Heaven on Crust: prosciutto, arugula and parmesan pizza
This, my friends, is pizza the way it was meant to be:
I first tried this delicious combination in a small trattoria in Turino Italy.
The crust was thin, crispy and warm. The flavors and textures of the uncooked toppings mixed PERFECTLY together: paper-thin slices of rich, salty prosciutto, generous shavings of parmigiano-reggiano, crisp, peppery arugula, a drizzle of olive oil, and fresh ground pepper.
If I’m ever lucky enough to see a similar menu item stateside, I plead with my fellow diners to split it with me. Most people aren’t into it. Maybe the arugula and prosciutto turns them off. Or the fact that this isn’t anything close to what we Americanos think of as pizza. If you people only knew what you were missing!
Last night, while shopping at Trader Joe’s, I noticed pre-made pizza dough (for just $1.19!), prosciutto, parmesan cheese and arugula ALL IN THE SAME AISLE! Coincidence? I think not! OK, so the place is pretty tiny. But never mind that. I HAD to make this pizza.
Prosciutto, Arugula and Parmesan Pizza
pizza dough (Trader Joe’s dough is awesome and cheap)
parmesan cheese, thinly shaved/sliced
extra-virgin olive oil
fresh ground pepper
First I prepared the dough. My first job was at Domino’s Pizza—I know what I’m doing here. The trick is to take the dough ball and press your fingers around edge while stretching it slightly with the other hand to form a crust. Keep the center dome-ish for now, like this:
Then slap the dough between your hands to stretch it. Try a spinning toss if you’re feeling lucky. If the prospect of dropping your dough or ripping it in two makes you nervous, you can always roll it out with a rolling pin. But that’s not really my style.
Get the crust as thin as possible. Mine came out a little too thick for my liking. Come to think of it, a rolling pin may be just the trick. Darn.
Put the crust (hold your horses on the toppings) in a 475-degree oven on a sheet of tinfoil or a pizza stone. I purposely left my sheet pan out of the equation (it prevents cookies and the like from burning on the bottom), because I wanted a super crispy crust.
Once in the oven, my pizza crust ballooned without any toppings to keep it in check. I poked holes in it with toothpicks. Crisis averted. Try poking your dough with a fork before you put it in the oven.
When the crust was hard enough, I placed it directly on the oven rack for an extra crispy crust. I think it was in for about 15 minutes total, maybe a little less. Take it out when it looks like this:
Notice the conspicuous toothpick pricks? Now comes the fun part.
First, drizzle some extra-virgin olive oil.
Now pile on your prosciutto.
Then comes the arugula.
Sprinkle your parm shavings.
Now for one last drizzle of olive oil and a few turns of the pepper grinder.
The marbling of the prosciutto makes this one a little difficult to cut, but it is SO worth the extra work.