November 2, 2019 Serves 4
I love this pizza and so does my hubby. It's super easy to put together and the end result is fabulous. It conjures up memories of the Pizza al Taglio you might find walking along the streets of Rome. Pizza al Taglio is usually cooked in a rectangle shape. You decide how much you want in weight and they cut you off a square, fold it in half and hand it to you in a piece of wax paper with warm dribbles of cheese and oil gathering in the sides. Oooey, gooey toppings with a crust that's just crisp enough on the bottom to allow a small layer of doughiness in the middle. I want some now. My older sister Mia lives in Italy by the way. That's another story for another day but suffice it to say, I am jealous of her food adventures.
The sweetness of the zucchini pairs perfectly with the sharpness of the Gruyère. I did try some other cheese combinations but keep going back to the Gruyère. This is about the zucchini first and everything else is there for moral support. I add a handful of fresh, torn basil leaves to the zucchini and cheese mixture as well. The dough is a no-knead dough and is pretty hands-off up until you have to form it in the pan. The crust is thin and crispy and does its job of supporting the topping. I like to divide the dough in half and make two pizzas in 1/4 inch sheet pans. Feel free to make one larger pizza in a 1/2 inch sheet pan. The first time I made this I thought the amount of topping was ridiculous and was tempted to not use it all. USE IT ALL!!! Please! I promise you won't be disappointed.
1 T olive oil
1 recipe Jim Lahey's pizza dough (below)
2 1/2 lbs zucchini or other summer squash (about 5 medium)
1 1/2 t fine sea salt
2 C (8 oz) coarsely grated Gruyère cheese
handful of fresh, torn basil leaves
2-3 T plain panko (or home made) breadcrumbs ( I don't measure this)
Jim Lahey's Basic Pizza Dough
250 g all-purpose or bread flour (I used bread)
1 1/4 t instant or active dry yeast, or 5 g
1/2 t fine sea salt, or 2.5 g
1/2 t sugar, or 1.5 g
2/3 C room temp water, or 150 g (I always need more water, so be prepared to add more, just a little at a time)
drizzle of olive oil for the bowl and the cooked pizza
Stir together the flour, yeast, salt and sugar in a medium bowl. Add the water and mix together with a spatula. It will get sticky and messy but persevere. Add more water if there is still a lot of dry mixture that won't incorporate. Enough so that you can mix it into a ball, you can do that with your hands as well. Lift the ball of dough for a moment and drizzle some olive oil just to coat the bottom of the bowl. The dough will rise and the oil prevents it from sticking to the bottom, allowing it the room and opportunity to rise as much as possible. Cover the bowl and leave it out somewhere at room temperature for about two hours, or until it doubles in volume.
Preheat oven to 500°F and swipe two 1/4 inch baking sheets with olive oil, making sure to get into the corners and the sides. Set aside.
Using the shredder attachment of your cuisinart (SUCH a time saver) or the large holes of box grater, shred the zucchini and place into a colander. Add the sea salt and toss. Let sit for at least 30 minutes (I often give it an hour or more). The salt will leach out much of the liquid in the zucchini. That way the topping doesn't make the pizza a wet, sloppy mess when it bakes.
Take handfuls of the zucchini and squeeze as much liquid out as possible. Add the cheese and toss together making sure there are no big clumps. Mix in the fresh basil. Taste for seasoning and add more salt if necessary. Set aside.
Go back to your dough. It should be fluffed up and doubled in size. Divide the dough in half and gently coat each piece in the olive oil in the pan. Begin to poke the dough with your fingertips and stretch it out. It will appear that there won't be enough dough to fill the pan because it will be a VERY thin layer of dough. If the dough won't stretch easily, let it alone for 10 minutes so the gluten can relax a bit. Go back to it and push and poke until the dough reaches the sides and corners. You want it to fill the pan as much as possible. If there's a tear or a hole, just pinch it together. No worries!
Divide the zucchini mixture in half and top your pizzas. Make sure that the zucchini goes ALL the way to the sides of the pan and completely covers your dough. You don't want to leave a border of dough on this pizza, as the zucchini will protect the super thin dough from burning in the oven. The pizza I pictured above does have a border because that's how I made it the first few times. I did NOT follow the instructions because I thought I knew better. I did not know better. I rarely do. Sprinkle the pizza evenly with breadcrumbs and bake for 20-25 minutes. The top should be crispy, and a light golden brown color. Check underneath the pizza if you can with a spatula. The bottom should be golden brown as well and not soft or soggy. If it is, put it back in the oven for a few more minutes. Drizzle with some olive oil and serve!