Friday, November 4, 2011

PPP Pizza

That's right. Pear, prosciutto and pecorino pizza is what I am making for this post. A completely contemporary take on the old peasant dish, this pizza pairs cured meat with sweet pears, salty cheese and a tangy balsamic glaze to finish it all off. The recipe is a little involved for a homemade pizza but store bought dough makes this a fail safe meal.

We need to prepare two ingredients before we get down to making this pizza. Here they are:

Peppery poached pears:
2-3 medium ripe pears, peeled, quartered and cored
1 quart water
1 cup sugar
3/4 teaspoon fresh ground pepper

1. Bring water sugar and pepper to a boil in a pot.
2. Add the pears.
3. Boil for 10-12 minutes until tender, then remove from water and reserve. (Its best to get them to room temp.)

Balsamic reduction:
3 cups of any kind of broth, or water
1 teaspoon dried rosemary
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon butter

1. Bring first three ingredients to a boil in a sauce pan and reduce by half.
2. Add balsamic vinegar and reduce until about 1/3 of a cup is left.
3. Remove from heat and whisk in butter. Reserve for pizza.

To make the pizza:
1 lbs store bought dough
Crushed tomato (enough to achieve your desired amount of sauce)
Shredded mozzarella cheese
Grated pecorino cheese
4 oz. prosciutto
Peppery poached pears
Balsamic reduction
Parchment paper

1. Put oven rack to lowest position possible and set the oven to 500F.
2.  While the oven preheats, roll out dough into a 14-16 inch circle as best you can. Throw a piece of parchment paper on top and flip the pizza over so that the parchment is on the bottom. (Roll it out more if you need to after doing this.)
3. Fold a paper towel in half twice and soak it. Squeeze out most of the water then dab the 2 inches around the outside of the pizza with it. Roll the edges on the wet dough to make the crust.
4. Spoon the desired amount of tomatoes on the pizza and sprinkle a 1/4 cup of mozzarella on it as well. Slice the pears thinly and add to pizza in a uniform manner. Pull the prosciutto into pieces using your hands and evenly distribute over pizza. Throw a 1/4 cup of mozzarella on top of that and then cover the pizza in shaved pecorino cheese, to taste. Using a wisk or fork fling the reduction over pizza to lightly cover pizza. (You can always add more at the end.) Finish with salt and pepper.
5. Slide a sheet pan under the parchment paper and check oven temp. Make sure its up to 500F, this is a key to making a good crust.
6. Put the pizza in the oven for at least 10 minutes and check. Cook to your desired degree of doneness by poking the crust to see how hard it is. (I prefer my pizza brown with a crispy crust so I usually go for 13.)
7. Let the pizza rest at least 5 minutes, then cut.

When you're done, it should look something like this:

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