Just because it’s hot outside doesn’t mean you can’t turn on the oven. Okay, that wasn’t very convincing. How about turning on the oven while drinking a refreshing glass of ice-cold, homemade summer shandy? Better?
A pizza piled high with fresh vegetables is the perfect way to marry your summery craving for farm-fresh produce with your perpetual craving for warm, melty cheese. This one combines summer staples–tomatoes, basil, and sweet corn–with classic pizza ingredients like tomato sauce and mozzarella. Pizza stones are key for making fantastic crust, of course, but if you don’t have one, never fear–a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper and sprinkled with cornmeal will work just fine. You can also throw your pizza dough on the grill for a delicious, slightly charred crust. Just heat the grill, brush with oil, and lay the rolled-out dough on top for a minute or so. Flip the dough, cover with your desired toppings, and close the grill top. Five minutes later, you’ve got yourself a perfect pizza. (For more pizza dough tips, read this Smitten Kitchen article.)
Corn-Pancetta Summer Pizza
- 1 ball uncooked pizza dough (I bought mine at the grocery store, but feel free to make yours from scratch–it’s not hard)
- 1 ear of fresh sweet corn, sliced from the cob
- 2 very ripe tomatoes
- 1/2 cup pancetta, cubed (Italian bacon)
- about 1 cup fresh mozzarella, sliced into rounds
- tomato sauce
- grated parmesan cheese
- fresh basil
Preheat your oven to 450 at least 30 minutes in advance. Hot oven = good pizza.
Prepare the dough. Stretch out your pizza dough and place on a) an ungreased pizza stone sprinkled with cornmeal, b) a cookie sheet covered in parchment paper and sprinkled with cornmeal, or c) a grill. Do not place in a barely greased glass pan, as pictured. I barely got that thing out alive.
Add the toppings. Top as follows: tomato sauce, tomatoes, mozzarella, pancetta. Sprinkle the corn and parmesan cheese generously over the entire pizza.
Ignore the basil in the last picture, that was a heinous mistake. Do not cook fresh basil in a hot oven! It will burn!
Slide your pizza into the oven and cook for 10-15 minutes, keeping an eye on it. It’s ready when the cheese is golden and the crust is crisp and browning. Once the pizza is done, then sprinkle on the fresh basil and a few shakes of salt and pepper. Enjoy outside, since your kitchen may feel like an inferno