Tuesday, March 22, 2011


Before the crazy monsoon/rain storm hit Los Angeles, I cooked up some amazing pizza using my gas grill. I had heard that cooking pizza on a grill gives it an extra crunchy, flavorful, and light texture, so I decided to give it a try. Since it was my first time, I read up as much as I could on how to cook it properly so I wouldn’t end up with pizza dough stuck to my grill or a black charred pizza crust.

A recipe that really jumped out at me was this one by Bobby Flay.

1/2 pound Italian hot sausage
1 large red onion, cut into 1/4-inch thick slices
2 large yellow pepper, cored, seeded and quartered
2 large red pepper, cored, seeded and quartered
Olive oil
Salt and pepper
2 packages of prepared pizza dough
1/2 pound grated fontina cheese
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup ricotta
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano
1/2 cup fresh basil leaves
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon honey
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup olive oil

Instead of making my own pizza dough, I bought Trader Joe’s pre-made pizza dough. (which is really great) I wanted four individual pizzas, so used two packages of pre-made dough. I removed it from it packaging, dusted a flat surface with flour, and cut each ball of dough in half so I had 4 evenly sized balls of dough. I then let them rise for about 30 minutes-leaving them untouched.

While my dough was rising, I cooked up all my toppings for the pizza. First, preheat your grill to medium. Grill the sausage on both sides until golden brown and cooked through, about 10 minutes per side. Brush onions and peppers with the oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill the onions and peppers until soft, about 3 to 4 minutes per side. Remove the sausage from the grill and slice into 1/4-inch thick slices. Remove the onions, separate into rings, and roughly chop. Remove the peppers and slice into 1/8-inch thick slices.

Next, mix together the ricotta, extra-virgin olive oil, and oregano in a small bowl and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Set aside. For the Basil Vinaigrette, combine basil leaves, white wine vinegar, honey, salt, pepper, and olive oil in a blender or food processor. Blend until smooth. Set aside.

Returning to the pizza dough, now that it has had time to rise, you want to knead it and flatten into ¼ inch thick pizzas. It’s ok if they don’t make a perfect circle (mine didn’t) just try to make sure they are an even thickness all the way around. I turned two baking sheets over and dusted them with flour, and placed my prepared pizza dough on top. I then brushed the top with olive oil and seasoned with salt and pepper.

Oil your grill grates and set the grill on med-high. The next step sounds kind of tricky, but it’s actually really easy. Grab the side of the pizza dough farthest away from you, lift, and fling it on the grill so that the side with the olive oil is facing down. Let cook for 3 minutes, then flip. This is important: let cook for only 1 minute on this side, no more than that, then take off the grill and put back on flat surface. (I used my upside down cookie sheet again). Lower grill heat to medium-low. You don’t want to fully cook the bottom of the pizza, as you are going to be putting it back on the grill and it will have time to cook then.

Brush the pizzas with olive oil and minced garlic. Then top with fontina cheese. Divide the sausage, peppers, and onions over the four pizzas. Place pizzas back on the grill over medium/low heat and close lid. Leave for 3 minutes until cheese has melted. Remove from heat. Top with a dollop of ricotta topping and lightly drizzle with basil vinaigrette.

This pizza was a HUGE hit. The grill made it extra crispy and flavorful-just the way I like it. Now that I know how easy it is, I plan on making lots more “grilled pizza” especially with summer just around the corner. The combination of toppings you can do are endless…I can’t wait to try all of them out!


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