Like the trash and anything involving tools, somewhere along the way the grill became my husband’s domain.
But a couple weeks back I decided to stop being a wimp about what is really just an outdoor stovetop.
Actually I’ve been doing all kinds of husband tasks lately. I used the drill to hang curtains and made whiskey sours with fresh orange and lemon juice. What has come over me?
Oh yeah. This little person who runs our lives now.
Usually when we’re grilling dinner on a week night, I prep what I can and wait impatiently for my husband to commute downstairs (he works at home) and fire up the grill.
But now dinner must be ready by 6 pm, or 7 pm bedtime gets thrown off. And then we have an overtired, hyper toddler on our hands and it takes him an entire hour – sometimes more – to fall asleep.
Add this to the growing list of things I didn’t understand before I had a child. I used to say I’d make my kid adapt to our schedule. “Oh, we’ll just continue our leisurely, wine-swilling meander towards a 9:00 pm dinnertime,” I’d think, “That will make for a well-adapted child who doesn’t think he’s the center of the universe”. Ha. Ha.
When I decided to make this pizza, it dawned me that I could actually turn a few knobs, make a surface hot and put foodstuffs on it. And have dinner ready by 6.
The grilled dough came out great – chewy on the inside, crisp on the outside. I love this combination of mild, creamy ricotta with the smokey grill flavor of the scallions and zucchini. It needed some kind of fresh herb right at the end but I didn’t have any on hand. Oregano? Marjoram? I’ll try one next time and let you know.
If you’d like to try homemade pizza dough – it’s really pretty easy – make sure you plan for the 2 1/2 hours the dough needs for sitting around.
☞ Grilled pizza with ricotta, zucchini & scallions
from Real Simple - makes four small pizzas (we polished them off with the little one’s help)
- pizza dough, 1 pound, at room temperature (recipe below – or use store bought)
- zucchini or yellow squash, 2 medium thinly sliced lengthwise
- scallions, 2 bunches
- olive oil, 4 TBS
- salt & freshly ground pepper to taste
- hot pepper flakes for serving
Heat the grill to medium.
In the mean time, put the sliced zucchini and the scallions into a large bowl. Drizzle a couple tablespoons of oil over them and add salt and pepper to taste. Toss them to evenly coat with olive oil.
Grill the veggies, about 4-6 minutes a side for the zucchini and 1-2 minutes a side for the scallions. Chop the scallions into 2 inch pieces and set them and the zucchini aside.
While they’re grilling you can shape the dough into four small pizzas (see below).
Next you’re going to grill the pizza dough. It’s going to take some practice before we all master this one. Here’s what worked best for me.
I placed the sheet of prepared pizza dough right next to the grill. Then one at a time I lifted the dough from one edge with my finger tips and quickly laid it on the grill by first catching the far end of the dough on a rung of the grill, then pulling and laying the rest of the dough across.
Cook the pizzas until they’re nicely puffed and browned on that first side, about 2 to 3 minutes, then flip them carefully. I used tongs and a grill spatula for this. Grill the second side another 2 to 3 minutes.
Once they’re done, smear each pizza with a nice serving ricotta cheese, and pile on the scallions and zucchini. Give them each a pinch of good salt and freshly ground pepper.
☞ Pizza Dough
This recipe is from the no-knead bread guy, Jim Lahey, and yields about 2 pounds – so use half for the grilled pizza recipe above. You can freeze the other half for another time.
- bread flour, 3 3/4 cups
- instant dry yeast, 2 1/2 tsp
- table salt, 3/4 tsp
- sugar, 3/4 tsp plus a pinch
- room temperature water, 1 1/3 cups
- extra virgin olive oil for the pan and brushing onto the pizzas
In a large bowl, whisk together the bread flour, yeast, salt and sugar.
Add the water and with your hands or a wooden spoon, combine the flour and water mixture. Stir it for somewhere between 30 seconds and a minute. It will be kind of shaggy and sticky and messy looking. Just do your best to keep it all together, then cover it with a tea towel or plastic wrap. Let it sit at room temperature for 2 hours, or until the dough about doubles in volume.
With a spatula or some other scraping device, scrape the dough onto a floured work surface. Work it for just a few seconds, into a ball shape. Then cut it in half with a knife, and work each piece into a ball shape. Cover both with a damp (clean) dish towel and let them rest for half an hour.
Now you’re ready to shape the dough, and you’ll just need one ball for this recipe. First cut it into four roughly equal sections for your four small pizzas.
I’ve found the easiest way to work with pizza dough is to follow Lahey’s method. Take a cookie sheet or half sheet baking pan and smear olive oil all over it. Then place the dough on it and slowly press, pull and moosh the dough flat until it’s about 6 inches in diameter. You want it to be as evenly thick throughout as possible. Once they’re done, brush the tops with olive oil.