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!