February 12, 2011

Pizza Bianca

Oh, how I do love my pizza. We have it at least once a month, sometimes more, and we always make it from scratch. Palle is especially fond of non-tomato sauced pizzas, although he's generally pretty happy with any homemade pizza, including old faithful - pepperoni and mushroom with a classic, oregano-laden sauce. In the interests of keeping our pizza consumption from being monotonous, I like to try new things, from time to time. A recent effort involved miso gravy for the sauce, and shabu-shabu thin cut beef dressed with sesame oil and soy sauce. It went over rather well, and I'll certainly be keeping that in mind the next time I have leftover miso gravy lurking in the fridge.

But this one really wowed me. It's not even a recipe (excepting the crust, which is my usual recipe (expired link removed, please see comments below for recipe) using a three-hour rise and a fraction of the yeast) I was particularly pleased to be able to make it entirely out of things that I already had on hand, repurposing leftover roasted chicken and roasted fennel from the previous night's lemon risotto dinner, and using up the tail end of bocconcini which we had after making Messy Giuseppes (Palle's rather Italianate Sloppy Joes). Even the parsley was leftover from garnishing the risotto!

I chopped up the fennel, which had been roasted in thick wedges. I used the tenderest bits of fennel and scattered them over the crust - no sauce, I simply depended upon the olive oil that had been used to roast the fennel to get the party started. Next, meat from the roasted thighs and legs and back of the roast chicken. I generally pull the meat off the bones after dinner, while it is still warm, and plate it up for easy use later, and so it certainly stood me in good stead here. I chopped up the larger pieces, and tore some with my fingers, to get nice distribution. Finally, I dotted the small amount of bocconcini around the perimeter, sprinkled the whole thing with the already-chopped parsley, and bashed it into the oven until the crust started to turn gold. Once out of the oven, we grated some long strands of parmesan over it, and watched them melt artistically onto the pizza.

This was really a triumph of keeping things simple, too. I resisted the urge to add peppers or mushrooms or anything else, didn't overload on the cheese, and ended up with a very satisfying pizza that was very different from the taco pizza, vegetarian pizzas, or buffalo-wing pizzas that I've shared before.

There's a lot more things I want to try, pizza-wise, but for the record, I have no objection to any particular style of pizza. I like thick crust, thin crust, wood-fired, grilled, red-sauced, mustard-sauced, no-sauce at all. Best of all, I like my pizzas homemade.