Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Prosciutto Pizza with Caramelized Shallots and Arugula

I have a love-love relationship with pizza.  The dough, the cheese, the different toppings and how no two pizzas are ever really the same.  I adore restaurant pizza, but what I love the most is making pizza at home.  It is so fun to be able to create your own and use whatever toppings you like and it is super kid friendly.  Sadly, pizza does not go hand in hand with the low-carb lifestyle my husband and I try to stick to, but we do splurge a couple times a month with it.  Our favorite pizza recipe is this one.  It seems a little fancy and goes amazingly well with red or white wine, but it really could not be simpler to put together.  I use store bought pizza dough and let my ingredients themselves work as the sauce.  Prosciutto is a thinly sliced, cured Italian ham that has a mild, salty taste and when cooked, it turns super crispy and delicious with way less fat than pepperoni.  I use a mix Fontina cheese for its earthy, nutty taste and Mozzarella cheese for its mild, gooey texture.  The caramelized shallots add a little sweetness, while the peppery arugula ties all the flavors together and wilts down perfectly on the hot pizza.  This pizza is gorgeous to look at and has so many incredible flavors that play perfectly off of each other.  It is fabulous as a main course and you can also slice it in smaller pieces for an impressive appetizer. 

Here is what you need:

1 pre-packaged bag of pizza dough or 1 pre-made pizza crust (I use the wheat dough from Trader Joe's but almost all grocery stores have pizza dough in their refridgerated sections and some pizza places will sell theirs)
1/2-1 cup of flour
4 shallots (1 onion would work great too)
4-5 slices of Procsiutto
1 1/2 cups of cheese ( I use Fontina and Mozzeralla but use what you like or have on hand)
1-2 handfuls of arugula
3-4 tbsp of Olive Oil - divided
1 tsp of salt - divided
1 tsp of pepper - divided

This is what you do:
Prepare the dough as the package states and caramelize your shallots.  Transfer the dough to a pizza stone or baking sheet and add all your toppings except the arugula.  Bake pizza per package directions.  Once it is ready add your arugula and drizzle a little bit of olive oil over the whole thing.

Serves 2-6 for main course or 8-10 for appetizer

First thing to do is check your pizza dough instructions.  The one I use says to remove dough from packaging and place on a floured surface for 30 minutes.  Do what yours says and be sure to use flour all over your surface and rolling pin.  If you do not have a rolling pin, a floured bottle of wine will work too.
No dough will be sticking in my kitchen today.
While the dough is setting up, slice your shallots (or onions) to begin caramelizing.  This takes about 20 minutes, so you will want to give yourself time for it.  Caramelizing is cooking onions or shallots with oil or butter over low heat to draw the sugars and sweetness out of them.  Slice shallots thin and add them with 1-2 tablespoons of oil to a pan over low heat.  Make sure all the shallots are coated in the oil and add 1/2 tsp each of salt and pepper.  Keep an eye on them and keep mixing them.  You want a light brown color, not burned.  When finished they will be sweet and delightful.
I could eat these like candy.

If you are using fresh dough, you will have to roll it out.  The great thing is that this creates a beautiful rustic look and really adds to the appeal of this pizza.  However, it can be frustrating if the dough is not doing what you want.  What helps me is using plenty of flour and starting in the center of the dough and rolling out, kind of like you are tracing a star.  I actually turn the dough and work from the center until is start to look like the shape you want.  Then I will roll over any lumps and transfer to my cooking vessel. 
 Start from the middle and roll out toward the edges.
Like I said, we're going for the rustic look.

Now, you want to season your dough, especially since we are going sauce-less.  Pour 2-3 tbsp of olive oil on the dough and use a brush or back of a spoon to get the oil all over the dough, all the way out to the edges.  This will give the whole pizza a ton of flavor.

Then add your remaining 1/2 tsp each of salt and pepper and any other seasoning you like.  Red pepper flakes would be amazing here.  Make sure your seasonings spread the entire area of the dough also.  Add the caramelized shallots next.  We add them here so the cheese protects them from burning in the oven.
A sauce of olive oil and shallots-yes, please!

Now, add your cheese and then rip up your prosciutto in strips and add them all over your pizza.   Cook as the directions state.  I cook mine at 475 degrees for 10 minutes.

This is what emerges from the oven...
You may be thinking, "how can this get better?"

Well, the addition of arugula on the top with a drizzle of olive oil is how.  The peppery, delicate arugula leaf wilts down ever so perfectly to create the most delicious, balanced bite of pizza you may have ever had.  But, if you absolutely do not want to add it or don't like it, that is cool.  The pizza will still be fantastic.  The drizzle of oil creates a little more moisture adds great flavor.
I mean, we can practically call this a salad now.

Slice it up, and enjoy!  My husband and I may or may not have eaten the whole thing the other night.  It is that good!

Don't forget the wine!