margherita pizza with balsamic reduction

margherita pizza Like most cheese-lovers, I’ve made lots of versions of pizza at home using everything from english muffins to tortillas ~ and recently a cast iron skillet ~ but for me nothing beats the traditional pizzeria pie.  Since there was an extra ball of dough hanging around the fridge, I decided to go for it.

A few basic ingredients were at hand:  hydroponic tomatoes sitting on the window sill; some basil in olive oil that I’d frozen several months ago, ready to be thawed; even a bunch of mozzarella was already shredded and waiting.  For these things I am grateful because I needed to focus on the whole pizza-peel-to-baking-stone transfer challenge.

I’ve heard of many different options for turning an oven into a pizza-oven.  Some flip over a baking sheet, others use parchment paper and some prefer a pizza screen.  Since I have a baking stone in the house that’s what I used and, along with a pizza peel, it works out fine.

At first it was a bit scary because I hadn’t floured the peel well enough, but with a few adjustments the pie was soon bubbling away on the stone.

These directions are based on a recipe found on Emile Henry’s website, which is the brand of baking stone I used.  I can’t say whether or not this temperature would work using a different baking surface.

ingredients:

  • 1 large-pie ball of pizza dough **
  • 2 medium tomatoes, sliced crosswise
  • 10 or so fresh basil leaves
  • pinch each s&p
  • about 3/4 pound mozzarella, shredded
  • olive oil
  • 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar

directions:

  • Set pizza stone in oven and preheat to 550F
  • In a small saucepan, heat vinegar over medium-high heat until bubbly; while preparing pizza turn heat down and leave vinegar uncovered and barely simmering until reduced by half, then turn off heat
  • Generously flour a pizza peel and set aside; on a well-floured counter, roll or hand-stretch the dough into about a 14-inch circle
  • Transfer dough to the pizza peel and check to see that the dough isn’t sticking; if it is, lift and sprinkle more flour on surface of peel
  • If needed, brush dough lightly with olive oil {see dough storage recommendation below}
  • Add the slices of tomato; sprinkle with s&p, then most of the cheese; top with the basil, then the rest of cheese
  • Check again to see if pie is sticking to peel; if it is, lift and sprinkle more flour beneath it, and gently use a spatula to loosen any stuck areas
  • Option One {which does not work for me} — open oven door and slide pie from pizza peel onto stone
  • Option Two — using heavy-duty oven mitts, carefully take stone out of oven and set on stove top; using spatula and free hand, gently jiggle pie off peel and onto stone; return stone to oven
  • Bake for 10 to 15 minutes, until golden brown and bubbly
  • Transfer from the stone to a cutting board or platter
  • Drizzle with the balsamic reduction

margherita pizza with balsamic reductionYum!  I like the classic combination of flavors on this pie.  Using quality tomatoes was key and the balsamic reduction added its unique sweet-tart depth.

One way to keep the dough from sticking to the peel is to dust with a medium-grain corn meal.  I prefer flour only because I don’t like the crunch of the corn meal.  The other reasons why my dough tends to stick are again personal preferences on my part:

**I store the dough covered in a thin layer of olive oil for several days {which I recommend; it gives the crust a nice texture and flavor}.  Also, I prefer to hand toss rather than roll it out on a floured surface, so the dough retains the layer of oil on it.  It makes stickiness a bit of an issue but the taste is worth it.

Hopefully, with some more practice I’ll discover the right amount of flour to have the best of both worlds.

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9 comments on “margherita pizza with balsamic reduction

  1. My fav pizza of all time!!

  2. soffiagudrun says:

    looking good! I can not get enough of homemade pizzas.I got some really good organic Italian flour from a family run flour mill in Italy called Marino.

    I have been doing the Heston Blumenthal method in baking it. The series is called “Heston Blumenthal In Search Of Perfection Season 1” One episode is all about the perfect pizza. Maybe it´s possible to watch it online somewhere. It´s a great show.
    Not sure if this link works:
    http://www.ovguide.com/tv_season/heston-blumenthal-in-search-of-perfection-season-1-98091

  3. bali tour says:

    Thanks for the recipe
    i would like to try it :)

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