We are three sisters united in our search for the divine - in food, libation, literature, art, and nature. This blog will capture the true, sometimes decadent, at times humorous, and every so often transcendent adventures of the Salvation Sisters.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Italian Combo Grilled Pizza

by Michelle

   For all the years we've been making pizza, the Italian Combo always seems to be the crowd favorite (and Linda's.) And for good reason. It is a classic. A quick search on the Internet reveals that pepperoni is the favorite topping in America, so call us crazy because we no longer put pepperoni on our classic Italian Combo Grilled Pizza.

   We prefer salami, and not just any salami, nitrate-free (or cured in the traditional manner) is numero uno in our ratings. If you would like a mini primer about curing meats and nitrates, visit ZMO Journal. Speciality cured meat shops are popping up around the country and are worth the time and effort to seek out.
   Fresh vegetables, some more than others, in particular, mushrooms and bell peppers, release a lot of water during cooking. Maximize flavor by roasting red bell peppers or caramelizing yellow onions which, by the way, are both excellent additions to the Italian Combo, just like accessorizing another classic, the little black dress, with earrings and a string of pearls.

Italian Combo Grilled Pizza

1 ball fresh pizza dough (300 grams)
1 tsp extra-virgin olive oil
About 1/2 cup tomato pizza sauce
2 Tbsps parmesan, finely grated
About 1 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded and divided
8-10 slices Fratelli Beretta®  or Applegate Farms® Nitrate-Free Sliced Genoa Salami (available at Whole Foods Market)
2 chicken, beef or pork Italian sausages, removed from casings, crumbled and fried
1/4 pound mushrooms, sliced
10 kalamata or black olives of your choice, pitted, sliced or crushed with fingers
Red chili flakes for garnish


1. Prep toppings and mushrooms: To a warmed skillet, add a little olive oil, place the cleaned and sliced mushrooms, and roast over medium high heat, stirring every so often, until the mushrooms give up their moisture and are cooked through, about 8 minutes. Remove the mushrooms from pan; let cool.Drain and discard any accumulated liquid.

Cooked vegetables release a lot of liquid. 
2. Place a Pizza Que Grill Stone® (more infoin a gas grill and with the lid closed preheat the grill for 15-20 minutes on high heat. Alternatively, place a bread baking stone, on the lowest rack in a cold oven, and preheat to 500°F, or highest setting, for 1 hour prior to baking.
3. While grill or oven is preheating, prepare a smooth work surface with a dusting of flour. Also dust a pizza peel with flour and a little semolina.
4. Remove dough ball from container and let the dough stretch out into a disc on the top of your hands. Begin moving the dough around, stretching and pulling into a circle, careful not to touch the rim. When it is thin in the center and about six or eight inches in diameter, place on floured work surface.
5. Continue pushing dough outwards with palms and fingers so it is thin on the bottom, and has a nice rim of crust around the circumference. Transfer to pizza peel.

Smear fresh tomato sauce over the oiled crust; sprinkle on grated parmesan and mozzarella.
We are partial to salami on pizza, rather than the more popular pepperoni.
6. Brush dough with olive oil. Spoon tomato sauce evenly over dough. Sprinkle with parmesan and then generously with grated mozzarella cheese. Evenly distribute the salami, crumbled sausage, mushrooms, onions and olives. Finish with a little more mozzarella, but not too much or it can burn in the intense heat of the grill.

We were rather generous with the toppings; you may prefer a more sparsely populated pizza.
A little more cheese for the top.
Fresh mozzarella that is drained and lightly salted is an excellent choice. 
7. Transfer the pizza from the peel to the stone and bake for about 5 minutes. Rotate with a spatula for even baking. Quickly close the lid to retain heat and bake for another couple of minutes until crust is golden with some char and cheese is melted. Remove pizza from oven on perforated metal pan. Let sit for a minute or two before cutting into 8 pieces. Serve immediately and pass the red chili flakes. Yield: One 12-inch pizza.

P.S. This pizza rewarms nicely the next day, uncovered, in a 350°F oven for about 10 minutes.

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