Yield: one 12-inch pizza
Happy Pi Day! It’s (pizza) pi(e) week for me! I promise to branch out next week and give you a variety of recipes…but this week, we celebrate pizza! This is a veggie-packed pizza with the smoky flavors of both smoked mozzarella and bacon. Can I let you in a little pizza secret? Don’t put too many toppings on your pizza! Sure, there are chain pizza restaurants that load you up with sauce, cheese and toppings, but let’s leave that to those guys. (Don’t get me wrong…I love a good delivery pizza.) But here, let’s learn to embrace the “less is more” mindset when it comes to topping your pizza at home. It also makes for a healthier pizza…I know, crazy, right? This is a recipe, but use the suggested measurements as more of a guide to ensure you don’t overload your pizza.
1 ball Neapolitan-style pizza dough
1 garlic clove, very thinly sliced
2 strips thick-cut smoked bacon, cut into pieces
4 ounces smoked mozzarella
1/4 pound Brussel sprouts, thinly sliced and leaves separated with your hands
1/8 of a red bell pepper, very thinly sliced (about 8 to 10 slices)
Red onion, skin removed but left whole, thinly sliced into 4 to 5 onion slices (you will have almost the whole onion left over)
1 Fresno chile, thinly sliced (or other hot chile)
Extra-virgin olive oil
Generous pinch of coarse sea salt, to finish
Preheat your oven to its highest heat setting (usually 500 to 550°). Place a baking stone or steel in the middle of your oven and let preheat for at least 1 hour.
Lightly flour your work surface and hands. Gently pat down the ball of dough into a circle, rotating as you work. Using the tips of your fingers, gently push down around the edge of the round, rotating as you go, to create the edge. You can use the heel of your palm to gently stretch the dough out into a circle also. Pick up the dough and lightly pass it back and forth between your palms, trying to rotate as you go to form the round. When you have a round of dough approximately 12 to 13 inches in diameter, transfer to a large piece of parchment or a pizza peel. Optionally, you can sprinkle a little semolina flour on your parchment or peel to provide a little crunch to the bottom and ensure your pizza releases. When your baking apparatus has preheated for at least 1 hour, prepare to bake your pizza.
Heat a skillet over medium heat and add your bacon, cooking for 12 to 15 minutes, until slightly crispy but still fatty. Drain on paper towels and set aside.
Drizzle 1 to 2 teaspoons of olive oil on your dough and place the garlic slices around the pizza. Layer the cheese first, then the Brussels sprouts (you may not use all of them). Arrange the bell pepper, red onion and chile slices around the pizza. Top with the bacon. Place the dough on your baking stone or steel and cook for 6 to 8 minutes, until the dough is lightly golden and browned in spots, and the cheese is melted. Cool for 1 minute before serving. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle coarse sea salt over top to finish (you will want a heavy hand with your salt on this one).