I have been missing pizza. My dietician told me no fast food for a while (too high sodium and fat), so I have not had pizza from a restaurant for a while.
I decided that it is about time that I try making my own. Shouldn’t be too hard: pizza dough, cheese, sauce, and some toppings.
My biggest challenge was finding pizza dough. I have not made dough of any sort at all, so I decided not to take on that challenge (yet). I just wanted to have an easy pizza. However, our local grocery stores do not carry pizza dough. It’s either Boboli or some premade variety. Fortunately, I remembered that our local Trader Joe’s sell pizza dough; although, it look me two visits before I can find fresh ones.
Having not made any sort of pizza before, I used some of the advice from The Unintentional Vegan on making Skillet Flatbread Pizza. In my first attempt, I did not feel like tomato sauce, so I just decided to prepare it like flatbread and top it with olive oil, onions, and pears. I needed some protein in it – so I thought some soy sausage would be okay – having nothing else on hand. This combination was acceptable, but I would not recommend it, unless you are desperate.
Prepping and Cooking the Dough
I took a portion of the dough (about a fifth) and tried to flatten it by hand: I was not very successful and found a new respect for pizza makers who flatten by tossing the dough. Not wanting to take out the rolling pin, I continued to flatten in by hand and ended up with a thick-crust pizza. Perhaps next time.
|First Try: Soy Sausage and Pears|
I also did the Cook, Flip, Flip, Top method as described by The Unintentional Vegan. If you need some clarification on this (like I did), it is as follows: cook on one side until it bubbles, flip and cook the bubbly side, then flip again and top. This approach makes sense, since the flatter originally cooked side will be the bottom of your pizza.
The pizza that was featured seemed to have raw toppings: I did not feel like raw at this time, so I precooked mine.
Overall, my first attempt was yummy. I was a bit disappointed with my dough performance, but I promised to use the rolling pin on the dough next time.
Rounds 2 and 3
My second attempt is more successful. I used similar toppings, except this time I had pancetta instead of sausage. My topping skills also improved: I even have a pattern now. If you are feeling artistic, it is not as hard as it looks, just be patient. Arrange the pears and pancetta in an alternating circular pattern. I accompanied it with a simple arugula salad. Great combo! The arugula complemented the pears so well, I could have included the arugula in the topping.
|Pears and Pancetta "Pizza" with Arugula Salad|
In my third attempt, I decided to use a tomato sauce base. I still had some pancetta, but running out of arugula for a salad, so I decided to use the remaining arugula as a topping. With mushrooms, this was a killer combo. Also, my pizza dough turned out a weird shape, i.e., it was not circular. Good thing though: it was flat, thanks to my rolling pin. I think it give it character. It still needs a little something for plating.
|Tomato sauce based pizza with pancetta and arugula|
Overall, good attempt and I am getting better at it. It is a bit of a pain to flatten the dough with a rolling pin, especially just for a quick lunch. It’s a bit more clean-up than I bargained for. However, cleaning up maybe a bit less, if I get a kid’s sized rolling pin or if I let my husband do the cleaning (LOL).
I may also try to make my own pizza dough next time. The technique seems easy enough for a novice cook like me to try. Besides, punching the dough seems appealing to me (Huh, wait. What?)
However, this is a great lunch for one – maybe two – if you make a bigger pizza and have a bigger skillet. Nonetheless, I will definitely do it again for a nice weekend lunch!
Here’s the recipe.
Skillet Pear and Pancetta Pizza For One
Loosely based on Skillet Flatbread Pizza from The Unintentional Vegan
- About 1/5 of pre-made pizza dough (I prefer whole wheat)
- About a handful of cornmeal for the dough (optional)
- Olive Oil, to brush the dough and to sauté the pears and onions.
- Mozzarella Cheese (be as cheesy as you want to be. For this pizza, I prefer light amounts of cheese to let the flavor of the pears and the onions come through)
- ½ of a pear, sliced
- 4 slices of Pancetta
- Handful of sliced onions (about 1/4 cup)
Side Salad (optional)
- 1/4 cup of Arugula
- 2 teaspoons of olive oil
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Begin to roll out the pizza dough. You can use whatever method works for you here. As suggested, I initially tried to work it into a circle with my hands, but that yielded a thick crust pizza. Since I do not have that much experience, I prefer using a rolling pin. The key is to make it fairly even in thickness, leaving it a bit thicker on the edges. Be sure to make your circle a bit smaller than your skillet, as it will expand a bit when it heats up.
- Heat a 9-10" metal skillet over medium-high heat.
- Brush one side of the circle with olive oil and dust with cornmeal. Add it to the skillet, oiled side down and cook for several minutes - you want the crust to bubble a bit and the bottom to get lightly browned. Flip and cook until the bubbly side is slightly charred.
- While the dough is cooking, sweat the onions and pears in a different pan. If you prefer, very lightly heat the pancetta in the same pan.
- Flip the dough again. Brush the dough with olive oil and top the pizza with cheese and the pear sauté. Be very careful as the pan is hot. However, I am a big proponent of minimizing cleaning as possible, but if you prefer take the dough out of the pan, put your toppings, and put it back in the pan. Also, leave about 1/4 in to 1/3 in” un-topped around the edges so you have a nice handle for eating your pizza.
- Cover with a lid and let it cook until the bottom is lightly charred and the toppings are warmed through. This takes about 5 minutes. Remove from skillet and let cool slightly. Cut and serve with arugula topped with some olive oil, salt, and pepper, if desired.
- Try a regular pizza with tomato sauce, pepperoni, mushrooms, and peppers. I would sweat the mushrooms and peppers first, as well. Then crust the handle with Parmesan cheese. Yummy.
- In spite of my earlier comment, using soy meat was equally good too. Great for Meatless Mondays. No soy sausage with pears anymore, though… not a good combination, maybe with the tomato sauce and mushrooms.