Summer for us as a family means a lot of pizzas with the best summer produce as toppings! Who does not love pizzas?! It is a child’s favorite food, mostly, and for an adult to indulge in their favorite childhood foods! Pizza has always been a family favorite since I was a kid. Growing up, we did not make pizza at home. BUT since my mom loved pizzas, we would go to restaurants to eat pizza quite often! My favorite way to enjoy pizza is with a class of cold beer, or a good rose’ in the summer! There is something so satisfying about that combination!
This summer has been different. There have been no summer gatherings, summer parties, vacations or any of that sort! It does not mean we cannot have fun?! Due to the stay-at-home order, we have had to bring to our home, the fun of a smaller summer gathering, or bring vacations to your home, by making specific foods that remind us of those places! Bring a bit of a place to YOU! So a large chunk of this summer, I have been making different foods that we enjoy from different places, making exquisite meals, with fun summer produce/ingredients to brighten up and jazz up meals! This year, I have partnered with Mezzetta to bring to you a wonderful Summer Pizza as part of our Summer Staycation. I love the story of Mezzetta, and how the company was born. It is a 75 year old company and has its roots in San Francisco, which is so very interesting! The roots are from the Mediterranean region of Italy, and they started off packaging specialty foods such as olives and sweet peppers, and importing them to America. Their story is one to read, and you can find their complete story here.
I have used the Mezzetta products for a very long time, as they are readily available at the grocery store. Their products are clean and fresh, the labeling and branding is on point and their range of products is absolutely wonderful! I love their varieties of olives, pickles, jalapenos etc, with which you can make the most fantastic charcuterie board, for when you have a small group of people over for a party. You can taste how good the products are when compared to any other brand. I can certainly vouch for it. I am a huge fan of their Pizza Sauce, Marinara Sauce, and the Castelvetrano Olives! My daughter pops those olives in the mouth as if they are candy! It is pretty fun to watch her chow down those olives! They are my absolute favorite!
So to celebrate these wonderful products, and make a fun recipe with these special ingredients, I made a Summer Pizza with the Mezzetta Marinara Sauce, Mezzetta Italian Castelvetrano Olives and Mezzetta Sweet Peppers, along with zucchini ribbons, buttered corn and sliced red onions, because I cannot imagine a pizza without the red onions! I used 3 kinds of cheese on this pizza. I used fontina, which is one of my favorite melty cheeses, along with fresh mozzarella, cause it is a lighter cheese, and some goat cheese for a bit of tang on the pizza. This pizza comes out absolutely wonderful, in how the cheese marries with the wonderful ingredients from Mezzetta, and all the wonderful summer produce that is available out there right now at the farmer’s markets!
Let me walk you through the process of making a good pizza dough. The pizza dough is a vital part of the pizza making process, because you want a good chewy dough that has good flavor. This pizza dough is a 3 day pizza dough. The dough itself is really easy to make. It uses “00” flour which is a fine tip flour from Italy, especially used for making pizza as it has a higher ability to absorb more water into the dough. It is available online on Amazon. If you do not want to spend money on an expensive flour, you could easily use bread flour, which is readily available at grocery stores. You can even use all-purpose flour. All three flours have slight differences. Bread flour and “00” flour have a high protein content, so the texture of the pizza is more chewy than when you make it with all-purpose flour. There is nothing wrong or right here, but it is a matter of preference and what you have in hand. The dough is mixed in a bowl with dry ingredients mixed together first, and then adding the wet ingredients like water and oil to the mixture. The dough is mixed in the bowl and then kneaded for about 7 minutes to develop the gluten. The dough is then allowed to rest outside from 1-2 hours until it doubles in size, upto 6-8 hours. Then let it rest in the fridge for 2 days. Your pizza dough is ready on the 3rd day. You would need to remove it from the fridge, 2 hours before you form and make the pizzas. The dough is divided into 3 or 4 portions, and formed into balls. I find the best way to divide the dough is to form the dough into a round shape and then using a bench scraper to divide the dough equally into 4 portions. The balls will rest on a baking sheet, covered, until doubled in size. At this point the dough is ready to be formed into pizzas. The longer the pizza dough sits in the fridge, the better the flavor develops of the final product. You can make this pizza dough upto 5 days ahead!
I use a baking steel in the oven, and heat it up for an hour at 500 degrees F, before baking off the pizza. The baking steel is made of steel, and is an excellent conductor of heat so it helps to heat up the pizza evenly, and give it a wonderful crust. I use a pizza wooden paddle, on which I put parchment paper. I then roll out the dough with my fingers to form a nice circle of about 9 to 10 inches in diameter. You can do this directly on the pizza wooden paddle, and use flour at the base, such that the pizza can slide off the wooden paddle onto the baking steel when you are transferring it to the oven, but I find it a tad bit easier with parchment paper. I use cornmeal at the bottom of the pizza and then form the dough into a circle. I love getting the cornmeal in my crust when I am eating the pizza. It has a nice bite to it. You can find both the baking steel and the pizza wooden paddle at Amazon or any specialty kitchen store.
Topping ingredients are very important and that’s why I love using Mezzetta products, along with seasonal ingredients to make the best tasting pizza, such that you can bring the restaurant to YOU! I love setting up a station for the kids to make their own version of pizzas, with whatever toppings they fancy! Ofcourse my daughter puts loads of the Castelvetrano Olives on the pizza! By setting up a station, you can make the experience personal and unique for your family, or if you have a small number of guests, they would love to be part of the dinner making process, and to feel involved in making their own creations! It makes for meaningful interactions in the kitchen and a fun way to make dinner casual, yet an elevated experience with the high quality ingredients in the pizza!
I hope you get a chance to try this wonderful recipe! If you do, please do not forget to tag #thejamlab and #Mezzetta on Instagram and/or leave a comment below on this blog post!
I hope you all are staying safe in these times, and enjoying summer in whatever little way you can, to make it wonderful for you!
Best wishes to you and your family!
Summer Pizza with Castelvetrano Olives, Sweet Peppers, Buttered Corn, Zucchini Ribbons and Red Onion
- Makes 4 9 to 10 inch pizzas
- Pizza Dough:
- 500 gms of bread flour or “00” flour
- 325 gms of water
- 12 grams of table salt
- 8 gms of active dry yeast
- 15 gms of granulated sugar or honey
- 30 gms of extra virgin olive oil
- Additional flour for kneading
- 2 tbsp (27 gms) of olive oil
- Pizza topping ingredients:
- Mezzetta Marinara Sauce
- 8 oz fontina cheese (about 2 cups of grated fontina cheese)
- 8 oz fresh mozzarella cheese
- 4 oz goat cheese
- Corn kernels from 1 corn on the cob
- 1 tbsp butter
- ½ tsp (3 gms) table salt
- 1 zucchini sliced thin using a mandolin
- ½ small red onions sliced thin
- 20 Mezzetta Italian Castelvetrano Olives, cut into half horizontally
- 4 Mezzetta Sweet Peppers, sliced thin
- Parchment paper
- Baking steel or Pizza stone or baking tray
- ¼ cup (40 gms) cornmeal
- ¼ cup (32.5 gms) olive oil
- Pastry brush
- Pizza wooden spatula
- 3 day (72 hour) resting Pizza Dough:
- 1. In a large bowl, add in the bread flour or “00” flour, salt, yeast, granulated sugar and whisk to combine. Now add in the water and olive oil, and mix the dough until no dry bits are left. The dough will be very sticky.
- 2. Now on a clean surface, add additional flour on the surface. With flour on your hands, remove all the dough from the sides of the bowl onto the clean surface. Sprinkle more flour on top of the dough and knead the dough for about 7 minutes with the palm of both your hands, until you get a smooth surface dough. You are building the gluten in the dough so that the dough can stretch and gain strength.
- 3. Now add a tablespoon of olive oil in the same large bowl and massage it all over the bowl. Form the dough into a nice round ball, and add it into the large bowl. Add a tablespoon of olive oil on top of the dough and massage it. Cover the bowl with a kitchen towel or plastic wrap, and set it aside in the kitchen, from 1-2 hours until it doubles in size to about 6-8 hours. I usually keep it in the oven. Now punch the dough, wrap it into a ball of dough by pulling the dough and tucking it on the inside, at the bottom of the dough to form a nice ball and store in a bowl, in the fridge for 2 days.
- 4. On the 3rd day, remove the dough from the fridge atleast minimum of 2 hours before forming the pizzas. Divide into 4 equal pieces, round them up into balls, again by pulling the dough and tucking it underneath the dough, and repeating the process to form a ball. Place them on a baking sheet with parchment paper, cover with a plastic wrap and store in the oven or in any warm place in the kitchen. The dough will rise slightly after 1 ½ to 2 hours.
- Pizza making and assembly:
- 1. If you have a baking steel, put it into the oven atleast an hour before making the pizzas. Preheat the oven to 500 degrees. The baking steel helps to form a nice crust on the pizza as the baking steel generates heat from the bottom up into the pizza.
- 2. If you do not have a baking steel that is Ok. You can make the pizza on a pizza stone or simply on an upside down baking tray. Make sure that they are put into the oven atleast an hour before baking the pizzas.
- 3. In a small skillet on medium heat, add in the butter. Once melted, add in the corn and salt and saute for 2 minutes. Remove the corn into a small bowl, and keep it aside.
- 5. To form the pizza, add a ball of dough onto a parchment paper that has some cornmeal sprinkled on top. Using the tips of your fingers, of both hands, start pressing the dough in an outward direction, towards the entire periphery of the dough. It is like massaging the dough to form a round circle and you want it as thin as possible like a neapolitan pizza. Form the dough into a 9 inch circle. The outer rim will be a higher and will form the beautiful crust of the pizza, once baked.
- 6. Using a pastry brush, brush the pizza dough with the olive oil all over the dough.
- 7. Spread about 3 tbsp of the marinara sauce onto the pizza. Put the toppings, like first the fontina cheese, pieces of fresh mozzarella, and bits of goat cheese, then the vegetables like zucchini ribbons, red onions, olives, sweet peppers, buttered corn onto the pizza.
- 8. Using the pizza wooden spatula, transfer the parchment paper with the pizza, onto the baking steel in the oven. Bake for 12 minutes, and then set it to broil for 1 ½ to 2 minutes. This is just to char the edges and some of the toppings slightly. It tastes good that way!
- 9. Remove immediately. Wait for 2 minutes and then cut into quarters and serve immediately with a glass of Sauvignon Blanc or a good Rose’ and enjoy!
- 10. Repeat the process for the other pizzas.
- 1. For Sunday pizza night, I start making the dough on Thursday evening, so that my dough is ready by Sunday evening. The pizza dough can be made upto 5 days ahead. You can make the pizza dough even on Saturday in the morning, and let it rest for a little over 24 hours for a Sunday evening dinner.
- 2. If you do not have a baking steel, use the back of a baking tray to set in the oven for an hour at 500 degrees, before making the pizzas in the oven.