Hot Grill Summer: Vol. 2 – A taste of Little Italy

One culinary passion I recently discovered came out of our stay-at-home time in early 2020: homemade pizza.  

Of course, I know, there are tons of terrific pizza options in Lincoln Parish, and I assure you the convenience of going and grabbing an order or eating in a restaurant is all well and good. But for me, the challenge of making pizza dough from scratch in your kitchen and watching it rise for 48 hours is the real gem for this recipe. 

A little backstory, first: in 2019, my wife and I went with two good friends to vacation for a week in Manhattan. This was pre-pandemic, and it was our second trip to New York. Our goal was to catch two Broadway shows and eat at some of the finest places on the planet (we accomplished both goals). 

On one of our food tours, we stopped in an old pizzeria in Little Italy. While our guide was walking us through the history of the neighborhood, I was transfixed watching the cook stretching and tossing the pizza dough. Once he brought it back down to the prep area, he swirled the dough over semolina to help transition the pizza onto the giant metal peel and then into the oven. 

As our tour of the restaurant continued, we were whisked away to the seating area, and I had to leave my own personal cooking show. And when the pizzas were brought out 15 minutes later, I could not believe the incredible taste combo: the salty prosciutto, the creamy mozzarella, the texture of the arugula, and the crisp and tasty crust charred perfectly in the oven.

It instantly became one of my favorites, and now I get to share it with you. 

Before we get to the actual recipe, though, I want to encourage you to a) try making your own dough and b) invest in a pizza stone and pizza peel (I prefer metal, but wood is an option, as well). 

First, actually making the dough is my favorite part. Watching pizza dough rise for 24 to 48 hours brings a tremendous sense of accomplishment, mostly because it requires so much intricacy on the front end. I have ruined plenty of pizza dough in the past by rushing the process by not properly blooming the yeast (this happened way more in the beginning). The recipe I use is linked in the ingredient section. 

Second, a pizza stone gives your home the equivalent of a wood fire pizza oven. Place it on the center rack, and then turn your oven to 500 degrees. (Caution: do NOT put a cold pizza stone into a hot oven). After it has preheated, wait 30 more minutes for your pizza stone to hit optimal temperature. You can now start preparing your pizza. Because the dough may become sticky, you don’t want to make the pizza and then wait to put it in the oven. I try to have everything in the oven within three minutes of stretching the pizza dough. 

Lastly, if you do not choose to purchase a pizza peel, here is a free hack for you: put your pizza on parchment paper and then put it on top of the pizza stone. Halfway through cooking, gently lift the pizza with tongs or a spatula and pull the parchment paper out. Let it cook for the remaining five minutes. 

As always, please exercise caution around a hot stove. 

Over time, you can master your pizza dough and turn your attention to dreaming big on what to put on top of it. For me, this Little Italy recipe is perfect for nostalgia, as well as taste. 

But, I promise you, I’ll share some other pizza recipes at another time. 

Enjoy, and thank you for reading. 

Ingredients: 

Pizza dough – my go-to is found here (This “Tasty” recipe makes enough for four pizzas; just divide the ingredients into fourths. You can also let it rise on your counter in a covered bowl for up to 48 hours)

8 oz. Pull apart Mozzarella 

6 pieces of Prosciutto  

Sliced grape tomatoes 

Arugula to top

Shaved parmesan to top

Salt & Pepper 

1 TBSP olive oil 

Directions 

  1. Preheat pizza stone or cast iron skillet to 500 degrees. Set a timer for 30 minutes after oven has preheated. 
  2. Prepare pizza dough. 
  3. Top with mozzarella to cover most of dough (save outside for crust). 
  4. Drizzle with olive oil. 
  5. Cook pizza for 10 minutes. 
  6. Remove pizza and place on pan (do not remove the hot pizza stone). 
  7. Top with prosciutto in long fashion around the pizza from middle to crust (6 pieces). 
  8. Toss arugula, the tomatoes, and shaved parmesan around the top. 
  9. Salt and pepper to season. 
  10. Let sit for 10 minutes to allow the prosciutto to warm up over the hot cheese. 
  11. Slice and enjoy. 

 


To report an issue or typo with this articleCLICK HERE