Wednesday, January 23, 2013

prosciutto and goat cheese pizza with baby arugula

We do a lot of cooking in this house. I mean, a lot. We have date night once a week, and every other day is 2 meals worth of cooking, cleaning up, doing dishes and chowing down together at home. That being said, Ed is a carnivore. I'm perfectly happy eating vegetarian meals, but I've seen Ed's eyes quickly scan the plate doing a mental meat to vegetable ratio. However, recent weight gain and rampant heartburn has finally convinced us to get healthy. That's not to say that we're going to give up cheese, bacon, potatoes or pasta anytime soon but we will be cutting back on meat, adding more fruit and vegetables to our diet and being more conscious of what we put into our bodies. Easing into this transition, I think, will be the key to whether or not this sticks with us, so I started with pizza. 
We love pizza in this house. It's easy, yummy, satisfies so many cravings all at once and there's almost always leftovers. We normally go with the classics- pepperoni, Hawaiian and the like. This time, I've branched out and tweaked a recipe I saw on TV a few weeks ago. Here's the starting line-up:
I usually cheat on the dough. I know homemade dough is awesome, and that it's even better days later in the fridge, but I'm impatient and don't want to go through the hassle of waiting for dough to proof, re-proof and all that. So instead, I usually go with fresh, raw dough that's available in the bakery section of most grocery stores- I find it all the more delicious because it's so hassle free. I chose prosciutto crudo for this pizza over prosciutto de parma, solely based on price. Starring alongside the cured ham are crumbled goat cheese, shredded Italian cheese blend, grated parmesan and baby arugula.
I usually crank my oven to 450° and let it preheat for as long as possible. As much as I make pizza, I have yet to get up the courage to start tossing the dough. I use the hand stretched method, along with a floured rolling pin to shape my dough. This is a sauce-less pizza, so I substitute red sauce for a very light brushing of olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper. I usually go for a cheese, meat, cheese approach, and this pie is no different. I used considerably less cheese on this pie than I usually go with, using only about 6 oz. of shredded cheese rather than the entire 12 oz. package. Then using your hands, just gently tear apart the prosciutto and distribute. Sprinkle with about 2 oz. of goat cheese, a small amount of the shredded cheese and pop in the oven.
Cooking time is short- maybe 10 minutes at the most. I use the smell method. As soon as I can smell the dough cooking in the oven, I do my first check. Keep on eye on it from there, but try not to open the oven if you can. (The oven in our rental is ancient- it doesn't even have an oven light, so this is especially a pain for me). 
From here, there are only 2 more steps. Liberally top the pizza with the baby arugula- and don't be afraid. Baby arugula isn't quite as peppery and bitey as its adult counterpart. Then, dust with a palm full of grated parmesan, and you're ready to chow down!
The pizza was seriously delish, and so simple to make. Ed looked skeptical at first, but after his first bite, the slices seemed to disappear. And I have 2 slices for each of us today for lunch leftovers, so that's always a bonus!

Prosciutto and Goat Cheese Pizza with Baby Arugula
1 lb. raw, fresh pizza dough
6 oz. shredded Italian blend cheese
4 oz. baby arugula
4 oz. prosciutto crudo
2 oz. crumbed goat cheese
Drizzle olive oil
Garlic, to taste
Salt and pepper, to taste
Parmesan, to taste

Preheat oven to 450°. Stretch dough to fit whatever flat edged pan you have available. Drizzle olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper over raw dough. Add half of the shredded Italian cheese, all of the torn prosciutto crudo and goat cheese. Then add remainder of shredded cheese and put into the oven. Cook at 450° for 8-10 minutes, or until cheese is melted and dough is crunchy. Top with baby arugula and parmesan. Serve hot!