Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Fancy schmancy

Even with a habit as well established as Friday Pizza Night, there’s room for innovation. Especially with something as adaptable as pizza, which is amenable to pretty much whatever you can think (within reason) to put on it. And well worth doing when you’ve got a guest coming, who might a) appreciate the extra bit of effort involved in having two different kinds of pizza on offer, and b) be more likely than DP and Miss B to branch out and try something that sounds a bit more sophisticated--dare I say fancy?--than the standard weekly offering of pepperoni/salami/sausage topped with mozzarella.

Pizza rustica with caramelized onions and goat cheese
Pizza rustica is my fancy Italian way of saying “I’m not a professional, so don’t expect this pizza to look magazine-ready.” I served this alongside the more traditional tomato/meat/mozzarella topping mentioned earlier, a Caesar salad, some warm rolls baked from the same batch of bread dough, and a bottle of red. An added bonus is that this version is vegetarian, should you happen to be feeding an eater of that persuasion.

2 tsp olive oil (divided)
1 tsp semolina or all-purpose/plain flour
1 red onion
1 recipe bread dough, made and risen
1 recipe zesty pizza sauce
1 log fresh goat cheese (about 3 oz/100g)

Preheat oven to 500F/250C. If you have any specialist pizza-cooking equipment, prepare that now. If, like me, you haven’t, grease a baking sheet with 1 tsp of the olive oil and sprinkle it with semolina if you’ve got some handy. (If not, don’t worry; in that case I’d probably use a bit of flour instead.)

Put the other 1 tsp of oil to heat in a heavy-bottomed frying pan over medium-low heat. Peel and thinly slice the onion, then put in the frying pan to sauté gently until lightly browned, about 15-20 minutes. While this is cooking, get on with the rest of the pizza, pausing to stir the onions every 3-4 minutes.

Take a lump of dough about as big as your two fists and stretch it flat to cover your chosen baking sheet; you can do this using your hands, in the manner of a pizza-joint maestro (throwing crust in the air optional), or if you are less dexterous at this sort of thing (*cough*), you can use a rolling pin.

Once the dough has been stretched and positioned to your satisfaction, slather it with 2-3 large-ish scoops of pizza sauce (say, 1-2 cups), leaving a thin edge of crust to hold onto later. Sprinkle the sauce with the now-caramelized onions, then slice the log of goat cheese and scatter chunks over the surface of the pizza.

Place prepared pizza into very hot oven and cook for 5-7 minutes, checking on progress every couple of minutes, and reversing position of baking sheet if browning appears uneven. Remove from oven when edges of crust are crispy and lightly browned and goat cheese looks melty around the edges. Slice and serve immediately.

Makes 1 medium-sized 8-slice pizza.


Cookie baker Lynn said... Best Blogger Tips

I love a good pizza and this one sounds heavenly!

Roving Lemon said... Best Blogger Tips

Thanks Lynn! I was very excited to discover today that my local supermarket is now stocking fresh goat cheese in quantity. I see many of these in my future....

Jini said... Best Blogger Tips

Nancy - This is my very first comment on anyone's blog - ever! I made your pizza last weekend and loved it. Being lactose intolerant, I usually avoid pizza like the plague, but I can eat goat's cheese so I had to give this a try. Simply delicious, either hot from the oven or cold the next day. I made a mistake and used the whole quantity of dough, but it's enough for two pizzas, whereas I think the sauce is probably best to use on a single pizza. Another mistake: I couldn't work out the cooking time. If halving the amount of dough, perhaps 5-7 minutes is enough. I expect I overcooked it, but it was delicious all the same. Excuse me for going on about it: I'll curtail my enthusiasm in future. XX

Roving Lemon said... Best Blogger Tips

Jini - welcome to the wonderful world of blog commenting! And please feel free to go on as much as you like - feedback is always welcome! I do think the amount of cooking time will vary based upon your oven, the size of the pizza and how crispy/doughy you like your crust; I check mine after 5 minutes and then about every 2 minutes after that until it looks the way I want it.

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