There are few foods that conjure up as much emotional attachment and enjoyment as pizza. It’s no wonder this amazing creation has risen from humble beginnings to become one of the world’s most exciting, popular and interesting foods.
If pizza is on your mind for dinner tonight, do not be afraid to try something different than just the usual pepperoni and cheese. Using fresh, farmer’s market ingredients is the best. Here are a few recipe combinations that are delicious and fun to try. But don’t let these limit you: “The pizza crust is your palette and you are the artist!”
HOW TO GRILL A PIZZA
Cooking a pizza in a traditional oven is good, but many believe the tastiest way is in a wood-fired oven. Most of us don’t own a wood-fired pizza oven, so the next best thing is the grill. Prepare your dough and toppings. Grill veggies first, so they are tender.
If you are using a charcoal grill, make sure all the ashes are out of the bottom of the grill. Start the charcoal and let it ash over (turn white). Then spread the coals around evenly. Close the lid and open the dampers. Let it preheat for about 5 minutes. If you are using a gas grill, preheat on medium-high for about 15 minutes.
- Make your dough and flatten to your preferred size, shape and thickness.
- Make sure your grill grates are very clean to prevent the dough from sticking. Spray grates with oil or baste the dough with oil.
- Use a pizza paddle or peel to place the dough on the grill. If you want, you can use parchment paper or foil.
- Close the lid and let the crust bake for about 3-5 minutes, depending on thickness of the dough.
- Remove the half-cooked pizza dough and flip over onto your preparation table. Add your toppings to the grilled side, and then place back on the grill.
Close the lid and bake an additional 3-4 minutes.
Basic Pizza Dough
- 1 cup warm water
- 1 Tbsp. sugar
- 1¼ ounce packet (2¼ tsp.) active dry yeast
- 3 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing
- 3¾ cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
- 1 tsp. salt
Add some seasoning like garlic, rosemary or fresh parmesan for a unique flavor.
- Whisk 1 cup warm water (105°F) and the sugar in a bowl; sprinkle the yeast on top. Set aside until foamy, about 10 minutes. Stir in the olive oil.
- Whisk the flour and salt in a large bowl. Make a well in the center of the flour and pour in the yeast mixture. Gradually stir with a wooden spoon to make a rough dough.
- Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead until smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes, dusting with more flour if necessary. Form into two balls. Brush two large bowls with olive oil, add a ball of dough to each and turn to coat with the oil. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and set aside at room temperature until doubled in size, about 1 hour and 30 minutes.
Gluten-Free Pizza Crust
- 1 head cauliflower, stalk removed
- ½ cup shredded mozzarella
- ½ tsp. dried oregano
- ½ tsp. kosher salt
- ¼ tsp. garlic
- 2 eggs, lightly beaten
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Break the cauliflower into florets and pulse in a food processor until fine. Steam in a steamer basket and drain well. (I like to put it on a towel to get all the moisture out.) Let cool.
- In a bowl, combine the cauliflower with the mozzarella, oregano, salt, garlic and eggs. Transfer to the center of the baking sheet and spread into a circle, resembling a pizza crust. Bake for 10-15 minutes or until crust is browned. Do not flip.
- Add desired toppings and bake on the grill for an additional 5-8 minutes or until toppings are slightly browned.
Carmelized Onion, Proscuitto, Dates and Goat Cheese Pizza
- 1 large onion, chopped
- ⅛ cup balsamic vinegar
- 2 Tbsp. butter, divided
- ½ cup chopped Medjool dates
- ½ cup chopped proscuitto
- 6 oz. Chevré (soft goat cheese)
- Carmelize the onion. Chop onion, or you can cut in strips and melt 1 Tbsp. butter in a pan. Saute onions in butter until brown and totally caramelized. (Wait patiently; this can take up to 45 minutes, but it’s worth it!) Add balsamic vinegar and reduce, takes about 2-4 minutes. Melt in 1 Tbsp. butter.
- Use the caramelized onions as your sauce and then top with the other ingredients.
- Bake until cheese is melted.
Dawn’s Favorite toppings
- Sweet potatoes, mashed with garlic and butter (for the sauce)
- Chevré (soft goat cheese)
- Bacon, cooked and chopped
- Walnuts or almonds, crushed
- Spinach, chopped
Dawn Sanborn is a pizza aficionado because of her Chicago-land roots and can often be found conjuring up new and fun pizza topping combinations.