Friday, August 27, 2010

Smoked Mozzarella Pizza...

We've been doing this Friday Pizza Night for some time now, but I couldn't recall just when we begin... when I went to go see just how long, I was shocked to see it has been over two years already! We started our first pizza night back in July '08 with that Nectarine and Prosciutto Pizza, though I was not sure at the time we would stick with it, but I'm sure glad we did! I thought it would be harder to come up with new pizzas, but this palate seems to be pretty endless in variations.

In this week's rendition, Arugula, Ricotta and Smoked Mozzarella Pizza, you'll find a mess of cheeses, a crisp crust and garden fresh tomatoes (though, not from my backyard!) on top.

Using our homemade whole wheat pizza dough as the base, we massaged the stretched-out round with just enough extra-virgin olive oil to coat, then eased the glistening dough onto a heated baking stone (which has weathered these two years well, seasoning itself a little darker with each use) to give the baking process a jump start. If you like a softer crust, you can skip this pre-bake.

If you used a food processor to make your dough (which, again, is such a snap to do if you haven't tried it!), don't bother cleaning it - just give it a quick wipe or rinse as you'll be using it to make the topping. Ricotta, garlic and salt are whirled around first, smoothing the soft cheese out, followed by the second cheese - a liberal amount of mozzarella! However, this is not your ordinary fresh mozzarella; with this pie, you'll need the savory smoked variety - it makes all the difference here. Joining the cheese is a packed cupful of arugula - when you blend these two in, don't let the processor go full-boar... just pulse it a few times until it is combined, yet still chunky.

With the partially baked crust taken out from the oven and cooled slightly, the cheesy concoction (now tinted green, thanks to the arugula) is spread all over the top, leaving a slight clean rim around the edge for a crunchy handle. With all that heaviness on top, thin slices of beefy Roma tomatoes are arranged on top to lighten up the load, along with adding a splash of color. For a little va-va-voom to the tomatoes, we took a couple more teaspoons of extra-virgin olive oil and kissed each slice with a few drops.

Baked once more to warm the tomatoes through, finish crisping the crust and nudge the cheese mixture into a slick pool of goodness (yes, once again, that's how Jeff chose to describe this...), you'll want to be sure to give this a few minutes to rest before you divide the pizza into wedges. We used to use an old pizza wheel, but once we realized we were hooked on this weekly pizza binge, Jeff picked up one of those nifty pizza rocker blades for me and we haven't looked back - it works well for cutting bar cookies too!

Since we didn't use a ton of arugula, I wasn't expecting much of it to come through against the forceful mozzarella, but its peppery kick still managed to show up. Jeff didn't know if he'd like the tomatoes on this and was ready to flick them off, but he gave it a shot and surprised himself with how much he enjoyed the playful dance between the smokiness from the cheese and acidic bite of the tomato slices.


  1. It's only taken me two years but I finally tried your favorite pizza dough. It is so simple using the food processor. I've made it every week these past couple of months and it always comes out great. We have had a lot of fun trying your recipes and coming up with a few of our own.

  2. Terri - Awesome! Thanks for giving the dough a shot!