If you’ve been hanging around here for some time, you know by now that I believe pizza is the most amazing food and that making great pizza is within anyone’s grasp. But that’s not to say that making pizza is without its challenges. Despite my experience, this recipe, for no apparently good reason, was filled with obstacles and acted as a tribute to Murphy’s Law (anything that can go wrong will go wrong).
The quest for this pizza began like many of my other pizza experiments. I had envisioned a pizza both visually beautiful and delicious. The green arugula would complement the red sauce and pink prosciutto while the peppery flavor of the arugula would harmonize with the saltiness of the prosciutto. The basic tomato sauce and fior di latte mozzarella would impart a clean and fresh flavor, tying the pizza together. These were the characteristics I had envisioned and ultimately achieved for this pizza, but to make this pizza, I made a not so successful first attempt.
As usual, everything was humming along nicely until it was time to transfer the freshly topped pizza to the oven. Despite the emphasis I often put on avoiding this mistake, I made it myself. No matter how much experience you gain there will always be times when mistakes or accidents happen, and the most common and dreaded mistake is having raw pizza dough stick to your pizza peel.
When it was time to transfer the pizza to the oven, I gave the pizza a couple of shakes and noticed that one small area was sticking. This issue was not new to me, so I employed one of the tricks I had learned over the years. I lifted the stuck area from the peel and placed some cornmeal in the area. Again, I shook the pizza to ensure that it would slide easily onto the pizza stone. However, the pizza remained stuck. By this point, my issue had only compounded in that the pizza sauce had spilled over the cornicione onto the peel, allowing the wet dough to stick even better. I kept trying to free the dough, but every attempt worsened my situation, like struggling in quicksand or trying to escape a Chinese finger trap. At this point, I knew I had been defeated, so I moved the pizza to a pan and threw it into the oven. By the end of this fiasco, the pizza was merely edible. I would have to try again.
Not wanting to give up so easily, I began my reattempt that day by making a new batch of 24 hour Neapolitan pizza dough. Before this second attempt, I had thought about my first try and all that had gone wrong. I knew the issue was related to the transfer of the wet dough to the oven, so I made changes to account for the wetness and stickiness of the dough. This time I partially baked the crust prior to topping it, which meant that the pizza was not as heavy during the initial transfer when the dough was wet, making it much easier to get the dough into the oven without catastrophe. After successfully getting the pizza into the oven, I knew that my luck had turned, but it wasn’t until I tasted the pizza that I knew I had a winner on my hands.
Pizza with Arugula and Prosciutto
Enjoy a healthy, light meal with this pizza. Pizza with arugula and prosciutto is delicious and has a wonderful fresh flavor perfect for spring.
- 1 24 hour Neapolitan pizza dough ball
- 1 can whole peeled tomatoes
- 1.5 tsp sea salt (fine)
- 3 cups arugula (unpacked)
- olive oil (for tossing arugula)
- 4 slices prosciutto
- Parmesan (for garnish)
Place a pizza stone or steel in the upper 1/3 of your oven. Pre-heat the oven to 500 F (260 C). During this time, remove your 24 hour Neapolitan pizza dough ball from the refrigerator (Please see my link in the introduction.). Allow the oven to pre-heat and the dough to rest at room temperature for 1 hour.
Place 2-3 cups of unpacked arugula into a large bowl. Toss the arugula with olive oil.
Open the can of tomatoes and dump them into a large bowl. Do not discard the juice. Using either a food mill, a food processor, or brute force (anything blunt); puree the tomatoes until a sauce is formed. Stir in 1.5 tsp of sea salt or to taste.
Ten minutes prior to baking your pizza. Switch your oven mode to broil.
Stretch the pizza dough to form a disc. See the recipe notes for a link from my How to Make New York Style Pizza Crust at Home article, which details how to stretch pizza dough to form crust.
Flour a pizza peel (or use cornmeal) and place the stretched dough onto the peel. Switch the oven back to bake at 500 F (260 C) and transfer the crust to the stone.
When the crust begins to form a golden brown color, remove it from the oven.
Add the toppings to the pizza by first spreading the tomato sauce. Then, add slices of mozzarella cheese.
Prior to returning the pizza to the oven, return the oven setting to broil.
Transfer the pizza to the oven and bake until spots of black char begin to form, being careful not to burn the pizza.
Remove the pizza from the oven and top it with prosciutto and arugula.
Serve and enjoy!