Sometimes pizza sounds good, but we don’t have the funds in the bank account to justify splurging on delivery. Most of those occasions also happen to be nights that I just don’t feel much like cooking, so chances are I haven’t made real pizza dough several hours in advance. Fortunately for us, I usually have some sort of dough in the refrigerator that will do the job in a pinch. Most recently, I’ve been using some of the sourdough, from what has already become my staple recipe, to make the crusts. I find that if I make a double batch, I can bake two loaves for our immediate bread needs, and the rest of the dough will hold perfectly in the refrigerator for several days, ready to be turned into more loaves or pizzas as need arises. This was the first time I’ve used my new oven to make pizza, and we were really appreciating the fact that it maxes out at 550F, a full 50F higher than the old oven could manage.
For our first pizza, I went in a chicken alfredo direction, using mozzarella, roasted red peppers, sauteed chicken with Italian herbs, and a simple garlic cream sauce made of cream reduced with garlic and finished with grated Pecorino Romano. In the past, I’ve used the same sauce with cheddar cheese, bacon and caramelized onions to make a version of the pizza I always used to order at Beau Jo’s Pizza as a kid, and it is a good alternative to marinara sauce when I don’t feel like spending several hours making some.
Garlic Cream Sauce
1 T unsalted butter
1 T olive oil
1 clove garlic
1/2 C heavy cream
1/8 tsp coarse sea salt
1/8 tsp fresh cracked pepper
1/4 C Parmesan Reggiano or Pecorino Romano
In a saucepan melt the butter and olive oil together over medium heat. Add the garlic and sautÃ© for about 30 seconds until fragrant. Turn the heat to medium low and add the rest of the ingredients in order. Stir constantly until thickened.
For the second pizza, I started with a base of arugula pesto thawed from the freezer, and topped it with mozzarella, freshly made ricotta cheese, and some steamed broccoli, all festooned with ribbons of prosciutto. This pizza was less decadent tasting than the first, but had a great balance between the creamy ricotta and crunchy prosciutto, and the broccoli, while an unusual item on a pizza, really matched the rest of the toppings nicely and browned up a little around the edges.
The sourdough made a perfectly passable crust, if a little bit on the bubbly side. It was pliable enough to stretch and shape readily, even straight from the fridge, and baked up soft, chewy and flavorful. Our toddler liked it so well that he literally ate his slices crust-first and upside-down, and usually he’s equally interested in the cheese.
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