I have a new (used) grill and an unstoppable desire to cook on it every night. I love being able to cook outside when my kitchen becomes too hot to bear, not to mention taking advantage of the long daylight hours before fall returns. These pizzas make an incredibly soft dough that has a wonderful crispy texture in just 5 minutes of cooking on the grill. Using summer squash was a no brainer because I have gotten several pounds of squash every week and was looking for something fun to do with it – the colorful squash mixed with the tomato sauce and fresh cheve makes this pizza beautiful and super tasty.
I was looking through old issues of Cook’ Illustrated when I found this dough for grilled pizza (July/August 2005). It is so easy – you’ll end up making grilled pizza every week. Measure out all the dry ingredients, then pour the oil into the water and set up your food processor.
Put the bread flour, salt, and sugar in the bowl of the food processor and give it one or two pulses to mix the dry ingredients together. Add the dry active yeast and give it another pulse, I do this because I get nervous about pouring yeast and salt into a bowl side by side as salt can have a deadly effect on the live yeast – so separating it by mixing the salt into the flour first is a little added insurance that the dough will rise properly. Once all the dry ingredients are mixed up leave the food processor running while you slowly add the water/oil. A ball should start to form, if that isn’t happening add a little more flour, a teaspoon at a time until there is a ball that you can easily remove from the food processor. My food processor actually died on me while I was taking photos – I think it was an electircal surge because it came back to life shortly after, however this is how my dough looked at the time. I would have liked it to be a bit more together, I ended up finishing it by hand.
When I made it again the food processor was fine and a dough ball easily formed, however both times the dough was extremely sticky and soft, so make sure you flour your hands before you try to take it out. Place your dough ball in a lightly oiled bowl and cover it tightly with saran wrap, let it sit in a warm place for about an hour. After an hour it should look larger – somewhere between 50% and 100% lager. While the dough is rising you can use this time to prepare the squash and make the tomato sauce.
Turn the dough out onto a floured surface, pat it down, and separate it into four pieces by weight. You can do this accurately by weighing the entire dough mass, then divide that by 4 and make 4 evenly weighted pieces, then form each piece into a ball.
Cover the balls loosely with saran and allow to sit for 20 minutes – during this time preheat your grill to a high heat. After 20 minutes form one piece of dough into a disk,
then use a rolling pin, working from the center out and moving the dough as needed to keep it from sticking, create a circle about 8″ in diameter and 1/8″ thick. Repeat this with all four pieces.
Place finished dough on a cutting board or pizza peel that is well floured – using corn meal or semolina flour will help to move the dough from the peel to the grill.
Grill the pizzas one or two at a time on one side – this should take about 2 or 3 minutes. The dough will start to bubble a little and when you check the cooked side of the dough it should be evenly browned with no burned spots.
When one side of the pizza is done remove it from the grill and add the toppings to the cooked side, then you will finish cooking the other side the pizza with the toppings on it, which will also melt any cheese in your toppings and get everything hot.
Topping the pizza:
While your dough is proofing you can make the tomato sauce. Give one onion a fairly small dice and chop up your garlic and oregano. You want about 2 T. of Oregano for the sauce and 2- 3 T for the pizza topping.
In a largish sauce pan or enameled cast iron pot heat 1 T of Extra Virgin Olive Oil and saute onion for about 5 minutes, then add the garlic and cook for another minute being cautious not to burn the garlic. Pour in the wine and scrape up any bits of cooked onion from the bottom of the pan, then add the diced tomatoes, oregano and salt. Let it all cook together for a couple minutes then reduce the heat to medium-low and let it simmer for about 20 or 30 minutes.
Uncover it and remove it from the heat, allowing to cool a little. Then you want to blend it using a hand blender if you have one. If you don’t you can use a standard blender just be careful not to close the top because the sauce is hot and the steam needs to escape so use a kitchen towel to cover the opening in the lid. Blend it up until it is smooth but on the slightly chunky side, taste it for salt then set aside until ready to top the pizza.
Bring two quarts of water to a boil with 1/4 C. of salt to blanch the squash. I used green summer squash and gold zucchini – you want about 3 lbs. of squash any mix or combination you like is great. Remove the tops from the squash/zucchini and using a mandolin slice each squash into long planks about 1/4″ thick. Then slice each plank into long strips about 1/4″ wide.
Add the sliced squash to the boiling, salted water. Let the squash cook for about 2-3 minutes. It should start to look limp but not soggy. When you taste it the squash should retain some of its springy texture.
Once done place the squash in an ice bath or into colander that is run under very cold water until the squash completely cool. Once cooled remove the squash and place it on a paper towel, pat dry, and set aside until ready to top the pizza.
Before you start grilling the pizza set out your toppings so you can go quickly and get the pizza back on the grill to finish cooking. I used both a hard goat gouda and a soft fresh cheve, the goat gouda is optional. Working with the grilled side up add the tomato sauce, then the hard cheese, the squash, then the fresh cheve, and chopped oregano leaves.
Return the pizza to the grill and close the lid. Check the pizza after 3 minutes to see if the bottom crust is evenly cooked. By the time the crust is cooked the toppings should be hot and the cheese should be soft and somewhat melty looking (the fresh cheese won’t melt too much).
Remove the pizza from the grill, add a bit of black pepper and maybe a little drizzle Extra Virgin Olive Oil if you like, cut and serve while hot!