…and it was so much easier than I had ever imagined. Like, seriously, what was I waiting for?
Pizza is a near religious experience in our household. Before we’d even cemented our then-future daughter’s name, or color of her nursery, it had already been decided that Friday night would be family pizza night. Living in brownstone Brooklyn, the pick of pizza places can seem pretty luxurious. Want it delivered? There are no fewer than 25 places that are willing to deliver, half of which will serve you a pie worthy of a true pizza connossieur. Willing to get in the car? We’ve got the original Totonno’s in Coney Island, Jay Z-hangout Lucali, Man Vs. Food endorsed L & B Spumoni Gardens, NY Times 2 star rated Franny’s, and, of course, the pizza mecca itself, DiFara’s.
So why would I ever make one?
But then, this new pizza place opened in our ‘hood, Fornino, (which had garnered accolades for their original location in Williamsburg). Fornino’s pizza is grilled to a cracker-crisp perfection, and the lower heat on the grill allows them to top the pies with cheeses and vegetables that normally wouldn’t survive the heat of, say, an 800 degree coal burning oven. We’ve enjoyed their pizza on a few occasions, (and not just because of the offspring-friendly widely spaced tables or the fact that they are happy to store your folding stroller in a back room). On our last visit, however, an idea sprang forth into my sippy cup-addled brain.
“Why, I could grill a pizza at home!” So, I did.
Here’s what I did…
I strolled into my favorite local pizza by the slice kinda place, and for $4, walked out with a large ball of pizza dough. Could you make your own? Of course you could, and while you are at it, could you please change that diaper, and pick up all those cheerios off the floor, and replace all of my socks back into their drawer for the third time today? Thanks.
I sliced the giant ball into two even pieces, and on a floured cutting board, pounded them flat with my fists, and proceeded to stretch and pull them into asymmetrical long oval shapes. I brushed the tops with olive oil, sprinkled them with just a touch of kosher salt, and plopped them oil side down onto my gas grill, at medium heat. Online recipes for grilled pizza instructed me to get the dough onto the grill by flipping it from a baking sheet, but I had no problem getting it on with a quick move of my hands, saving a few creased areas with my kitchen tongs.
The dough pretty quickly started to bubble up, and I turned the heat down to low. I brushed the exposed side with more oil, checked the bottom every minute or so using my tongs, and flipped the dough over after 4 or 5 minutes.
Noting how quickly the dough was progressing, I immediately began to add my toppings. Each pizza was first covered with a layer of shredded part-skim mozzarella, which began to melt right away. I then topped mine with some pesto sauce I had made with basil from our yard and some walnuts I luckily discovered in the back of the cupboard, along with some grape tomatoes I had caramelized earlier with just a pinch of salt and sugar. The husband’s pie got the leftover turkey sausage meat sauce from the previous evening’s dinner (made in true veggie fake-out style with yellow and orange bell pepper, onion, garlic, and loads of fresh basil and parsley), as well as a coating of freshly grated pecorino romano.
Whichever toppings you choose, I would recommend making sure they are all at room temperature before you use them, and having them all at hand’s reach before you begin. They won’t be on the grill long enough to really pick up too much heat, and your pizzas will be done in less than 10 minutes.
My ever-skeptical husband put away a good half of this turkey sausage pie, commenting only that he’d like a little more cheese the next time I make it. I am thinking little dollops of good ricotta would have made his perfect.
This large ball of dough would have been plenty to serve 3 – 4 people dinner, and slicing the pies straight down the middle and then into smaller cross cut slices would make excellent appetizer-sized servings. The pizza reheated nicely in a 350F oven for lunch, at which time it earned The Munchkin Seal of Approval.
The Munchkin being, at a mere 17 months old, well-qualified to judge a pizza’s tastiness, as seen below in your My Husband Hates Veggies Moment of Cuteness, documenting her first ever trip to Totonno’s.
We start ‘em young in these parts.