Sunday, 2 January 2011

Pistachio, Rosemary and Red Onion Pizza

Like many dishes I cook, this was inspired by a tv show. I am an avid Food Network fan, one of my favourite shows being The Best Thing I Ever Ate, wherein famous US tv chefs tell us about their favourite restaurant dishes. There was recently an episode on pizzas broadcast which included the 'Rosa' from Pizzeria Bainco in Phoenix, Arizona. It was a super thin crist topped with red onion, parmigiano reggiano, rosemary and Arizona pistachios and looked superb. Needless to say, I felt a great urge to cook it, and so I did.

I fail to see how anything could fail to be delicious and beautiful with the addition of pistachio nuts. They work so well with the red onion, and my addition of a little mozzarella adds additional creaminess and that cheesy stringiness I find so intrinsic to a good pizza.

The dough recipe I used was by (heaven forbid) Anthony Worral Thompson, and I have to admit is a very good one, but do remember that the dough has to be left for a few hours to prove and then again for a little while to rest before shaping. Also, try and get it as thin as possible and make sure to keep an eye on it while it's cooking. As there is no sauce you need to make sure you don't crisp it up too much or your pizza will be dry and the delicate flavours lost.

Pistachio, Rosemary and Red Onion Pizza
Serves 2

Pizza Dough Ingredients
175 ml water, lukewarm
1 packet (7g) active dried yeast
1 tbsp olive oil
275g strong white flour
pinch of salt

Topping Ingredients
a little extra virgin olive oil for drizzling
75g mozzarella, grated
50g parmesan cheese, grated
50g pistachio nuts, shelled and finely chopped
1-2 tsp fresh rosemary, finely chopped
1 red onion, finely sliced

Pizza Dough Method
Pour 75ml of the lukewarm water into a jug and mix in the yeast, then place in a warm place for 10 minutes (I put mine next to a radiator. Stir in the olive oil.

Put the flour and salt into a large bowl, make a well in the centre and pour in the yeast mixture. Mix until just combined and then knead together on a floured surface until you get a nice elastic dough. Oil a large bowl lightly and place the dough in it, then cover with cling film and set aside in a warm place for 1-2 hours by which time the dough should have doubled in size.

Remove from the bowl and knead again until smooth, then set aside on a tray to rest for a little while before shaping - about half an hour.

You now want to shape the dough - flatten it with your fingers onto a floured surface, then drape over your fist and gently stretch it from the outside edge. When you have got the required shape place it on an oven tray dusted lightly with semolina or flour.

Finishing The Pizza
Preheat the oven to the hottest temperature it will reach.

Drizzle a little olive oil over the pizza base, then sprinkle over the mozzarella and parmesan. Now evenly strew over the pistachio nuts and rosemary before laying on as many slices of red onion as you desire.

Bake in the preheated oven for 10-15 minutes, keeping an eye on it so it doesn't burn. You want the base to be cooked but not to scorch the nuts, cheese or onions.

Serve with a dressed salad or a bowl of good soup.

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