March 20, 2012

Pizza Carbonara


Thank you everyone for your kind words and all of the support in my new endeavor!  It truly means so much to me.  I am excited about this!  The site is still a work-in-progress, and I look forward to improving it.  Please share all ideas (especially for recipes) with me!  Can't wait!

Pizza is a healthy food; you get carbs (dough), dairy (cheese), protein (meat), veggies (toppings), and fruit (tomatoes) all in one slice.   I have an equally persuasive argument for chocolate, mind you.


Denver's Larimer Square is home to an amazing restaurant: Osteria Marco.  The restaurant has a great ambience, and I leave with a "new favorite" each time I visit.  Osteria Marco offers a Pizza Carbonara, a thin crust pizza with sunny-side up eggs, pancetta, and cheese.  Who knew that eggs on pizza could be so yummy?


Some friends and I recently enjoyed a game night with homemade pizzas, and I decided to recreate Osteria Marco's Pizza Carbonara.  I liked it so much that I made it again the following week.  Hey, I had extra ingredients to use up.


I'm planning to do more posts on making pizza in the future, but a few tips: (1) use a baking stone, and (2) make the oven as hot as possible, even if it involves setting off your smoke alarm.  A baking stone and hot oven will change your pizza crust for the better.  It is easier than you think to make your own pizza dough, so give it a try!

Pizza Carbonara 



Ingredients:
Pizza dough (either store-bought, but homemade recommended; recipe below)
1/3 cup mascarpone cheese
1/4 cup freshly graded Pecorino Romano cheese
Thinly sliced pancetta
2 eggs
Sea salt, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Arugula or spinach, to taste (optional)

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 500 degrees.  Place a pizza stone (or inverted baking sheet) in the middle of the oven.  On a floured surface, roll out the pizza dough to a 12" circle and transfer to a lightly floured pizza peel or a sheet of parchment paper.Spread the mascarpone cheese on the dough circle.  Place the pancetta on the dough, using as many slices as you would like.  Sprinkle the Pecorino Romano cheese over the pancetta and season to taste with salt and pepper.  Slide the pizza onto the pizza stone and bake for about 8 minutes, or until the topping beings to bubble. 

Remove the pizza from the oven and crack the eggs over the pizza.  Return the pizza to the oven and continue to bake until the crust becomes gold and the egg whites begin to set.  Once you have a gold crust with set egg whites, remove from oven and allow to cool for five minutes before serving.  (Pizza will slice easier if you let it cool for just a few minutes.  It just came out of a 500 degree oven, and it will still be hot!)  Season with salt and pepper to taste, and sprinkle with fresh arugula or spinach.

Napoletona Pizza Dough

Yields six 6-ounce dough balls

Ingredients:

5 cups (22.5 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
3 ¼ tsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. instant yeast
1 ¾ cups plus 2 tbsp. cool water (65˚F)

Directions: 

Brush a bowl with olive oil and set aside.  Combine flour, salt, and yeast in a food processor and pulse for 15 seconds to combine ingredients.  Gradually add water and pulse only until the ingredients are hydrated and form a ball.  Then, let the dough rest for at least 5 minutes.  The resting phase allows the flour to absorb the water fully.  Once you resume mixing, use the on switch and mix for an additional minute.  The short rest period followed by the short final mixing cycle is all that is needed to complete the job.

Remove the dough from the food processor and fold dough into a ball.  Place the ball in the bowl that was brushed with olive oil, and turn the dough to coat it with the oil.  Cover the bowl with plastic wrap.  Let the dough sit at room temperature for 30 minutes, and then put the bowl in the refrigerator overnight.  If you are making the pizzas on the same day, let the dough sit at room temperature for 2 hours, punch it down, reshape it into a ball, return to the bowl, and then cover and refrigerate for at least two hours.

The next day, or later the same day if refrigerated, remove the bowl from the refrigerator 2 hours before you plan to make the pizzas.  The dough will have expanded, and the gluten will be relaxed.  Using a plastic bowl scraper dipped in water or wet hands, gently transfer the dough to a floured surface.  Be careful when you transfer so as not to degas the dough.  Using a pastry blade that has been dipped in water, divide the dough into six equal pieces.  (I'll weigh the dough to ensure it is equal.)  Place each dough ball on the pan and loosely cover with plastic wrap.  If you do not plan to use all of the dough, place the extra dough balls into individual zippered plastic bags and refrigerate or freeze.  Refrigerated balls should be used within 2 days, and the frozen balls should be used within 3 months.  Allow the dough balls to sit at room temperature for 2 hours before making the pizzas.

Note: This recipe can also be made with a stand-mixer or by hand.  Look for more pizza making posts in the future that contain instructions on using your stand-mixer or good ol' hands.


Source: Inspired by Osteria Marco, Dough adapted from Peter Reinhart's American Pie: My Search for the Perfect Pizza 

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