Recipe: Pizza with Burrata, Kalamata Olives and Spicy Salami

Recipe: Pizza With Burrata, Kalamata Olives And Spicy Salami
JeanMarie Brownson/TNS

Individual pizzas are easier for the home cook who’ s working on dinner alone.

When sunny skies dot the fall forecast, I mix up a batch of pizza dough so it can rise while I hit the forest preserve bicycle trails. At home, I take the chill off by cranking up a hot oven outfitted with a pizza stone.

Check out the many dough ingredients and prepared crust options in the supermarket these days. For homemade dough, the soft wheat flour preferred by many pizzaiolos known as Tipo “00” is widely available thanks to King Arthur Baking Company and imported brands.

DeLallo sells a pizza dough kit made with “00” flour that’s easy to use. Or, seek out refrigerated doughs sold at stores such as Trader Joe’s. Read the labels to be sure they do not contain preservatives or excess sugar. Shelf-stable, ready-made crusts tend to have lots of unnatural ingredients, but there are organic personal pizza crusts that work in a pinch. Frozen crusts, likewise, take the pressure off the cook.

The dough recipe that follows comes together quickly with the help of a food processor or electric mixer. The dough keeps refrigerated for several days.

Professionals shape dough on a floured surface or with floured hands. Home cooks may prefer to roll the dough between two sheets of oiled parchment paper. A pizza peel, made from wood or stainless steel, will help transfer a topped pizza to a hot oven.

Individual pizzas, 6 to 8 inches in diameter, are my jam. Larger pizzas require more confidence when transferring the raw pizza to the oven. For easy assembly, divide the dough into portions and let them rest while setting up a pizza “station.” Containers filled with flavorful tomato sauce, a variety of fresh and shredded cheeses, sliced cooked sausages or meat, roasted vegetables, fresh basil leaves, crushed red pepper flakes make pizza assembly expedient.

Cook one or two pizzas at a time on the preheated stone. Prepare guests to expect to eat in shifts. Skinny breadsticks, olives and a giant bowl of salad, with a homemade red wine and olive oil vinaigrette, make great accompaniments.

Tips:

  • Don’t rush the dough; it’ll hold its shape better if allowed rest time.
  • Season the sauce generously.
  • Preheat the oven before assembling pizzas.
  • Have all ingredients ready before shaping pizzas.
  • Small pizzas are easier to handle.
  • Sprinkle the pizza peel with cornmeal between every pizza for easy transfer,
  • Have a helper to open the oven door when you’re ready to cook,
  • Set a timer; thin crust pizzas cook in less than 6 minutes.
  • Be ready to enjoy the pizzas as soon as they come out of the oven.

Pizza with Burrata, Kalamata Olives and Spicy Salami

Makes 6 individual pizzas

  • 1 recipe Easy Pizza Dough, recipe follows
  • Cornmeal
  • 2 cups Spicy Tomato Basil Pizza Sauce, recipe follows
  • 1 1/2 cups finely shredded Italian cheese blend
  • 18 to 24 thin slices spicy salami (OR 2 cups diced grilled eggplant)
  • 2/3 cup halved pitted Kalamata olives
  • 1 container (8 ounces) burrata cheese, drained, broken into chunks OR 1 1/4 cups diced fresh mozzarella
  • Crushed red pepper flakes
  • Sliced fresh basil leaves
  • Honey, optional

1. Place a pizza stone or cast-iron or ovenproof griddle in middle of the oven. Heat oven to 500 degrees on convection or 525 degrees on conventional setting.

2. Divide dough into 6 equal portions (each about 4 1/2 ounces). Press or roll 1 dough portion between sheets of oiled parchment to an 8-inch circle, about 1/8-inch-thick and just a touch thicker at the edges. Let the circle relax about 10 minutes before transferring it to the cornmeal coated pizza peel or cutting board.

3. Top each pizza with about 1/3 cup tomato sauce, 1/4 cup shredded cheese and 3 or 4 slices salami (or 1/3 cup eggplant). Top with a few olive pieces and broken chunks of burrata.

4. Carefully shake pizza off the peel onto the preheated pizza stone. Bake until crust is crisp and golden, about 6 minutes.

5. Serve sprinkled with red pepper flakes, basil and drizzles of optional honey.

Recipe note: Alternatively, coat a well-seasoned 10-inch cast-iron skillet with 1 tablespoon olive oil. Spread 1 pizza dough portion thinly over bottom of pan and brush top with oil. Top as directed and bake at 500 degrees on convection or 525 on conventional until crust is crisp, 8 to 10 minutes.

Easy Pizza Dough

Makes 6 small pizzas (about 1 1/2 pounds dough)

  • 2 1/2 cups flour, all-purpose or 00 pizza flour
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour or more all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 envelope active dry yeast
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 1/3 cups very warm (105 to 115 degrees) water
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil or roasted garlic oil

1. Put flours and salt into a food processor or electric mixer fitted with a dough hook. Mix well.

2. Dissolve yeast and sugar in the warm water in small dish. Let stand until bubbly, about 5 minutes. Add to the flour mixture. Add oil. Process until the dough forms into a ball. If it is sticky, add a little more flour. Use the food processor or mixer to knead the dough into a smooth ball.

3. Transfer dough to a well-oiled bowl and turn to coat the dough with oil. Cover with a towel and let rise until doubled, about 1 hours. Punch down and use right away. Or, place in a plastic food bag and refrigerate for up to two days.

Spicy Tomato Basil Pizza Sauce

Makes about 2 cups

  • 2 cups crushed Italian-style tomatoes
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced fresh basil
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper or Calabrian pepper flakes

1. Mix everything in a small bowl. Refrigerate covered up to one day.

(JeanMarie Brownson is a James Beard Award-winning author and the recipient of the IACP Cookbook Award for her latest cookbook, “Dinner at Home.” JeanMarie, a chef and authority on home cooking, Mexican cooking and specialty food, is one of the founding partners of Frontera Foods. She co-authored three cookbooks with chef Rick Bayless, including “Mexico: One Plate at a Time.” JeanMarie has enjoyed developing recipes and writing about food, travel and dining for more than four decades.)