Sunday, September 21, 2008

Thin Crust Pizza with Prosciutto, Grapes, and Herbs

It would appear that my culinary inspiration has finally come back! FINALLY!

Thursday night, as I was fishing a few packages of homemade pizza dough from the freezer, I noticed a package of some homemade vinegar-based garlic-herb paste (more on that later), and a smidge of some Prima Donna cheese that I couldn't finish off and had decided to freeze.

I knew I had the start of something tasty, but I wanted more. The Prima Donna has a nutty flavor and melts nicely. I felt that something salty or something sweet would be a good match for the cheese. I had some proscuitto on hand and, as I reached for it, noticed the super-sweet green grapes in the crisper. Why pick salty or sweet, when you can have both? ;) For good measure, I added a wee bit of havarti and some asiago, too.

Here's the pizza topped and ready for the oven.

I truly enjoyed my newly regained culinary inspiration, and my pizza, too! The combination of tart, sweet, salty, and nutty was out of this world. I ate 1/2 of the pizza in one sitting!

No, I didn't let Hubby starve. He got his own pizza -- homemade San Marzano tomato sauce, mozz, asiago, and mushrooms.

Thin Crust Pizza with Prosciutto, Grapes, and Herbs
I routinely make several batches of Peter Reinhart's pizza dough. The only thing I do differently is add a bit more salt to the dough. I find that I get the best results from this dough if I bake it a bit prior to topping it. Your results may differ.

You could use pesto instead of the herb paste, but I really enjoyed the tanginess of the vinegar-based garlic-herb paste.

6 oz pizza dough of your choice
1/4 c garlic-herb paste (or pesto)
1 oz havarti cheese
1 1/2 oz Prima Donna cheese, shredded or chunked
red onion, sliced
4 slices proscuitto
1/2 c green grapes, cut lengthwise into thirds
1 oz grated asiago cheese
kosher salt
freshly ground pepper
glug of olive oil

1) About 40 mins prior to readying the pizza, heat oven to 550 degrees (or more if your oven goes higher).
2) Stretch out the pizza dough. (I like mine VERY thin.)
3) Bake on a pizza stone or in a prepared pizza pan until crust is lightly brown on the bottom.
4) Pull out the pizza dough and smear it with the garlic-herb paste (or pesto).
5) Sprinkle on the Prima Donna and havarti cheeses.
6) Tear up the prosciutto and distribute over the cheeses.
7) Add the red onion and grapes.
8) Top with the asiago, a sprinkle of salt, generous fine grinding of pepper, and a bit of olive oil.
9) Return to oven and bake until cheeses are melted and prosciutto is crisp.

Garlic-Herb Paste
I whipped up this paste a few months ago after I'd trimmed a thriving basil plant in my garden. I wanted to preserve the basil and nearly created a pesto. Instead, I opted for something a bit lighter, using vinegar instead of oil to loosen the mixture.

No measurements on this one, since it really goes by your personal taste.

cloves of garlic, peeled
fresh basil
fresh parsley
white wine vinegar
kosher salt

Place garlic and herbs in a food processor equipped with a metal blade. Add white wine vinegar until mixture becomes homogenous. Season with kosher salt. Vacuum package or freeze in ice cube trays.

Try this paste in a pot of brown rice, in a soup, in a pasta salad, or on your favorite pizza.

4 red beans:

Swedish Mike said...

That's looking really good. I need to bake myself a pizza soon.

Glad to hear that your inspiration is back too. I've been in the same situation and it's so frustrating that it's not true. Hopefully it won't go away for a long, long time now.

// Mike

Katherine Aucoin said...

Your pizza looks amazing! You are a talented woman, making your own dough. Nothing like homemade pizza!

Anonymous said...

Looks like a pretty yummy pizza! I didn't think for a minute that your hubby was gonna eat that however - good thing you made him the other one (which also looked yummy).


Gumbeaux Gal said...

Hi Swedish Mike, thanks for the compliment. I'm enjoying your blog. Your recent recipe for hake looks quite tasty!

Thanks, Katherine! It's not talent! I've always had trouble with pizza dough until I found Peter Reinhart's dough recipe. It's very easy to make and handle. You should be able to find it on the Internet and also in his book, American Pie.

Thanks, m2! Yeah, you know Hubby too well. To be honest, I was glad that I didn't have to share MY pizza!

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