I’ve been drooling watching everyone talk about their spring artichokes. Alas, here in MN there are none, and the fresh ones there are tend to be exceedingly pricey. In an attempt to put off my cravings until some California artichokes land in my lap, I made a pizza. One with artichokes of the marinated and canned variety. There happens to be a bit of prosciutto on there too, but that’s just an extra bonus.
First, let’s start with the dough. What is a good pizza without a good dough? I decided that for these, rather than using my generic pizza dough that I use for everything from baked pizzas to grilled pizzas to calzones, I’d switch it up and make a flatbread with a bit more personality and sass to it.
Start with warm water. Too hot will kill the yeast, but too cold won’t get it growing. Aim for somewhere near 110 degrees F.
Sprinkle the yeast across the surface of the water as evenly as you can and wait. Hint: It helps if your water is in the bowl rather than in a measuring cup or other container so that you have more surface area to sprinkle onto.
Wait 5 minutes for the yeast to start looking a bit frothy on the surface of the water and then stir in the dry particles.
Add in oil.
Then slowly stir in the flour only a 1/2 cup at a time.
Until it starts to look like dough.
Once all the flour has been added, grease a sheet pan and flop the dough out onto it to rise. Cover and stash in a warm place for one hour.
When the dough is nice and puffy, split it into three. Here you can decide how many pizzas you’re going to make. Save the extra dough for a different night by stashing it in the fridge or the freezer. Take one-third of the dough and place it on a well-floured surface, and give it a bit of a kneading. We aren’t looking to fully knead the dough here, just make it a bit softer and easier to work with, so about 15-20 “kneads” should be sufficient.
Sprinkle your surface with cornmeal to prevent the dough from sticking, and roll it out into a circle.
Brush with olive oil and bake for 10 minutes.
Now come the toppings. Start by layering on thinly sliced prosciutto.
Next add canned artichoke hearts, drizzling about two tablespoons of their marinade over the pizza.
Where there are artichokes, the basil will follow.
Top with fresh mozzarella rounds and you’re ready to bake.
It took me about 15 minutes to get the pizza to where I wanted it: crisp crust on the bottom, slightly browned cheese on top.
And if it’s nice enough, bring your pizza outside and sit in the grass or on the back steps and enjoy the fresh air.
1 package dry active yeast (2 1/4 teaspoons)
1 1/2 cups warm water
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup fresh herbs or 2 tablespoons dried herbs
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
5 cups flour
cornmeal for dusting
2 tablespoons olive oil
In a large bowl, sprinkle yeast over warm water and let sit for 5 minutes until frothy on surface. Stir to wet any dry particles. Mix in olive oil, herbs, garlic and salt. Slowly add flour a 1/2 cup at a time, stirring to combine after each addition. When all flour is added, dough should be a very sticky ball.
Turn the dough out onto a greased baking sheet. Cover and let rise in a warm place for one hour.
Once dough has doubled in size, preheat oven to 400° F. Split dough into three portions. Place dough on a well-floured surface. Knead about 15 times in flour until dough is easy to handle. Place ball on cornmeal-dusted cookie sheet or pizza peel. Roll into a circle. Brush with olive oil.
Bake at 400° on cookie sheet or preheated baking stone for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and top with desired pizza toppings. Return to oven and bake for 10 minutes more until cheese is bubbly and starts to brown.
For flatbread only, do not brush with olive oil before baking. Bake at 400° for 15 minutes until top starts to brown. Remove from oven. Brush with olive oil, sprinkle lightly with Parmesan cheese and serve.
Makes (3) 16″ pizzas.
1/4 pound prosciutto, thinly sliced
4-6 ounces marinated artichoke hearts
1/4 cup fresh basil leaves
6 ounces fresh mozzarella, thinly sliced
Preheat oven to 400° F. Work dough with flour until easy to handle. Place ball on cornmeal-dusted cookie sheet or pizza peel. Roll into a circle. Brush with olive oil. Bake at 400° on cookie sheet or preheated baking stone for 10 minutes. Remove from oven.
After pre-baking the crust for 10 minutes, remove from oven. Brush with additional extra virgin olive oil if desired. I’ve found that there is usually enough moisture from the first brushing that it is not necessary. Lay sliced prosciutto across the crust. Top with artichoke hearts and drizzle with two tablespoons of the marinade they are packed in. Lie fresh basil leaves evenly across the crust. Top with fresh mozzarella rounds until covered.
Return to oven and bake for 10 minutes more until cheese is bubbly and starts to brown. Let rest for 5 minutes before slicing and serving.
Makes (1) 16″ pizza.