The first time I was in Paris I was reading the Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown while I was on the plane to France. When I got to The Louvre I was so excited to hunt for places described in the book while, I was exploring the museum.
The last time I was in Rome I was touring the Vatican and Castel Sant’ Angelo. These two sites are only a few blocks apart and seeing them both in one day is a good way to experience the history of the area. What I did not know when I was seeing these sites, was that I would be seeing them in a movie, soon afterward. The week after I got home the movie Angels and Demons came out on DVD. I was able to revisit so many of the great spots in Rome while watching the movie. It was like reliving my time in Rome through one of Tom Hanks’ adventures.
Rome is a great food city. I love the espresso bars where you stand and have your morning coffee. I love the gelateria where you can go for sweet treats until the wee hours of the morning. I love the panini trucks that will make you delicious toasted sandwiches for lunch. I love the small cafes hosted by families that make you simple, but flavourful bowls of pasta for your dinner. I love the pizzerias in Rome.
I made this pizza recipe in memory of this great city.
Makes 1 pound or enough for 4 individual pizzas
3 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. active dry yeast
1 tbsp. kosher salt
1 tbsp. sugar
Extra-virgin olive oil
6 slices of buffalo mozzarella cheese, ¼ inch thick
½ cup arugula
3 slices prosciutto
3 fresh figs, quartered or 3 dried figs, quartered
Salt and black pepper to taste
2 tbsp. Semolina flour
2 tbsp. honey
Combine the flour, yeast, salt and sugar in a mixer fitted with the dough hook. Mix until just blended, then, add 1 1/3 cups warm water. Mix until the dough comes together, then mix for another minute.
Lightly oil a large bowl. Transfer the dough to the bowl, lightly oil the top of the dough, and cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap. Let rise in a warm spot for 8 hours or until risen dough is marshmallowy.
On a lightly floured surface, use a bench scraper or sharp knife to divide into quarters. With lightly floured hands, shape the pieces into balls by cupping the dough and turning it against the floured surface until round and tight.
Transfer the balls to a highly oiled baking sheet or bowls, then, lightly brush the tops with oil. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm spot until tripled in volume, about 1 ½ hours. Use immediately or put a sheet of parchment on top of the dough balls, then cover tightly in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for up to 2 days. When ready to use, remove from the refrigerator and let stand in a warm place for 1 hour.
Place a pizza stone on the lowest rack of the oven. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Let the stone heat up with the oven.
Roll out dough on a lightly floured surface until it is approximately 9 inches in diameter. Lay on a pizza paddle lightly floured with semolina flour. Add cheese, prosciutto, arugula, figs, salt and pepper.
Slide pizza onto the heated stone and bake on 12- 15 minutes, until crust is golden brown and cheese is melted. Slide pizza back onto paddle and remove from the oven. Drizzle pizza with honey and serve.
Let pizza stone cool down with the oven to avoid cracking.
Recipe for pizza dough from Home Cooking with Jean-Georges by Jean-Georges Vongerichten