry diving right in!
Which piece first?
I think I will go for the winter, why because it is winter and then going to work myself through the seasons. Oooooh that crispy oh so flavorful crust and the richness of the tomato sauce has me singing the mmmmmmmmm. ..............! The prosciutto cotto is beautiful, sweet, crunchy on the edges and has that unmistakable Italian ham flavor!
Spring is coming!
Naturally, I would go for spring next as it is truly the season that is almost upon us. I love the artichokes with their briny olive oil backdrop and the juiciness in between the folds of this flowery vegetable. It pairs well with the velvety creamy smoothness of the mozzarella, and the foundation of the tomato sauce and wonderful thin crust!
I truly love summer, one of my most favorite times of the year. warm temperatures, lots of sunshine and very long periods of daylight. I also remember the smell of the tomatoes and basil growing in my parents' garden. If we are blessed with a warm summer season, tomatoes mature well and we are honored with the sweetest aromatic delicious tomatoes and fragrant basil a natural anti-depressant I might add!
This is why summer is all over this pizza tomato and basil all the way! We love it when it is here, we are sad when it leaves us in the fall, we dream about it when winter is over us, and are excited about its arrival at the end of spring!
Mushrooms. Did I tell you I adore mushrooms and on this pizza they are stupendous? They are also earthy and bold, very meaty, and grace the mozzarella beautifully. I love how when you bite into the mushroom they just ooze this flavor town juiciness and my taste buds are singing let me tell you. However the sauce and the crust are not lost in the mix, it is truly an equal paralleled opportunity for each to shine!
Back to the beginning and it's winter again, ugh!
Winter here in Canada can be harsh, especially this year, today a bombing -36 degrees C. The good thing is we have these amazing things like olives to brighten our day. I have to confess I am an olive-aholic. I love the brine, the saltiness and that rich oily pungent profile of this amazing plump creation of the earth! Give me some rustic Italian bread and a handful of olives and I am a happy camper! On this pizza, they are an awakening of the senses from their acidic aroma to the richness that they possess.
I truly enjoyed this pizza, I sat with myself and each section or season if you may and was transported through memory and sensory as I bit into each one of these pizza slices.
This is a great pizza because it can satisfy the meat person, the veggie person and the adventurous one all in one crust.
It is Saturday and here it is still freezing cold. Put on your favorite movie, get those blankets and enjoy a wonderful heart-felt pizza night!