Thursday, September 1, 2011

Summer Squash Pizza with thyme and goat cheese

If you know me, you know that I really love pizza. I'm talking about Neapolitan style pizza with a perfectly crisp crust and delicious in-season toppings, reminscent of the kind you find in Italy. You don't need heavy sauce and tons of cheese to make a good pizza.

Lucky for me, San Francisco's best pizzerias stand out from others (ahem, say those in Chicago) by their use of peak in-season pizza toppings.  Just recently I had a delicious summer squash pizza at Beretta with my favorite brother-sister duo, BK and CK, and CK's wife.

You may recall that I am a fan of Mario Batali's pizza dough and have perfected achieving a thin, crisp crust in the oven using a 12" cast iron skillet. The crust is parbaked on the stovetop in a cast iron skillet and then topped with ingredients before sliding under the broiler. This approach works best with ingredients that can be cooked quickly.

Given the arm loads of yellow summer squash in my latest CSA box, I decided it would be a fun Saturday night activity to make a bunch of different summer squash pizzas and of course, share our favorite one with  you!

Sprinkle freshly grated parmesan (or pecorino) over the parpaked pizza dough, dot with fresh mozzarella. Toss half of garlic over the cheese. Top with thinly sliced summer squash tossed with olive oil, salt and pepper. Sprinkle remaining garlic, thyme leaves and red crushed pepper. Add crumbled goat cheese (optional). Toss under the broiler for 8 minutes and it gets good color. Garnish with thyme sprigs.

Summer Squash Pizza (toppings for 2 small pizzas)
2 medium yellow summer squash, sliced in rounds
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 tsp thyme leaves
3-4 oz fresh mozzarella, sliced
1/2 cup finely grated parmesan
olive oil
sea salt
red chili flakes
a few thyme sprigs for garnish

2 parbaked pizza crusts (see recipe for pizza dough)

In a medium bowl, combine summer squash slices with olive oil, sea salt and pepper and toss to coat well. Set aside.

Sprinkle freshly grated parmesan (or pecorino) on a parbaked crust. Arrange fresh mozzarella slices evenly across the crust. Scatter half of the minced garlic over the cheese. Top with sliced summer squash and sprinkle remaining garlic, thyme leaves and red crushed pepper over the top. Can top with crumbled goat cheese, if desired. Slide under the broiler for about 8 minutes until it gets good color, moving around in the oven as needed. Remove from oven, cut into slices and garnish each with thyme sprigs.

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