3 Cheese Pizza with Onions, Sage and Arugula

“Why a trio of cheeses? Fontina for its melting quality and nutty flavor, Gorgonzola for its biting blue punch, and Parmigiano-Reggiano for its uncanny ability to amplify other cheeses.” I’m glad Gourmet wrote that little introduction for this because I wasn’t able to find Fontina at Stater Bros. or Trader Joe’s and instead used Mozzarella—which was a bland alternative, yet had the “melting quality”.

Made for a special Mentor/Mentee time with Sherri Lin! Dough was crisp and thin yet light. Not too airy, nor doughy. Served with sliced pears and TJ salami.

Active time: 45 minutes
Start to finish: 2 ¼ hour
For dough
1 (1/4 oz.) package active dry yeast or 2 ¼ tsp
About 2 C unbleached flour
¾ C warm water (105-115 degrees)
1 tsp salt (originally 1 1/2 tsp)
1 ½ tsp extra-virgin olive oil

For topping
1 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
¼ lb Italian Fontina, cut into ½ inch pieces (2/3 C) OR about 1 C shredded mozzarella
2 oz Gorgonzola dolce, crumbled
½ C thinly sliced red onion (1 medium)
6 large fresh sage leaves, thinly sliced crosswise (about 1 Tbsp)
½ oz. shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano about ¼ C
¼ lb. loosely packed baby arugula (about 4 C) I used the an herb/spring mix from TJ’s but I thought a plain arugula would have been better
Make Dough
(If using a pizza stone, place it on the oven floor of a gas oven or on the lowest rack if using an electric oven and preheat oven to 500 degrees. Allow for 1 hour for the pizza stone to heat.)

Stir together yeast, 1 Tbsp flour, and ¼ C warm water in a measuring cup and let stand until mixture develops a creamy foam on surface, about 5 minutes. If mixture doesn’t foam, discard and start over with new yeast.

Stir together 1 ¼ C flour with salt in a large bowl. Add yeast mixture, oil and remaining ½ C warm water and stir until smooth. Stir in enough flour (more or less about ½ C, I used less) to make dough come away from sides of bowl. Dough will be wetter than other pizza doughs you may have made.

Knead dough on lightly floured surface with lightly floured hands (reflour hands when dough becomes too sticky) until smooth, soft and elastic, about 8 minutes. Form dough into a ball, put on a lightly floured surface, and generously dust with flour. Loosely cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm draft-free place until doubled in bulk, about 1¼ hours. Dust a wooden peel or a large baking sheet without sides (I used a baking sheet with short sides with cornmeal or line with parchment paper.

*Really read this paragraph before starting: Do not punch down dough. Carefully dredge dough in a bowl of flour to coat and transfer to a dry work surface. Holding one edge of dough in the air with both hands and letting bottom just touch the work surface, carefully and quickly move hands around edge of dough (like turning a steering wheel), allowing weight of dough to stretch round to roughly 10”. Lay dough flat on peel or baking sheet. Continue to work edge of dough with your fingers, stretching it into a 14” round.

Make Topping
Brush dough with olive oil, leaving a 1” border, then scatter Fontina and Gorgonzola over dough (leaving a 1” border).

Scatter onion and sage leaves over cheese. Sprinkle the pizza with the Parmigiano-Reggiano, then line up far edge of peel with far edge of stone in oven and tilt peel, jerking it gently to start pizza moving. When edge of pizza touches stone, quickly pull back pizza.

Bake until crust is golden and cheese is bubbling, 10-12 minutes. Slide peel under pizza to remove from oven, then top with arugula.

Note: Dough can rise slowly, covered with plastic wrap (or it will dry out on top), in the refrigerator for 1 day. Bring to room temperature before using.

Makes 1 14” pizza, which serves 4-5 people, adapted from Gourmet January 2006

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