Friday, March 11, 2011

Mozzarella and Proscuitto Pizza with Balsamic Onions

I adore homemade pizza and love finding new ways to make it more creative! This recipe, adapted from the Epicurious/Bon Appetit website, was interesting to me because it did not involve your typical red sauce. The "sauce" was essentially created with homemade garlic oil and caramelized onions cooked in balsamic vinegar. This pizza has many different layers that really make it a flavor packed meal!

Dough: look on Epicurious for ingredients

2 tbsp plus 1/2 cup olive oil
1 12-ounce red onion, thinly sliced
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
4 large garlic cloves, chopped
1 large red bell pepper

All purpose flour
1 cup (packed) grated mozzarella cheese
3 tbsp grated Parmesan (I used Asiago)
4 thin slices prosciutto, sliced crosswise into thin strips
2 tsp chopped fresh thyme (I used dried)
Balsamic vinegar

For dough: I used Pillsbury dough, but click the link above for homemade dough directions.

For toppings: Heat 2 tbsp oil in medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and saute until golden, about 12 minutes. Add vinegar and Worcestershire. Reduce heat to medium-low; simmer until liquid cooks away and onion is very tender, about 4 minutes; season onion with salt and pepper.

Heat remaining 1/2 cup oil in heavy small skillet over medium-low heat. Add garlic and saute just until garlic begins to brown, about 4 minutes. Using slotted spoon, transfer garlic to custard cup. Pour oil into separate small bowl.

Char bell pepper over gas flame or in broiler until blackened on all sides. Enclose in paper bag; let stand 10 minutes. Peel, seed and slice thinly. (Onion, garlic, garlic oil and pepper can be made 1 day ahead, Cover separately; chill.)

The ingredients for the pizza are shown here and go on starting at the top left through the bottom right. Shown are the garlic oil, mozzarella, garlic bits, balsamic onions (top row), roasted red peppers, Asiago cheese, prosciutto and thyme (bottom row). If you prep these ingredients before-hand, your final product will come together very quickly!

For baking: Position rack in bottom third of oven. Roll dough onto a large baking sheet to a 12-inch round or rectangle.Bake the dough by itself in the oven for 10 minutes. Then, flip it over and prepare your other ingredients that will go on top.

Brush 1 tbsp reserved garlic oil over dough, leaving 1/2-inch plain border. Sprinkle with mozzarella, then reserved garlic bits.

Strew balsamic onion and then roasted pepper strips in a pattern over the top. Sprinkle with Parmesan.

Bake the pizza again for 8 minutes. Rotate pizza half a turn. Bake until crust is deep brown, about 5 minutes longer. Arrange prosciutto atop pizza. Bake with prosciutto, about 5 minutes. Sprinkle with thyme. Cut into 8 pieces. Serve, passing more vinegar and garlic oil separately. (The baking instructions here were modified by me but for the full recipe, see link above.)

I made this pizza on a weeknight and saved time by using pre-made pizza dough. The reviews on this website did all say that the homemade dough was great so I will end up trying it one day. If you are one of those people that plans ahead, prep most of the ingredients a night ahead so when you get home from work you can throw them on the dough and cook it off - done!

I loved this pizza regardless because the ingredients on top were superb! You can make this pizza a vegetarian one by omitting the prosciutto.I liked the salty kick from the prosciutto and Asiago cheese though; it was a nice touch. The caramelized red onion was sweet but also had a tang that it picked up from soaking in the balsamic vinegar. Lastly, you could really taste the garlic flavored oil - it was subtle and not too overpowering.

There was a lot going on, but all good things! Tutti Mangia!


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