I held my first “Pizza and Pudewa” get together last night with a handful of other homeschooling teachers. Not only did we get to review all 9 units of the “Teaching Writing: Structure and Style” seminar, but we also got to enjoy some good food: homemade pizza.

I’ve been trying my hand at pizza now for several weeks although I haven’t really ventured far from traditional combinations of red sauce, pepperoni, mushrooms, and sausage (all favorites of my kids). They did enjoy a plain cheese version with a pesto base but aside from that, have been perfectly happy to stick with the old standbys.

Last night, knowing that I was going to be preparing food for other women, I figured it was my chance to get a little more experimental with ingredients. I’d stumbled across an interesting sounding recipe earlier in the week while flipping through a magazine at my doctor’s office and I decided to give it a try in spite of the unusual combination of ingredients (full recipe at the end of this post). I also searched out a description of the pizza that had been my all-time favorite when I lived in Seattle, a Pagliacci Mediterranean-style pizza called “Agog Primo”: mushrooms, roasted garlic, goat cheese, Kalamata olives, fontina, mozzarella and parsley on olive oil with tomatoes after bake.

Something else that I did a bit differently in preparation for my get together was prebake the crusts. I’d done a bit of research a couple of weeks ago on whether that was advisable and found that it’s a topic of much debate among pizza connoisseurs. I knew that it would certainly speed up the process and allow me to watch more of the videos with my guests so I gave it a try. Aside from the hilarious way that they ballooned up while baking, I think they worked out just fine and the pizzas tasted no worse for it:

pizza crusts

As you can see from the picture, I popped the crusts to release the air when they came out of the oven (not all of them ballooned up as much as this one!), then stacked them on top of each other. When I was ready to use them, I rubbed some olive oil on top with a little kosher salt, and then added the toppings as I would have if I hadn’t baked the crusts at all.

Here are the 6 pizzas I ended up making:

  • Classic Margherita: pesto base with mozzarella and sliced tomatoes
  • Peach & Prosciutto with Bleu Cheese: olive oil/salt base with prosciutto, peaches, bleu cheese, and parsley (didn’t have basil)
  • Mediterranean: olive oil/salt base with feta, kalamata olives, roasted garlic, tomatoes, and parsley
  • BBQ chicken (inspired by California Pizza Kitchen):  BBQ sauce base with mozzarella, caramelized onions, bacon, chicken, and a little bit of sharp cheddar on top
  • Pepperoni & Mushroom: traditional red sauce base with mozzarella, pepperoni, and mushrooms
  • Classic Supreme: red sauce base with mozzarella, pepperoni, red/yellow sweet peppers, mushrooms, caramelized onions, roasted garlic, and bacon

And the hands down favorite ended up being–surprisingly!–the Peach & Prosciutto with Bleu Cheese. Or maybe it was just the one that was most compelling to try. Either way, it’s the one that had no leftovers so here’s the recipe in case you’re feeling adventurous and want to try it yourself. I’ll definitely be making it again!

Peach, Prosciutto, and Bleu Cheese Pizza
an unexpected combination of flavors in a delicious gourmet pizza
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Ingredients
  1. homemade or store-bought pizza crust
  2. cornmeal for sprinkling (if using homemade dough; otherwise, omit)
  3. 2 peaches, pitted and sliced into thin wedges
  4. 6 slices of prosciutto, torn into pieces
  5. 3 oz. bleu cheese, crumbled
  6. small handful of fresh basil leaves
  7. olive oil to drizzle
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Sprinkle pizza stone (or metal baking sheet) lightly with cornmeal. Divide dough in half and stretch pizza dough into two thin rounds (save the 2nd for another pizza). Place one crust on cookie sheet and bake for five minutes. Remove from oven, top with prosciutto and peaches. Crumble cheese over pizza, leaving a half-inch border around edges. Return pizza to oven and bake until crust crisps, about 10 minutes. Drizzle with olive oil and top with basil leaves. Slice pizza into wedges and serve.
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