Worth Repeating: Fig and Prosciutto Pizza

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Oh yum, look at that.

So what’s new in the many days and weeks since my last post? Well, autumn is here, and New York is wearing it beautifully. This is by far my favorite time of year and I’m really excited for the next couple of months.  What else have I been up to? Well, I’ve had time not only to discover new favorite recipes but also to actually repeat the especially good ones.

Exhibit A: fig and prosciutto pizza, which I found, as I find many things I write about, in Bon Appetit magazine (though, for anyone reading, let’s have a little moment of silence for the institution that was Gourmet, which didn’t survive the nasty cuts at Conde Nast last week. This is going to come back to bite them in the butt, I hope).

The first time I made this recipe, I was making dinner for my friend Michael after a spree at Whole Foods. They had some really gorgeous figs there, and luckily when I was making my way into line I passed by a selection of pizza doughs and remembered having seen this recipe. Now, I come from a family where homemade pizza is taken very seriously. My mom’s dough recipe (by way of Wolfgang Puck’s cookbook) is to die for–the kind of dough that is the main event in itself, and where toppings play second banana. Well, I did feel some guilt going for the premade stuff, but  I used the excuse that I lacked both time and a food processor and went for it. I do have to say that Whole Foods’ pizza dough is a steal (less than $2 for a one-pound package) and it was also very good–so not too much guilt here. But still not as good as mom’s (like most things).

Here’s what you need for Pizza with Figs, Prosciutto, Gorgonzola, and Arugula (Bon Appetit, August 2009):

  • Cornmeal
  • 1 1-pound package purchased pizza dough
  • Crumbled Gorgonzola cheese (about 8 ounces)
  • 6 small fresh figs, cut into 1/4- to 1/3-inch-thick slices
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar, divided
  • 8 thin slices prosciutto
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 8 cups arugula

This recipe couldn’t be easier. Preheat your oven to 450°F.  If you’re really lucky, you have a pizza stone. I don’t. But if you do, heat that sucker up. If you’re like me, sprinkle some cornmeal out on a rimless baking sheet. Roll out your dough on an already-floured work surface. Make sure that you let the dough relax at room temperature for a bit first, or you will feel like it’s making fun of you–it’ll just snap back into a ball as soon as you try to roll it out. Not that this has happened to me before.

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Sprinkle the dough with your Gorgonzola and some black pepper. Bake until golden brown around the edges. For me this took about 20 minutes, but everyone’s oven behaves differently so check around 15 mins. In the meantime, combine your fig slices and 1 tbsp of balsamic vinegar in a small bowl and let it hang out while the dough bakes.

When your crust is ready, arrange your prosciutto slices on top of the pizza, and then top it with the figs. I was a little “aw, what the heck” about it and used up the rest of my Gorgonzola on top too:

IMG_2521Put it back in the oven for just a minute or two until everything is warmed through. Whisk together the rest of your vinegar along with some olive oil and toss it with the arugula and some salt and pepper. Then just pile that business on top of your pizza.

I loved this recipe so much that I made it a second time when I went back home recently to visit my parents. My mom had meant to make some pizza dough but we were running around doing errands and decided to do this recipe on short notice. It came together in no time and garnered raves from the whole fam. It’s savory, sweet, gooey, sharp, crisp, and peppery all in one easy-to-prepare bite.

Worth repeating a third time? You bet.

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