Fire Roasted Tomato & Ricotta Pizza

Okay, everyone, let’s give it up once again for the good people at Bon Appetit magazine!  Honestly, when it comes to cooking magazines I’m an easy mark.  I was walking through the Kowalski’s Market near work, innocently looking for lunch of some sort, when I saw the cover photo of the March 2012 issue and knew immediately that I had to have it.  It was a brilliantly colorful image (of course) of a Tomato & Stracciatella Pizza with a big headline that read “Make Pizza Like a Pro”.  It was a wonderful rustic looking thing, with charred bits on the edges of the crust, and dotted with swirled dollops of a creamy cheese which I later learned was stracciatella.

Hmm.  Pizza like a pro sounded like a challenge, and I have to admit I’m getting to be pretty confident with my pizza skills.  It’s not always perfect, but it’s usually pretty darned good.  But right below that bold headline it said “Pie Master Jim Lahey Shares His Secrets”, and at that point I knew I had to have it.  Blast you, Marketing staff at Bon Appetit!

So, fast forward to the results:  I did learn something from this article, and I’m glad they pushed my buttons to make me buy it.  First, I learned how to get tomatoes onto my pie without going for the can of sauce.  I don’t mind sauce, but it really isn’t a favorite in my house.  My girls are partial to the sauceless variety, with a layering of extra virgin olive oil instead.  I did brush the crust with olive oil, but the addition of crushed tomatoes was wonderful.  I will say that the original recipe calls for canned tomatoes, and I trusted my instincts and substituted canned fire-roasted tomatoes instead.  Big flavor win!

Secondly, the method for making crust here takes more time (overnight), but the resulting texture is something that I’ve been wanting to create for a long, long time.  It definitely required some skill in handling, but the slightly wet and sticky dough yielded a crust that was crispy on the bottom but light and chewy everywhere else.  I’ll go back to my other methods for crust from time to time, but this is probably my favorite of any I’ve made.  We were very happy with this pie.

To sum it up: thanks Jim Lahey for sharing your secrets!  We’re pizza hounds in this house, and you just made our dining experience a little bit better!  I can’t wait to apply these methods to some of my tried-and-true ingredient combinations to see what happens.  Bon Appetit!

Crust (2 pizzas):

Ingredients:

  • 3-3/4 Cup All-Purpose Unbleached Flour
  • 2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp active dry yeast

Preparation:

Whisk flour, salt and yeast in a medium bowl.  While stirring with a wooden spoon, gradually add 1-1/2 cups of warm water; stir until well incorporated.  Mix dough gently with your hands to bring it together and form into a rough ball.  Transfer to a large clean bowl.  Cover with plastic wrap and let dough rise at room temperature (about 72 degrees F) in a draft-free area until surface is covered with tiny bubbles and dough has more than doubled in size, about 18 hours (time will vary depending on the temperature in the room).

Transfer dough to a floured work surface.  Gently shape into a rough rectangle.  Divide into two equal portions.  Working with one portion at a time, gather four corners to center to create four folds.  Turn seam side down and mold gently into a ball.  Dust dough with flour; set aside on a work surface or a floured baking sheet.  Repeat with the remaining portion.

Let dough rest, covered with plastic wrap or a damp kitchen towel, until soft and pliable, about one hour.

Pizza:

Ingredients:

  • 1 ball of dough for crust
  • 1 14.5 oz can fire roasted tomatoes
  • 1 cup freshly shredded mozzarella cheese
  • ricotta cheese
  • 2 tbsp roughly chopped fresh oregano leaves
  • red pepper flakes
  • kosher salt
  • extra virgin olive oil

Preparation:

During last hour of dough’s resting, prepare oven:  place pizza stone on rack in upper third of oven.  Preheat the oven to its hottest setting:  500-550 degrees F for one hour.

To prepare tomatoes, place contents of the can (with juices) in a stainless steel bowl, and crush with your hands.  Alternatively, puree in a blender.

Working with one dough ball, dust dough generously with flour and place on a floured work surface.  Gently shape dough into a disk.  Sprinkle pizza peel (or cutting board) lightly with flour.  Place dough disk on peel.  Drizzle olive oil over the crust.  Spread 1/2 of the crushed tomatoes over the crust, almost to the edges.  Sprinkle the mozzarella cheese evenly over the crust, leaving approximately 1/2″ of the crust uncovered.

Using small back-and-forth movements, slide pizza from the peel onto the hot pizza stone.  Bake for 7-9 minutes, or until well browned on top.

Remove pizza from oven, and allow to rest on pizza stone.  Sprinkle lightly with kosher salt, then sprinkle with red pepper flakes.  Place dollops of ricotta cheese in random locations on the top of the pie, and then sprinkle the oregano to taste.

Enjoy!

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5 Responses to Fire Roasted Tomato & Ricotta Pizza

  1. Mr. Fed Up says:

    Wow. this looks REAL GOOD! I have been writing about pizzas on my site, and I think I am going to have to try your recipe out. Thanks for sharing.

  2. dinutrition says:

    This looks delicious! Thanks for the recipe.

  3. Nate says:

    Mr. Fed Up, thanks for your kind comments. You can find the article in Bon Appetit, I just did some rearranging to make an actual recipe.

    dinutrition, thank you as well. This really was a great recipe, so let me know if you give it a try!

  4. dawn Mosser says:

    I am drooling while I am reading this. Oh my gosh does that look yummy!!!!!!!!! I think I am waiting for a invite over, have not had a special Nate pizza in a long time and you should get another opinion on that pizza. I will gladly taste test for you.

  5. cathincolor says:

    This was such a fabulous pizza! I loved the new crust you tried. Can’t wait for more! Dawn, we’ll call you next time.

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