This was very fun to make and I actually can’t believe the finished product looks like it was semi supposed to look! I like to keep things simple when it comes to cooking but if you would like the make it from scratch recipe you can find @lastingredient instructions below.
I called a local pizza shop and ordered dough that had already risen. I picked up the dough and purchased the sauce, pesto and a ball of mozzarella cheese at Whole Foods. I cooked the pizza dough with the sauce and pesto already on top and then put the slices of cheese I cut from the ball of mozzarella on the pizza and watched it closely. I wanted it to start melting but still wanted the cheese to semi hold its shape. The mozzarella was kind of watery so i dabbed some of the extra liquid with a paper towel. There are two things you can do to try and prevent this from happening (see below) . I then cut some pitted black olives to create eyes and a mouth!
1) Lengthen Sitting Time
Instead of placing the mozzarella onto the pizza right after it is cut, slice the fresh mozzarella ahead of time and set the slices on a towel to absorb excess moisture for at least 15 minutes. You can also dab the top of the slices to soak up extra moisture. Once the mozzarella slices seem dry, you must add to the pizza and bake.
2) Shorten Cooking Time
After you have put the sauce and any other toppings on the pizza, place in the oven without the cheese; do not put the fresh mozzarella on the pizza until the last few minutes of cooking time. Fresh mozzarella only takes a few minutes to melt, and if it melts and then continues to sit on the pizza as it bakes, the cheese will start releasing moisture.
The pizza was delicious, very festive and most importantly a ton of fun! To see @lastingredient’s recipe keep reading.
“There are a few foods I love so much that I could eat them every single day, and pizza makes the cut. I adore chewy, perfectly browned crust simply with tomato sauce and mozzarella. Toppings make an occasional appearance, but I am more than content with a classic margarita pizza void of gimmicky additions. Any style pizza will do as long as it is not deep dish—apologies to Chicago! I feel fortunate to call this phenomenal city home, but I have never been a fan of its signature pie. With all the Neapolitan pizza spots that have opened here in the last few years, I know I am in the good company of other Chicagoans.
My pizza consumption is not limited to dining out or delivery. I rely on my well-worn pizza stone during cold weather months, and when the temperature warms up, I head straight outside to the grill because restaurant-quality crust is a sure thing with grilled pizza. The dough is placed right on the grates and grilled on both sides before it is taken off, so the toppings can be quickly slathered on the crust. The pizza returns to the heat to allow the cheese to melt. The grill-marked pie is enough to make me reconsider how I make pizza year round, but for now I will bask in the sunshine-filled months ahead.
Makes two 12-inch pizzas
1-1/4 cups warm water
1 packet dry active yeast (2-1/4 teaspoons)
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
1 tablespoon olive oil plus more for oiling bowl
3 cups bread flour plus more for dusting
1 teaspoon kosher salt
For tomato sauce
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
1-28 ounce can whole peeled tomatoes
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 pinch red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon olive oil
8 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese, roughly torn into pieces
1 handful baby arugula
1 tablespoon crumbled Parmesan
For the dough, combine the water, yeast, sugar and olive oil and let stand for 5 minutes until foamy. In a large bowl, mix together the flour and salt. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and stir until it forms a shaggy dough. Turn the dough onto a lightly floured work surface and knead for 10 minutes until the dough is smooth and elastic. (Alternatively, the dough can be mixed in the bowl of a stand mixer using a dough hook.)
Gather the dough into a ball, transfer to an oiled bowl and cover. Place the bowl in a warm spot to allow the dough to rise until it has doubled in size, about 1-1/2 – 2 hours.
For the tomato sauce, heat the olive oil in a large skillet until it is shimmering. Sauté the garlic cloves for a few minutes, so they become fragrant. Add the tomatoes, salt, pepper and red pepper flakes and simmer for 30 minutes until the sauce has slightly thickened. As the sauce is cooking, break up the tomatoes using the back of a wooden spoon or a potato masher. If you prefer a smoother consistency, when the sauce has finished cooking, transfer it to a blender and puree.
Once the dough has risen, give it a quick knead and divide it into 2 equal portions. On a lightly floured work surface roll out the dough into two 12” diameter circles. They do not need to be perfectly round.
Preheat a gas or charcoal grill on high heat. Place the rolled dough directly on the grates and grill for 3-4 minutes with the lid closed until the crusts have grill marks and have puffed up. Turn over the crusts and grill for an additional 2 minutes.
Remove the crusts from the grill and flip them over so the first side that was grilled is facing down. Brush the tops of the crusts with olive oil. Spread the sauce leaving a 1/2-inch border at the edge and scatter the cheese on top.
Return the pizzas to the grill and cook until the cheese has melted, about 3 minutes. You may need to lower the heat a bit to make sure the crusts do not burn.
Top with arugula and crumbled Parmesan before serving.
Note: If you have extra tomato sauce, store it in the refrigerator up to 5 days or keep it in the freezer up to a month. The tomato sauce also works well on pasta.” – www.lastingredient.com