Admittedly, I am still looking for a great beer dough for pizza. I had a fantastic pizza planned for the week to use homemade ricotta cheese, sauteed swiss chard, leftover roasted chicken, the ripe tomato from the farm, and some homemade swiss chard pesto. The topping pairings were great, but the pizza crust left a lot to be desired. My failure of a dough aside, pizza, with fresh vegetables is a great way to use produce you arent sure what to do with. Pizza be so much much more than just marinara and processed mozzerella cheese. When you top it with healthy ingredients, it can turn into one of those indulgences that isn't all that bad.
I suspected, right from the beginning, before I even gave the dough a chance to rise, it would be doomed. It just felt tough. Maybe it was the mixture of whole wheat flour (which worked out amazing for the pasta) that through the recipe off. I was still hopeful, because, even though it wasnt as springy and fluffy as I expected, it did roll out nice and had some potential of being a decent base. I had even used my husbands homemade beer and mixed in fresh rosemary. It smelled amazing.
I got the grill fired up to test out our pizza stone for a second time. The first time we used it, we burned our store bought dough, so I was careful to spread out the coals a bit better. Ready and rolled I threw our pizza dough on the heated stone to precook.
I always let the dough cook for a few minutes before adding toppings. It cooks much better as it prevents the dough from getting too soggy from all the liquid from the toppings leaching out.
Ready to pull the dough off to start adding toppings, I realized we were in trouble - some of the dough was sticking to the stone and wouldnt come off without tearing away from the bottom of the pizza. I was so upset, but kept going. Afterall, no one would see the bottom anyway.
First I spread on a layer of homemade ricotta cheese. Next, I layered on some sauted swiss chard and chopped roasted chicken. Finally, I placed on slices of our fresh tomato and placed back on the pizza stone in the grill to finish cooking. The second time around on the grill, I was still having trouble. The bottom was cooking much faster than the rest of the pizza. In fear it would be over cooked on the bottom and raw on top, I pulled the pizza and tranfered it into the oven inside to finish cooking.
I had one last finishing touch. I dolloped on some delicious swiss chard pesto. You can make pesto with anytype of green - dont think its just for basil. Really, its all about that intense garlic flavor with the salty pecorino romano.
The finish product? The crust, well, just never got the fluffy feeling I wanted it to have. No, it was more so like a cracker. If you like well-done crispy pizza, you would have like it, but it didnt make the cut for me. However, I couldnt help going back for a second "half" slice.... and then a third "half" slice. The toppings were perfect. The ricotta was creamy, the sauteed chard and tomato added the freshness I craved, and the pesto added a salty garlicy bite to the end.
- homemade or store bought pizza dough
- corn meal
- 2 tbs olive oil
- 2-3 cups ricotta cheese (depending on how thick you wish to spread it)
- 1 tomato
- 2 cups swiss chard, sauteed
- 1 cup+ leftover roasted chicken
- swiss chard pesto
- Roll out pizza dough to desired thickness (considering it will rise when cooked). Sprinkle some cornmeal on the bottom of the pizza to help prevent sticking to the pizza stone or pan.
- Drizzle top of pizza with olive oil and place on a pizza stone or pan in a 400 oven or charcoal grill. Partially cook for several minutes (to help prevent pizza from getting soggy after adding toppings). Time will vary significantly depending on type of dough (thin crust vs rising dough).
- Remove from oven/grill. Spread on ricotta cheese and evenly arrange sauteed chard, chicken and tomato slices.
- Place back in oven/grill and continue to cook until crust is done (again times will vary). I recommend periodically checking on the pizza. Use spatula to lift pizza and inspect bottom, to ensure its not burning. You can carefully poke the crust, around the edges to check for doneness. If you are unsure, tear off a piece of the crust to make sure dough was cooked through.
- Remove pizza from heat and let cool and rest for 5 minutes. Dollop on pesto, cut and serve.