I would eat pizza everyday if I could. Growing up, pizza was a treat, reserved for birthday parties and special occasions. Even though I eat it a lot more often now, it still feels a little special and decadent. Having eaten a lot of pizza, I’m pretty particular about it. I confess that I’m not crazy about Chicago-style pizza. It’s often too doughy, leaden, and my poor Asian stomach just can’t tolerate all the cheese. I’m much more of a thin crust gal. Though there are three pizza joints within a few blocks of my place, I’ve found all of them severely lacking. If I want pizza but can’t make the trek to my favorite places (Burt’s for deep dish, Piece for thin crust), I prefer to make my own, even if that means cranking up the oven in the blistering summer heat. (My love of pizza knows no bounds.)
Making good pizza at home is tricky business. Good dough and toppings help but the trick really is heat and lots of it–the kind of heat you just can’t get in a home oven. The recipe that follows is more of a technique than a recipe but one that I find works for me. (The amount of toppings is approximate.) This recipe was inspired by my favorite pizza at Piece and helps me get my pizza fix at home when I just can’t make it down to Piece. The toppings are a bit unconventional but create this marvelously salt, briny flavor that I find irresistible. A pizza stone is absolutely essential here.
Clam, Bacon, and Onion Pizza
For the Dough
2 1/2 cups bread flour, plus more as needed
1 cup whole wheat flour
2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. instant yeast
1 tbsp. honey
2 tbsp. olive oil, plus a little more oil for greasing the bowl
1 1/3 cups water (check your yeast packet for the recommended water temperature)
For the Toppings
6.5 oz can chopped clams, drained
4 slices of bacon, roughly chopped
1/2 red onion, sliced thinly
1 tbsp. chopped Italian parsley
1 tbsp. high quality extra virgin olive oil
1 clove of garlic, crushed
1 cup of shredded mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup of grated parmesan cheese
Tabasco hot sauce
1. Place flours in container of food processor fitted with steel blade. Add salt and yeast and process for 5 seconds. With the machine running, add the honey, oil, and most of the water through the feed tube. Process about 30 seconds, then remove the cover. Dough should be well-defined barely sticky, easy-to-handle ball. Knead for a minute or two by hand.
2. Shape dough into rough ball, place it in a lightly oiled large bowl, and cover with plastic wrap or damp towel. Let rise for at least 1 1/2 hours, until nearly doubled in bulk.
3. Place pizza stone in lower rack of oven. Preheat oven to 450 degrees and make sure stone heats for at least half an hour.
4. While dough is rising, prepare the toppings. Saute chopped bacon in pan until bacon is crispy and most of the fat is rendered. Pour off all but a tablespoon of the fat and place cooked bacon on paper towels to drain. Cook onion in remaining bacon fat until translucent.
5. Take risen dough, deflate ball and divide in two. (Depending on how many people you’re serving, make two pizzas or reserve half of the dough for later in a bowl covered in plastic wrap. Covered, it will keep in the refrigerator for 24-48 hours.) On a well floured surface, roll or stretch dough out into large circle to desired thickness. (I roll mine fairly thin.) Place dough onto large sheet of parchment paper.
6. Brush dough generously with olive oil and spread crushed garlic on thinly. Top with clams, bacon, parsley, and onion. Add cheeses and drizzle pizza with a little more olive oil.
7. Gently slide pizza onto hot pizza stone and bake for 8-10 minutes, until crust is lightly browned and cheese is bubbly. Serve pizza with lemon wedges and hot sauce.
One pizza serves 2-3.