The peppery flavor of arugula is perfect for a pizza. Arugula pizza is a nice traditional Italian pizza. Arugula pizza was a speciale del giorno offering at the last family style Italian restaurant that I worked in. Everybody treated the arugula pizza like it was a very special item. One taste of an arugula pizza and you will see why!
Pizza Dough Recipe:
If you have dough making experience, then this will be easy.
High gluten flour is best for this recipe, but bread flour can be used. Pizza dough is focaccia dough or Italian bagette style bread dough. No oil in the mixture will produce a dough that is like many Italian breads that are not enriched with fat or French baguette bread dough. Many pizzeria chefs do not add oil to a pizza dough and that is correct pizza dough too.
Focaccia style doughs require enrichment with fat. Olive oil is a fat! Oil strengthens and elongates the gluten strands of the dough. It only takes a very small amount of oil to produce a nice texture. The elastic gluten strands give pizza dough the ability to be stretched and tossed in the air!
Add 2 tablespoon of fresh yeast or 1 tablespoon of dry yeast to 16 ounces of tepid luke warm water in a mixing bowl.
Place the mixing bowl in a luke warm place like on top of a warm oven.
When the yeast activates, add 2 teaspoons of sugar to proof the yeast.
Add about 2 cups of flour.
Add 2 teaspoons of sea salt.
Add 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil.
Stir the mixture with a spoon, till a very loose wet dough is formed.
Start adding a little bit of flour at a time,while stirring, till a loose dough is formed.
Add a little more flour at a time, while mixing with your fingers, till the dough starts to pull away from the sides of the bowl.
You will be able to feel when the dough is starting to get elastic. It will stick to your hands when made correctly, but that will change after rising twice.
Add flour, while hand mixing, till the dough can pull away from the sides of the bowl.
Cover the dough in the mixing bowl with a dry towel.
Set the bowl on top of an oven in a luke warm area, with a second towel underneath the bowl to protect the dough from too much heat.
When the dough rises more than double, beat it down with your knuckles and gather the dough like a ball in the bowl.
Cover the dough with a towel and let it rise again.
When it rises the second time, beat the dough down and knead firmly with your hands for 1 minute.
Place the dough on a floured counter top.
Roll the dough into a large ball.
Cut the dough ball in half for two medium size pizzas portions or into four portions for mini pizzas.
Roll and tuck each dough portion with with your hands to make smooth dough balls.
You can cover and refrigerate each dough ball for a few days or freeze the dough portions for later use.
Pizza Sauce Recipe:
This is one of many pizza tomato sauces that I have posted. Many old fashioned pizzeria chefs like to use tomato paste. Good tomato paste is made by letting the heat of the sun partially dry and cook the tomatoes, till they become thick enough to be turned into paste. A good tomato paste has a rich sun dried tomato kind of flavor. This pizza sauce is thick and rich tasting!
Place 6 ounces of tomato paste into a mixing bowl.
Add 4 ounces of virgin olive oil, while whisking.
Add sea salt and black pepper.
Add 3 pinches of oregano.
Add 1 pinch of crushed red pepper.
Add 4 cloves of minced garlic.
Mix the ingredients thoroughly.
Ser the pizza sauce aside.
Coat a smooth countertop with a very thin film of olive oil. (Just a few drops of olive oil wiped on the counter is plenty!)
Place a mini pizza size portion of the dough on the counter top.
Press and stretch the dough flat.
Use your finger tips to gently press the dough outward from the center to form a flat round rustic pizza dough shape that is about 1/4" to 3/8" thick.
Transfer the pizza dough to a pizza pan.
Pat the dough out again if necessary.
Spread the pizza sauce on the pizza dough.
Sprinkle a little bit of finely grated parmesan cheese over the sauce.
Sprinkle some grated mozzarella cheese over the pizza.
Note: It is not necessary to smother a pizza with cheese, like American fast food pizza shops do. The original Italian pizzas were simply focaccia bread with small amounts of quality toppings. An excess amount of cheese does not make a better pizza! Especially if it is cheap low quality Wisconsin bulk mozzarella. It is better to use tasteful amounts of high quality Italian cheese or artisan cheese for a better quality pizza!
Place a generous amount of arugula leaves on the pizza.
Drizzle a little bit of virgin olive oil over the arugula leaves.
Sprinkle a tiny amount of sea salt over the arugula leaves.
Bake the pizza in a 450º oven, till the crust becomes crispy on the outside and the cheese becomes lightly browned. (The cheese should be only lightly browned on an arugula pizza.)
Place the pizza on a cutting board.
Sprinkle a little bit of finely grated parmesan cheese over the hot pizza.
Cut the pizza into slices and slide the pizza slices onto a plate.
Arugula pizza is one of my favorite pizzas! The healthy peppery flavor of arugula is so nice with the cheese and the rich tomato paste pizza sauce.
Of course Italian Chianti is the best wine to match with pizza. Italians do respect French wines, because the Romans were the first to introduce good wine grapes to France. French Beaujolais Nouveau is a quickly made fresh wine. This wine is the first wine that is made during the grape harvest season and it celebrates the festive grape harvest. Beaujolais Nouveau is never aged and it is meant to be consumed immediately. Good fresh French celebration wine is always a nice for pairing with pizza. Yummy! Ciao Baby! ... Shawna