One afternoon while having lunch, we caught an episode of America’s Test Kitchen where they made a Pizza Bianco. It looked so easy and delicious that I stopped mid bite of my sandwich and feverishly began jotting down the recipe for the pizza dough. I was drawn to it as it almost had a focaccia-like consistency.
A few weeks later, with some more time on my hands and ambition at my side, I decided to give A.T.K.’s pizza dough a spin. True to form, like many of their recipes, it was easy. However, it was VERY time consuming. Mix this, wait 5 minutes….spin that, wait 2 minutes, flip 101 times….you get the point. But I must admit that the end result was well worth the wait.
I also opted out of their “bianco” style pizza in lieu of a tomato based sauce I created myself. To honor the Margherita Pizza, I used homegrown basil, creamy Bocconcini Mozzarella, and quickly roasted sliced tomatoes. And for that added extra punch, I topped it all off with crumbled crispy bacon. Why? Because I LOVE bacon.
WE LOVED IT! It was so savory, gooey from the cheese, bright from the basil and 95% homemade so you know where everything comes from. Incidentally, I didn’t make the cheese though I have ALWAYS wanted to try! There’s always next time. We also drizzled some of the baked pizza with some deliciously high quality finishing olive oil….very Italiano!
Word to the wise, start this recipe when you aren’t the least bit hungry. Having to wait for the dough to rise is quite time consuming and could be a monster if you’re hungry! :)
Margherita Pizza with Crispy Bacon
Serves Approximately 4
Pizza Dough (From America’s Test Kitchen)
3 Cups All Purpose Flour
1 ¼ Teaspoon Salt
1 ⅔ Cups Water
1 ½ Teaspoon Yeast
1¼ Teaspoon Sugar
2 Tablespoon Olive Oil (extra for greasing)
2 Tablespoons Corn Meal (finely ground)
1 32 Ounce Can of Plum Tomatoes
1 Tablespoon of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 Clove Finely Dice Garlic
1 Teaspoon Red Chili Flakes
1 Teaspoon Dried Oregano
¼ Teaspoon Dried Fennel
Salt and Pepper to taste
12 Fresh Bocconcini Mozzarella (cut in half)
1 Plum Tomato, sliced, and slightly roasted at 400 degrees for 10 minutes
4 Slices Bacon, cooked, and crumbled into large pieces
5-6 Fresh Basil Leaves
Preheat Oven to 450 degrees for one hour before you are ready to bake the pizza (preferably with a Pizza Stone).
In Mixer using a Dough Hook, combine flour, salt, and water just to combine. Approximately 3-4 minutes. Let rest for an additional 20 minutes. Add yeast and sugar. Mix for 2 minutes. Turn on Mixer on High Speed and mix for an additional 6-10 minute until dough is glossy & smooth. Dough should begin pulling away from bowl. In another large bowl, oil the surface with 1 Tablespoon of Olive Oil Bowl. Transfer dough to bowl, add another 1 Tablespoon to the top. Cover with plastic wrap and let triple in volume – approximately 2-2 ½ hours.
While dough is resting, prepare tomato sauce. In a sauce pot, heat olive oil for 1 minute. Add garlic and cook until fragrant. Add chili flakes and heat for an additional minute. Add the entire can of tomatoes with liquids to the pot. Let simmer for 2-3 minutes. With the back of a wooden spoon (or potato masher), break down and crush the tomatoes. Add oregano and fennel and simmer on low for an additional 5 minutes. Remove from heat. In a food processor or blender, carefully puree the tomato mixture. Leave thick so that it spreads well over the dough. Salt and pepper to taste.
Cover a baking pan with 2 Tablespoons of Olive Oil. Sprinkle corn meal evenly across the pan and turn dough into pan. Lightly and gently spread dough across pan. If the dough does not hold shape and snaps back, let rest for an additional 5 minutes. Once the dough has been spread onto the pan, let it sit on countertop for another 5-10 minutes until it gets good and bubbly.
Dock the dough 30-40 times and parbake for about 15 minutes. It should be lightly brown on the top. Pull from oven and spread the Tomato sauce to cover. Add roasted sliced tomatoes, cheese, and bacon. Put back into the oven for about 5-10 minutes until cheese is lightly brown. Add fresh basil and continue cooking for an additional 5 minutes.
Remove from oven and let cool in pan for a few minutes before transferring to a cutting board. Cut with a Pizza Slicer (or bread knife) and Enjoy!