I must confess that I do not make my own pizza dough. It’s not because I haven’t heard of Peter Reinhart’s much-praised dough or am just too lazy (well not 100% because of that at least). I haven’t given it much thought because fresh pizza dough is so readily available to me at Iavarone Bros, which I’ve given love to in the past.
IB makes their dough fresh and freezes them in plastic bags just waiting to be taken home by pizza-lovers like me. Their dough is a dream to work with once thawed and it produces a pizza with the taste and consistency as those my local pizzeria. It’s what I would strive to make mine like so why not just focus on all of the yummy toppings and leave the dough to the experts?
That is exactly what I do and for $1.50 a bag, I keep a few stocked in my freezer so I can pull one out before I leave for work in the morning when I feel a pizza craving coming on. I prepare the toppings when I get home and a fresh “gourmet” pizza will be ready for us within an hour.
I knew that once we brought home the delicate ramps from the farmer’s market, they were destined to be a topping on pizza. I didn’t want to overpower the flavor of the ramps by using heavy flavors like red sauce or pepperoni so I opted for a white pie and used prosciutto to add a delicate saltiness.
Ramp and Ricotta Pizza
serves two for lunch if you also have a salad alongside
1 prepared pizza dough (I try to flip mine around to make it as round as possible but I wasn’t patient enough to let the dough come to room temperature on Sunday so it was harder to make into a circle. I gave up and made it rectangular instead. It came out to be a perfectly respectable thin crust 18×8 pizza.)
1 cup of fresh whole-milk ricotta mixed with 8-10 cloves of garlic confit
4 ounces of fresh mozzarella, thiny sliced or shredded (I used smoked mozz because I love the flavor of it)
2 ounces of prosciutto
1 bunch of ramps, whites and greens chopped, with a handful of the greens reserved
fresh cracked black pepper
extra-virgin olive oil
handful of basil
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees with an oven rack on the lowest shelf. Set a pizza stone/upside down baking sheet on the rack to heat along with the oven.
Generously and evenly spread – washed fingers are the best tool for this – the ricotta/garlic mixture onto the dough and go almost to the edge. Since there’s nothing really liquidy going onto the dough, you don’t have to worry too much about any leaking that could happen over the edges.
Then distribute the smoked mozz ramps, and slices of prosciutto over the pizza. Finish by drizzling on some olive oil and sprinkling some fresh black pepper over the whole thing.
Place the pan that the pizza’s been assembled on directly onto the pizza stone/baking sheet that’s been heating in the oven. Bake for 10 minutes and then slide the pizza directly onto the pizza stone/bottom baking sheet to crisp up the bottom. At this point, sprinkle the reserved ramps on top. That way you get two layers of ramp flavor: really cooked and just slightly cooked.
Bake for another 5-10 minutes depending on how toasted you like your pizza/toppings. Take out of the oven and tear basil leaves over the whole thing. Let it rest for a few minutes if you can resist and then slice and enjoy!
The sky’s the limit when it comes to toppings when you make pizza in the comfort of your own home. Nobody will judge you if you make them w/ anchovies ;)
After having been preparing pizza obsessively for almost a year, I have some bits of advice on how to make a successful pizza at home.
- If you are making a red sauce, make sure that it is reduced to beyond what would be appropriate for pasta. This is so that it won’t release too much water as the pizza cooks in the oven.
- Be sparing with the toppings.
- It’s best to use toppings that are already fully cooked. Meats and vegetables release water as they cook so if you put them on raw, it won’t be a good scene.
- Make sure all ingredients are at room temperature so everything heats up evenly. This way you won’t have cheese that isn’t melted yet while your crust is nicely browned.
- Get a good pizza cutter/wheel so the cheese/topping won’t drag as you cut your pizza