But this pizza is SO GOOD. Oh my gosh. Dreamy. It’s wonderful. I can’t begin to tell you how great it is. The first time I served it, I was treating my book club girls to dinner three days before leaving for a whirlwind tour of Europe. What I was thinking by hosting a fancy dinner a few days before take-off is beyond me, but I love my book club girls and had to see them at least one last time. At first, I followed the original recipe to a T and it was okay. Not fantastic. Just okay. I tried it again once we returned to the homeland and tweaked the recipe a bit based on our original observations. More figs and less prosciutto. More sauce and more cheese. Less pepper. After a bit of tinkering and note-taking, it’s perfect. And just in time, too! Costco just recently started selling organic dried figs. While the original recipe calls for fresh figs, this fruit isn’t in season right now, so I just pour boiling water over the dried figs and let them sit for an hour or so until they are soft and pliable and perfect for pizza making.
Soon I’ll post my favorite pizza dough recipe, but the dough that I make most often is just a variation on the 5 minute bread recipe. Substitute 1/4 cup of olive oil for 1/4 cup of the water, and voila! You have 5 minute olive oil dough. The dough doesn’t have to be used just for pizza. You can form the rest of the dough into rounds of bread to be served with butter, jam, or dipped in an olive oil and balsamic vinegar sauce.
Okay, enough lollygagging… it’s time to make some pizza.
pizza with figs, prosciutto and fresh spinach
adapted from a recipe in Pizza: Grill It, Bake It, Love It!
1 recipe pizza dough (see notes in above comments)
1/2 cup pizza sauce (see accompanying recipe or use a store bought kind)
2 tbsp olive oil
6 oz fresh spinach
2 tbsp garlic, pressed
6 oz mozzarella cheese, shredded
2 oz prosciutto chopped into bite sized pieces
5 ripe figs (see note about dried figs)
1/4 tsp pepper
2 tbsp fresh rosemary, chopped
2 oz Gorgonzola or Danish Bleu Cheese (optional)
classic pizza sauce*
1 (28-ounce) can of diced tomatoes, liquid reserved
3 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp sugar
2 tsp dried basil
1 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes (optional)
1 garlic clove, minced
*You won’t use all of this sauce for this recipe – use what you need and freeze the rest for the next time you make pizza!
Preheat the oven to 450 with a pizza stone on the center rack. The oven will need to be preheated for at least 30 minutes before you add your pizza or else the pizza will stick to your pizza stone.
To make the sauce, puree the tomatoes in a food processor until slightly chunky. Combine all the ingredients and bring to a simmer, adding half the reserved juices. Simmer with the lid slightly ajar for at least 30 minutes, stirring occasionally and adding more reserved tomato juices as necessary to keep the sauce a consistency you like.
If you are rehydrating dried figs, simply pour boiling water over them to cover. They’ll plump back up as you assemble the rest of your pizza.
In a large sauté pan, heat the oil over medium high heat. Add the spinach and cook until it is wilted. Add garlic and sautee until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Let cool.
Roll out your dough into a 13″-diameter circle. Sprinkle semolina flour or corn meal on a pizza peel or rimless baking tray and place your rolled-out dough on the peel. Spread sauce evenly across the dough. Top with mozzarella cheese.
Add the spinach mixture and spread evenly. Distribute prosciutto and figs evenly across the dough. Sprinkle with rosemary and pepper and top with additional Gorgonzola or Bleu cheese if desired.
Test to ensure that the pizza is not sticking to the peel in any spots. If it is stuck, slip some more flour or cornmeal underneath the dough in those spots.
Working quickly, slide the pizza onto the pizza stone. Bake for 15-18 minutes until top is golden brown.
Let cool for 5 minutes before slicing. My parents bought us one of these for Christmas. We call it the “pizza machete,” although surely it has a more official name. Either way, it is the best way ever to cut pizza. No more struggles with the little wheel dragging my toppings all over the place! Brant’s named it “the best gift your parents have ever given me.” Like I said, we like it.