Aside from the mosquitos, I love summer grilling. We mostly stick with simple grilling, burgers, steaks and veggies. On a recent weekend however, I decided to try grilling pizzas to change it up. I used a basic pizza dough I found on Epicurious by Giada de Laurentis. I wanted to try Jim Lahey’s famous no-knead pizza dough, but I didn’t plan ahead enough to allow for 18 hours of fermentation time. I thought the dough turned out nice and bubbly, and the grilling definitely gave it another dimension of flavor. Although the pizzas are easy to put together and quick to grill, making and rolling out the dough is time-consuming and is definitely a weekend endeavor for me. If you happen to have some fresh pizza dough on hand, these pizzas come together quickly.
Part I of my grilled pizza adventure focuses on the pizza dough and basic tomato sauce to get you started. You can get creative with your toppings using these recipes as a start. Part II of the adventure includes recipes for a sausage, tomato, basil and mozzarella pizza and a goat cheese and caramelized veggie pizza.
GRILLED PIZZAS PART I –
Homemade Pizza Dough and Basic Tomato Sauce
For the pizza dough:
3/4 cup warm water (105°F to 115°F)
1 package (2 ¼ teaspoons) active dry yeast
2-3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for oiling a large bowl
For the basic pizza sauce:
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 28 oz. can basic tomato sauce
1 teaspoon dried oregano
¼ cup fresh basil, roughly chopped
For the Pizza Dough:
Pour 3/4 cup warm water into a small bowl and stir in yeast. Let stand until yeast dissolves, about 5 minutes. The yeast should get foamy.
Brush a large bowl lightly with olive oil, then set aside. In another large bowl, sift together 2 cups flour, sugar, and salt (I added a teaspoon of finely chopped rosemary to this dough, which is why there are little flecks in it. It wasn’t enough to effect the taste, so either use more rosemary, or leave it out completely). Make a well in the middle and pour in the yeast and 3 tablespoons oil. Using a fork, bring in the flour gradually from the sides while mixing it into the liquid.
Continue doing this to draw in the remainder of the flour and so it starts to come together. The dough will be sticky, but should be workable. If needed, add flour a few tablespoons at a time, until the dough comes together and you can knead the dough. Knead with clean, flour-dusted hands until the dough is smooth and springy.
Transfer the dough to the oiled bowl and turn the dough in bowl to coat with oil. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let dough rise in warm draft-free area until doubled in volume, about 1 hour.
Remove the dough and turn it onto a well-floured work surface. Knead and push the air out of the dough – this process is known as punching down the dough. To use the dough immediately, divide the dough into little balls. This recipe makes 2 medium pizzas or 4 small personal pizzas. I halved the dough for two medium-sized pizzas. Let the dough balls rest for about 10 minutes under a damp cloth, then roll out the dough, starting from the center to the edges.
They don’t have to be perfect, that’s the beauty of homemade! Roll them out until they are about ¼ inch thick. If you want to save some of the dough, finecooking.com has some great tips for saving the dough, click here.
For the Basic Pizza Sauce:
Heat a medium sauce pan over medium heat. Add 2 tablespoons olive oil, minced garlic, oregano and tomato sauce. Simmer over medium heat for at least 15 minutes, salt and pepper to taste. Stir in the fresh basil right before using. I usually do this while I’m waiting for the dough to rise.
Make the Pizza:
Heat grill and wait until it is hot. High/Medium-high heat works best. Place the pizza dough on the grill and brush with a little olive oil. Cook the dough uncovered for 1-3 minutes, depending on heat. The dough should start to get bubbly and nice grill marks should appear on the bottom side before flipping the dough. Flip the dough, then top with sauce and toppings of your choice. (Try my Sausage, Tomato, Basil, Mozzarella Pizza or Goat Cheese and Caramelized Onions, Peppers and Mushroom Pizza!) Cover the grill and cook for another 5-7 minutes, until the crust is crisp and the toppings are cooked. If you want to do this in the oven, see the oven method instructions in Grilled Pizzas Part II.