Recipe of the Week: Basil, Tomato and Mozzarella Grilled Pizza
My family loves pizza, and with everybody’s crazy schedules it is hard to get together and sit down for dinner all at the same time. I found a great way to fix the problem; I make and cook the dough ahead and then let everyone create their own pizza with a variety of toppings, and then after a few minutes in the oven presto fresh homemade pizza. It took me over 30 years to realize that the best place to get the crispy flavor of Neapolitan pizza is to make it on the grill. Enjoy the crisp texture of a Neapolitan pizza in your own home; it is easier than calling for takeout. Makes eight individual pizzas. (Chef tip: Make sure that you pre-heat the grill to hot and brush it with oil. Brush both sides of your pizza dough with olive oil; once you see bubbles forming on the skin of the dough, flip over and cook for a few more minutes.)
1 cup warm water (95°F-110°F)
1 teaspoon dry yeast
1 teaspoon sugar
3 cups “00” flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup olive oil, plus extra
8 ounces fresh mozzarella, sliced
1 cup cherry tomatoes, cut in half
1/4 cup basil leaves, cleaned and sliced or torn
Place water in a bowl, stir in yeast and sugar. Cover with a plastic wrap and let it proof for 10 minutes in a warm spot. Mix two cups of flour with the proofed yeast. Mix with the help of a fork. The dough will be sticky and wet. Place in a bowl covered with plastic wrap and allow to rest for 30 minutes or more in a warm spot away from drafts.
Add remaining one cup of flour, 1/4 cup of olive oil and salt. Mix ingredients well by hand or in a food processor. Work the dough for 10 minutes until smooth and elastic. (Add a little more flour or water if needed). Shape the dough into a ball and place it in an oiled bowl. Cover with plastic wrap. Let the dough rise until double in bulk for 40 minutes.
Brush with oil the clean grill grate. Fire up the grill. Punch down and divide dough in eight equal pieces. Roll out each piece to about 1/8 inch thick. Brush lightly with olive oil on both sides.
Place dough directly on the grill grate 4 inches to 6 inches above the heat. Allow dough to rise and puff and grill marks to appear. Grill about five minutes on both sides.
Remove from direct heat. Brush with oil and place off to the side. Repeat with the other pieces of dough. Place cheese on top of the dough and close the lid to let the cheese melt about five minutes.
Remove from the grill. Prior to serving, the pizzas can be topped with the fresh tomato, basil and fresh mozzarella, drizzled with olive oil.