Wednesday, April 9, 2008

proscuitto and leek pizza

when i said we eat pizza a lot in our house, i meant it. we really like the versatility of it, and i frequently find myself using it as our weekend "stew" by dumping anything and everything we still have in the fridge or pantry onto a homemade crust. this pizza came about by more subtle means; my love of leeks. i am always trying to find new recipes in which to use them and this example is no different. the leeks themselves are very sweet and crispy, while the proscuitto is salty and chewy. the boursin cheese adds the perfect finishing touch to this duet of flavors.
the crust is the same as in the very veg pizza, however, for convenience sake, i've reprinted it below.

whole wheat crust ingredients:
1 package instant yeast

1 cup warm water

2 1/2 cups white whole wheat flour (i use arnold's)

2 teaspoons sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

4* tablespoons olive oil (you will need a little more to coat the dough while it rises)

whole wheat crust directions:

mix yeast in water and allow about five minutes to dissolve and begin to foam. once the yeast is ready mix it in with the rest of the ingredients and turn dough out of bowl. knead for several minutes until very smooth (or until your wrist hurts from your carpal tunnel) and then place in a clean bowl that has been coated with olive oil. coat the top of the dough with a liberal glug of olive oil, and cover with a clean dish towel and set on the back burner of the stove (or a warm place.)

once the dough has risen for about 15 minutes, remove it from the bowl and carefully begin to stretch it out. you need to get it large enough to cover a rimmed baking sheet (which you won't need to oil if you coated the dough well enough) in a thin layer with the edges folded up to make a crust. get the dough as thin as you can because it tastes best that way. set aside. preheat oven to 425 degrees.

topping ingredients:

3 medium or 2 large leeks, sliced thin

2 batches of moonblush/quick roasted tomatoes
4 to 6 ounces of thinly sliced proscuitto, chopped
2 cups low moisture, part skim mozzarella
4 ounces boursin cheese, crumbled
olive oil
5 stalks fresh thyme
salt and pepper

topping directions:
soak the thinly sliced leeks in a large bowl or the sink filled with cool water. separate the rings with your fingers, being sure not to leave any stuck together. because they are grown in sand, they need to float on top of the water, while the sand sinks to the bottom. this is the best way to ensure that they are completely clean.
while the leeks are soaking, heat a large pan over medium high heat and add in about 2 to 3 tablespoons of olive oil. once the leeks are clean and have been drained on towels, add them into the pan with some salt to help sweat them, a little pepper (to taste) and the leaves of the thyme stalks. cook the leeks until they are soft, or for about 8 minutes, stirring them frequently.
layer the tomatoes on the crust evenly, and then spread the leeks on top of that. crumble the thinly sliced proscuitto on top of the leeks, and then add the mozzarella and boursin cheese in an even layer. pop the pizza in the oven and then wait until the cheese is melted and begins to brown.


as i've previously stated, we top this crust with just about anything. some other favorites include:
bbq sauce, shredded chicken, and cheddar cheese
alfredo sauce, grilled shrimp, sauteed spinach, and parmesan cheese
really, you can put almost anything on this and it's bound to be good. i hope you'll try it with your own variations!

*i've updated the recipe to read 4 tablespoons of olive oil as it produces a better result.


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