Pizza with Squash Blossoms, Fresh Mozzarella, Pesto and Prosciutto (Pizza Dough Recipe)
May 19, 2009
When we planted the garden I was really excited at the prospect of cooking with squash blossoms, something I’ve never really done before. When were were in Rome last year, we had some fantastic zucchini flowers stuffed with ricotta, batter dipped and fried. I want to try to make those at some point, but for my first attempt at cooking with them, I wanted to do something easier, so I decided to put them on a pizza because I’d been meaning to make one for a while.
First though, I had to figure out how and when to pick them. A quick Google Search revealed that there are both male and female blossoms. There are more male ones which are there strictly for pollination (of course) than there are female ones. The female ones create the vegetable (of course). Thus, it makes sense to only pick the male blossoms or you run the risk of losing out on growing the squash. You can tell them apart because the male blossom is at the end of a long thin stem and the female blossom usually has a bulb of squash forming at its base. I was able to get about a dozen blossoms between my yellow crookneck and green zucchini.
Pizza with Squash Blossoms, Fresh Mozzarella, Pesto and Prosciutto Basic Pizza Dough (see recipe below)
10 Squash Blossoms
4 oz Fresh Mozzarella (1 ball, sliced into rounds)
2 oz Pesto Sauce
1 oz Prosciutto
1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
Roll out the dough. Spread a thin layer of pesto over the pizza and top with the squash blossoms, mozzarella slices, and prosciutto. Place in oven at 425 for about 15 min or until done to your liking. Remove from oven and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil. I also brushed a little oil on the edges of the crust.
You’ll want to make sure there are no insects inside the blossoms (the ants and bees were loving mine) and remove the pollen-covered stamen from inside the flowers before using them for cooking. Once cooked, the blossoms added a very delicate squash flavor to the pizza.
As for the other toppings, I used the prosciutto because I had some leftover in the fridge from my paper chef entry. This could certainly be a vegetarian pizza and I had been contemplating using eggplant instead of the prosciutto. I chose the pesto because I thought a tomato sauce would overwhelm the flavor of the blossoms. I like using fresh mozzarella because I think it tastes better and has a nicer consistency than dry mozzarella, though you could certainly use it instead.
I use a 16″ pizza pan because I don’t have a baking stone, but I’d like to get one.
My stove is a 1953 Wedgewood, with two ovens. I love it, and it’s super-retro-cool, but the ovens are on the small side and my pizza pan barely fits, without a millimeter to spare. Still, I wouldn’t trade it for a brand new Viking range.
Basic Pizza Dough*
8 oz water
1 package dry yeast (2.25 tsp)
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp olive oil
3 cups flour
Put 8 oz warm water in a bowl and sprinkle yeast on top. Let it sit 5 min until it starts to bubble. Stir in salt and olive oil. Stir in 2 cups of the flour to combine and then another 1/2 cup until the dough comes together and becomes elastic. Put the other 1/2 cup flour on a board and knead the ball of dough for about 5 min until it becomes smooth.
Put the ball of dough in an oiled bowl and cover with a kitchen towel. Leave in a warm place until it doubles in size, about 1 hour. When the dough has doubled, punch in down and knead it lightly on a floured board. Roll, or stretch and pull the dough to fit a pizza pan or baking stone.
Add your favorite toppings and bake at 425 for about 15 min or until done to your liking.
*I’ve been using this recipe over 20 years, since college and it originally came from an old Sunset Magazine cookbook. Recently there was an article about making the best Pizza Dough in the LA Times. Someday soon I’m going to try this method, but it was a little more time consuming than I wanted for this recipe.