Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Crispy Brussels Sprouts Pizza with Ricotta, Pancetta, Caramelized Shallots, Brussels Sprouts Leaves, Parmesan, & Fresh Herbs with Balsamic Reduction Drizzle

Crispy Brussels Sprouts Pizza with Ricotta, Pancetta, Caramelized Shallots, Brussels Sprouts Leaves, 
Parmesan, & Fresh Herbs with Balsamic Reduction Drizzle
I've discussed my obsession with brussels sprouts. They are amazing. Simple as that. And if you put them on a pizza, well... it's pure foodie bliss. I've been thinking about making a brussels sprouts pizza for a while now, but I hadn't had the opportunity to do so. But over Christmas, my Mountain Man & I went to one of our favorite pizza places in Atlanta, and I noticed that they had added a new appetizer of crispy brussels sprouts to their menu. I sat there debating on what to get... the sprouts or one of their signature pizzas. Well, why don't I just combine the two?! Yes, brilliant. I asked our waitress if we could do this and sure enough, we had a crispy brussels sprouts pizza at our table!! We took one bite into that pizza and I could've just died on the spot. And ever since then, I knew I had to recreate it the second I got back to Savannah. There are a lot of components to the pizza, but all of them are completely necessary because they all add so much flavor to it. Of course, I made homemade pizza dough, but you can easily grab some at the store. I prefer this extra-crusty dough though, it's top-knotch. Then, you have to spread the pizza with some garlic infused olive oil, creamy ricotta cheese, mozzarella, pancetta, caramelized shallots, and brussels sprouts leaves. Once the pizza has baked up and the sprouts are a bright green color and crisped up around their edges, you finish it by grating on a whole bunch of fresh Parmesan (I mean, the more the better here, people), sprinkling on the herbs and seasonings, and a drizzle of balsamic reduction. This pizza will go down as one of my favorite pizza's I have ever made, and that's saying a lot. It literally is a little slice of Heaven... and I can honestly say that we'll be making this pizza a lot this year!! Enjoy :)
Look at how green those brussels sprouts are...
I love the contrast of color :)
Oh, and the balsamic reduction drizzle is crucial!!

Extra-Crispy Crust
For the Extra-Crusty Pizza Dough:
3 ¾C AP Flour (plus extra for shaping the dough)
2t Sea Salt + 1t Sugar
¼t Active Dry Yeast
1 ½C Water  

For the Crispy Brussels Sprouts Pizza:
Homemade Extra-Crusty Pizza Dough
2T Olive Oil + 2 Cloves of Fresh Minced Garlic (mixed together to form infused oil)
Fresh Ricotta Cheese
Crispy Pancetta Lardons (or thick cut cubes)
Caramelized Shallots
Mozzarella Cheese, Shredded
1-2C Brussels Sprouts Leaves (tossed in 1T olive oil & lemon juice with salt and pepper)
Parmesan Cheese, Freshly Grated
Fresh Thyme, Fresh Basil, Lemon Zest, & Red Pepper Flakes, For Sprinkling
Balsamic Reduction, For Drizzling

1. For the Extra-Crusting Pizza Dough: Whisk flour, salt, and yeast in a medium bowl. While stirring with a wooden spoon, gradually add 1.5 cups water; stir until well incorporated. Mix dough gently with your hands to bring it together and form into a rough ball. Transfer to a large clean bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let dough rise at room temperature in a draft-free area until surface is covered with tiny bubbles and dough has more than doubled in size, preferably 18 hours (but anywhere between 12-18 hours would work as well). Transfer dough to a floured work surface. Gently shape into a rough rectangle. Divide into 2 equal portions (depending on thin or thick you want your pizza dough). Working with 1 portion at a time, gather 4 corners to center to create 4 folds. Turn seam side down and mold gently into a ball. Dust dough with flour; set aside on work surface or a floured baking sheet. Repeat with remaining portions. Let the dough balls rest, covered with plastic wrap or a damp kitchen towel, until soft and pliable, about 1 hour.
2. Prepping the Dough: During the last hour of the dough’s resting, preheat the oven to its hottest setting, around 500-550 degrees, and arrange a rack in the middle of the oven. Working with the dough, dust it generously with flour and place onto a floured work surface. Gently shape the dough balls into a two 10-inch disks. Press or spread the dough dish on top of a baking sheet or pizza stone. Now it’s time to add on the toppings.
3. Assembling the Pizza: Spread the dough with some of the garlic infused olive oil, and then the fresh ricotta cheese in an even layer, and then top it with ¾ of the shredded mozzarella, crispy pancetta, and caramelized shallots (as well as a sprinkling of salt & pepper). Place the pizza into the hot oven and bake for roughly 10-12 minutes or until the cheese and crust are both beginning to brown. Bump the oven heat up to broil. Remove from the oven and sprinkle on the remaining ¼C shredded mozzarella cheese and the dressed brussel sprouts leaves, making sure the leaves are evenly distributed across the pizza (this extra addition of shredded mozzarella will help the Brussels sprouts leaves to adhere or stick to the pizza). Return the pizza to the hot oven and continue cooking it until the brussel sprouts are beginning to brown and crisp up around the edges, yet still remain bright green in color and al dente in texture, about 2-3 minutes (but keep an eye on it so it won’t burn).
4. Serving the Pizza: Once it has baked and the crust is crispy, garnish with a bunch of freshly grated Parmesan cheese (the more the better) and a drizzle of the balsamic reduction all over the pizza (a drizzle of more garlic infused olive oil would be good too). Finish it by sprinkling on the fresh thyme, fresh basil, some lemon zest, and a little red pepper flakes. Cut into squares of slices, and enjoy immediately! There is still more pizza dough remaining, so you can either make two personal pizzas or save the other pizza dough for another night.

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