Recipe from Cook Like a Rock Star by "Anne Burrell, Suzanne Lenzer" (Clarkson Potter, 2011)
I love the charred flavor of grilled pizza. You can top it with anything, of course, but this version is one of my favorites. It's crispy and crunchy, kind of like a grilled cracker. Whenever I eat pizza I always give it a sprinkey-dink of crushed red pepper-it's just better with a little kick! That's why I make this infused oil for my pizzetta. It's an amazing way to get a big flavor bump, and while I love this chili oil on pizza, it's great on lots and lots of things.
time: about 1½ hours, mostly unattended
Mise en Place:
for the chili oil
- 5 to 6 Fresno chili peppers, roughly chopped
- 1½ cups extra virgin olive oil
for the dough
- 1½ teaspoons active dry yeast
- ½ teaspoon sugar
- 1½ cups all-purpose flour, plus more as needed
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus more for the bowl and grill
for the pizza topping
For the chili oil
- Extra virgin olive oil
- ½ pound sweet Italian sausage, casings removed
- 1 pound stracchino or other mild, creamy cheese, such as ricotta, Taleggio, or Fontina, at room temperature
- 1 bunch of arugula, trimmed
Bring the chilies and oil to a simmer in a small saucepan; remove from the heat and let the peppers steep in the oil for at least an hour or until the dough has risen and you're ready to make the pizzas. This can be done WAY in advance.
For the dough
1 While the oil steeps (look at you- multitasking!), combine the yeast, sugar, and ½ cup warm (NOT HOT!) water in a small bowl. Stir to combine and let sit for 10 to 15 minutes until foamy and yeasty-smelling.
2 Combine the flour and salt in a large mixing bowl; make a well in the center of the flour and add the olive oil and the yeast mixture. Using a fork, stir until the flour and liquids are well combined. Turn the dough out onto a well-floured, clean work surface and knead until smooth and elastic, 6 to 7 minutes. Lightly coat the mixing bowl with olive oil, return the dough to the bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let rise in a warm place until the dough has doubled in size, about 1 hour.
3 When the dough is ready, portion it into six golf-ball-size pieces. Dust a work surface with flour and roll each piece of dough into a rectangle (or whatever shape you like; I like irregular shapes). If you're not using the dough right away, wrap each ball individually in plastic and refrigerate until ready to use.
For the topping and pizza assembly
1 Preheat the oven to 425°F. and preheat the grill.
2 Coat a large sauté pan with oil, add the sausage, and bring to medium heat. Cook the sausage until brown, 10 to 15 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and reserve.
3 Brush the grill with oil and arrange each piece of dough on the grill; you might need to work in batches here. Grill until the dough is stiff and crisp and has lovely grill marks on it, then flip and repeat on the second side, moving occasionally so the bottom doesn't burn.
4 Put the pizzas on baking sheets, schmear each with some stracchino, top with sausage, and put as many pizzas as will comfortably fit in the oven; bake until the cheese has melted, 5 to 7 minutes. Again, you may have to work in batches. Remove the pizzas from the oven, top with arugula, and drizzle with the deliciously spicy chili oil!
Mamma mia, whatta pizza!