Grilled Pizza - Margherita Style
Summer is here in full force. I don't know about you but it's roasty-toasty where I live. And we all know what happens in summer - we start grilling. However, I get tired of the hunk-o-meat thrown on the grill. Don't get me wrong - I'm the first in line for some barbequed ribs or chicken. But sometimes I want something non-meaty but still on the grill. We grill pizza quite frequently in my household, especially in the summer. The glorious thing about it is you can alter the toppings any way you like. For the cavemen, load that pie up with bacon, prosciutto, pepperoni, sausage, or ground beef. For me, my favorite is Grilled Pizza - Margherita Style.
We don't have a wood-fired pizza oven in our backyard, and probably never will. The next best thing is the grill. I must admit, with a bit of shame, that we own a gas grill. (Now's when the grilling geeks out there groan...). I'm too damn lazy to spend 45 minutes building a chimney starter and waiting for the coals to ash over. I like turning a few knobs, waiting 15 minutes for the monster to heat up, and then grilling some animal flesh or fruits of the earth in rapid time.
Back to the pizza. It's much easier than you might think. If you want to go totally Sandra Lee, you can buy jarred pizza sauce instead of making your own, although this recipe is easy-peasy lemon squeezy and it tastes a helluva lot better.
The key is to have your grill at the right temperature and to prevent the dough from sticking to whatever you put it on for transport to the grill. I roll the pizza dough out and place on lightly floured parchment paper atop an overturned baking sheet. Just don't let it get warm - the moisture in the dough will seep out into the paper and it will stick.
Grilled Pizza - Margherita Style
1 lb. pizza dough - homemade, store-bought, or purchased from pizzeria
2 T. olive oil
1 small red onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
28 oz. crushed tomatoes
1 T. fresh basil, rolled and sliced
1 t. fresh rosemary, minced
1 t. dried oregano
1 t. sugar
salt and pepper
olive oil, for brushing
1 ball fresh mozzarella, thinly sliced
handful fresh basil
In a large skillet, heat olive oil over med-high heat. Add onions and cook until translucent. Add garlic and cook 30 seconds more or until fragrant. Add the undrained tomatoes and herbs. Add sugar and salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a simmer and cook for 30 minutes or until slightly thickened.
Meanwhile, heat grill to high. Allow to heat for 15 minutes then scrape grill grates clean.
Divide dough ball in half. On a lightly floured surface, roll each portion into a circle as thin as you can without tearing. Don't worry if it ends up in the shape of an amoeba - it will add to the rustic charm. Place a piece of parchment paper on an overturned baking sheet. Sprinkle and rub lightly with flour. Carefully move dough to baking sheet.
Once grill is ready, bring all ingredients and toppings outside to the grill with you, because now it's going to go quickly. With the grill on high heat, brush one side of dough generously with olive oil. Toss the dough on grill, oiled side down, and peel off paper. Repeat with other dough half. Close lid and turn heat down to medium-high. After about 5 minutes, start checking the underside of the pizza for a golden brown crust. When ready, oil the top side and flip dough.
Immediately spoon on sauce and top with sliced fresh mozzarella. Close the lid and turn down the heat to low. Once the cheese is melted and the bottom is browned, remove from the grill. Tear the remaining fresh basil and sprinkle on pizza.