Once you’ve done the prep for this pizza, you can take it all outside and, in less than 10 minutes, you’re done. Two secrets: Don’t heat the barbecue too high and don’t load the pizza down with too many toppings.
1 cup lukewarm water
1 tablespoon dry yeast
4 tablespoons honey
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 398-gram can plum tomatoes
2½ tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 bunch fresh basil
Salt to season
Toppings for each 12-inch pizza
¼ cup tomato sauce
4 ounces bocconcini mozzarella cheese
1 ounce prosciutto (approx. 2 slices)
4 basil leaves
1 tablespoon parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon + extra olive oil
Pinch sea salt
¼ cup arugula (optional)
To make the dough:
In a mixing bowl, combine water, yeast, honey and olive oil. Wait for yeast to activate, approximately 5 to 15 minutes. (Foam will appear on top of the liquid, which is activated yeast.) Place flour and salt in a mixer and mix together on a low speed. Slowly add in liquid and mix until a ball is formed and it releases off the side of the bowl. Place dough in a lightly oiled mixing bowl and loosely cover the dough itself with plastic wrap. Allow to rest at room temperature until it doubles in size (approximately 10 minutes). Punch dough down and knead by hand for 1 minute on a lightly floured surface. Portion into 5-ounce balls (roughly 3 inches in diameter) and lay on lightly oiled sheet trays loosely covered with saran wrap.
To prepare the sauce:
Chiffonade the basil – that is, cut the basil into thinly sliced ribbons. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a pan on medium to high heat. Add basil to pan and cook for 30 seconds. Crush tomatoes gently in your hands and add to pot with basil. Lightly simmer for 5 to 10 minutes and season with salt.
To prep the dough:
Divide the dough recipe into small balls (depending on how big a pizza you are going to make) and pound flat. The ideal size for one person is 5 ounces, which can be stretched to 10 to 12 inches. (A little secret when working with pizza dough is to coat your hands in a bit of oil to stop the dough from sticking to your hands and also to prevent the dough from ripping.)
To build the pizzas:
Hand-stretch the dough edges slightly to create a rustic, uneven edge. Place stretched dough on a pizza tray (I like perforated ones) or any kind of fairly thin baking sheet. Spread tomato sauce nearly to the edge of the dough, leaving a ¼-inch rim. Place the bocconcini, sliced into ¼-inch pieces, evenly around the pizza. Place two very thin slices of prosciutto (approximately 1 ounce) on top of that, followed by 4 torn basil leaves. Place on a preheated 350-F barbecue for 3 minutes. Remove from barbecue and, using a pastry brush, apply olive oil to edges of pizza. This will create a crispy crust. Return to barbecue and cook for an additional 2 minutes. Remove and sprinkle with 1 tablespoon grated parmesan cheese. Drizzle each pizza with 1 teaspoon olive oil and lightly sprinkle with sea salt. Top with arugula, if using. Place on cutting board and cut into 6 slices.
Chef Rob Feenie is the Food Concept Architect at Vancouver’s Cactus Restaurants Ltd.