Forcella: Williamsburg, Brooklyn, NY
Next Door: Montclair, NJ

Speck and peas: pizza


When I'm trying to come up with pizza ideas, I'll think "pasta." Conversely, when I'm pulling together a pasta dish, I'll think "this would work with pizza." It's obvious why. Pasta is made from flour and water (sometimes egg) and pizza dough is made from flour and water. When pizza is done well, you'll even have that layer of dough right under the toppings that has the consistency of a noodle. Pizza carbonara and pizza all'amatriciana? Of course.

Since the speck and peas and pasta with cream sauce experiment, the thought of applying the same approach to pizza had been rattling around in my head. I took a few minutes yesterday to poke around the internet before I jumped in, and found that Jim Lahey has a recipe for prosciutto and pea pizza in his book 'My Pizza.' I took his idea of using bechamel and off I went.

The pizza was topped with ribbons of speck, defrosted peas, low moisture mozzarella (Sorrento whole milk), Gruy√®re, red pepper flake, s/p, and bechamel. And a couple of halved cherry tomatoes. Using my usual 2 oven approach, this pie was out in about 3 minutes.  Finished with grated Parmigiano-Reggiano and mint.

The missus didn't appreciate the mint (or the peas, for that matter), but that's just ridiculous. This was an excellent pizza. The inclusion of the bechamel makes more sense that I thought it would (cheese and milk have a lot in common, you see), and I'll be using bechamel for pizze in the future, without a doubt. 


The baseline of a Margherita pie was also, as always, in the mix.

My usual dough recipe is at about a 60% hydration. For this batch, I upped it to 63%.  I used about 5% of my sourdough starter, which is less than I normally would. I also didn't mix the salt (3%) in with the water, but rather mixed it in with the flour/water mixture (after an autolyse step). That's a lot of variables to introduce into an experiment, but everything aligned and I was very pleased with this dough. Clearly, more experimentation, and pizza, is required.