Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Grilled Pizza

I've wanted to do this FOREVER and I finally worked up the nerve today. Grilled pizza is fun and flavorful and a great way to avoid heating up your house with a hot oven in the summer. Grilling pizza is easiest if you make individual pizzas instead of one big one. If you are having guests over, offer a variety of toppings and let them go to town.

The most important trick to grilling pizza is having all of your toppings ready to go by the grill. You'll be starting the dough alone, but once you flip it, you have to work quickly to spread the sauce and add your toppings.

You can use any old pizza dough but I found a great dough recipe by Ina Garten (whose studio kitchen I totally covet) on FoodNetwork.com that makes enough for about 6 individual pizzas. It calls for 2 tsp. of kosher salt which is a coarser salt than the table salt we usually use in recipes. If you don't have kosher salt, you can substitute your regular table salt, but I do recommend getting kosher salt if you can because it's flavor is milder and it undergoes less processing (and you can use it in other recipes).

The pizza sauce recipe I also found online. It makes a very thick sauce but if you prefer a thinner sauce, just add water. If you find you don't need it all, pour the remainder into a freezer-weight Ziploc bag, press out the air, and freeze for next time. And please, please add the fennel. That is the "secret ingredient" when it comes to pizza sauce tasting authentic. It, too, can be used in other recipes (spaghetti, lasagna, etc.) so it's worth getting.

PIZZA DOUGH for GRILLING
by Ina Garten on FoodNetwork.com

1 1/4 cups warm water (100-110 degrees)
2 (0.75 oz) packages (or 4 1/2 tsp.) dry yeast
3 Tbsp. olive oil
1 Tbsp. honey
4 cups all-purpose flour (plus more for kneading)
2 tsp. kosher salt

Combine the water, yeast, oil, and honey in the bowl of an electric mixer* fitted with a dough hook. Add 3 cups of flour, then the salt, and mix. While mixing, add 1 more cup of flour or enough to make a soft dough. Knead the dough on low to medium speed for 10 minutes until smooth, sprinkling it with flour as needed to keep it from sticking to the bowl.

When the dough is ready, turn it onto a lightly floured surface and knead by hand a dozen times or until smooth and elastic. Place the dough in a well-oiled boil and turn a couple of times to lightly cover it in oil. Cover with a kitchen towel and allow the dough to rest at room temperature for 30 minutes.

Divide the dough into 6 equal parts and roll each into a smooth ball. Place the balls on a baking sheet and cover with a damp towel. Allow the dough to rest for 10 minutes. Use immediately or refrigerate up to 4 hours.

If you've chilled the dough, take it out approximately 30 minutes ahead to let it come to room temperature. Roll and stretch each ball into a rough 8-inch circle and place on a waxed paper-lined baking sheet, putting a sheet of waxed paper between each:

(I rolled the first 2 pizzas too big and they cooked a lot faster than the rest.)

Spray grill lightly with cooking spray. Preheat to med-high heat (about 350-400 degrees). Place the pizzas directly on the grill, 2 or 3 at a time, and cook on one side for 1 minute. Flip pizzas over and spread with sauce; add desired toppings. Put the lid on the grill and cook for 5 more minutes or until the crust is crisp and the toppings are cooked:


*You can make the dough without a mixer: Combine the ingredients as listed, mix with a wooden spoon or by hand. Knead by hand for about 10-12 minutes or until dough is smooth and elastic. Follow remaining directions.

PIZZA SAUCE
slightly adapted from Ultimate Pizza Sauce on Food.com

2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 Tbsp. butter
1/2 cup onion, finely chopped
1/4 cup celery, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1 (8 oz) can tomato sauce
1 (6 oz) can tomato paste
2 Tbsp. grated Parmesan cheese
1 tsp. dried basil
1 tsp. dried oregano
1 tsp. fennel seed
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. sugar
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1 small bay leaf
water, if desired

In a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt butter in olive oil and saute onion, celery, and garlic until tender. Add tomato sauce and tomato paste and stir until smooth. Add remaining ingredients (adding enough water to achieve desired consistency) and simmer for 15-30 minutes. Remove bay leaf and spread on prepared pizza dough.

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