Friday, February 4, 2011

New Orleans Stuffed Pizza Rustica

New Orleans Stuffed Pizza Rustica
serves 8
When we visited New Orleans several years ago we fell  in love with its signature sandwich, the Muffeletta at the Central Grocery on Decater Street,  we also love pizza of all  sorts.  This recipe is a homage to both; it is the marriage of the ingredients of a New Orleans Muffeletta sandwich (good Italian Cold Cuts, cheeses, and olive salad) and a Sicilian stuffed pizza.  All though we used mozzarella, provolone, Genoa salami, cappacola, pepperoni, and prosciutto ham you can use cold cuts of your choice and the quantities can also be  adjusted to your appetite.

pizza crusts:

1 cup warm (110 degrees F) water
1  envelope active dry yeast  
2 tablespoons sugar
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 cup bread flour, plus additional for work surface
2 teaspoon kosher or sea salt

olive salad:

1 cup pimento-stuffed green olives, chopped
½ cup drained Kalamata olives, chopped
3 cloves garlic, crushed and chopped
2 tablespoons drained and rinsed capers
1 celery stalk, chopped
¼ cup marinated cocktail onions, roughly chopped
½ teaspoon celery seed
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried basil
¾ teaspoon ground black pepper
Kosher or sea salt, to taste
¼ cup red wine vinegar
¾ cup olive oil


11 (3 1/4-inch diameter) slices mozzarella or smoked mozzarella
11 (3 1/4-inch diameter) slices Genoa salami
11 (3 1/4-inch diameter) slices cappacola
11 (3 1/4-inch diameter) slices pepperoni
1/4 pound thinly sliced prosciutto ham
11 (3 1/4-inch diameter) slices deli-sliced provolone cheese

corn meal for the peel
1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon of water

pizza dough:

1.  In a 2 cup measuring cup, combine the water and sugar stir to combine and sprinkle the yeast over it. Let sit until the mixture is foamy, about 10 minutes.  If the yeast doesn't "proof" (get "foamy") pour it out and start again it is important to have a live yeast mixture.

2.  Meanwhile place the 2 cups of flour and the salt into a sifter and sift it into the medium bowl  of a stand mixer.  Make a well in the center of the flour and pour in the olive oil and the "proofed" yeast mixture.  Turn the mixer, fitted with dough hooks,  to high (labeled  knead on my mixer) and turn on.  Continue kneading (mixing) until the dough comes cleanly away from the sides of the bowl and forms a ball around the dough hooks (scrap the sides of the bowl to move flour into the path of the hooks as needed).

3.  Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth but still slightly tacky (add flour gradually as needed to reach the slightly tacky state), 3 to 5 minutes. 

4.  Lightly oil a large mixing bowl with about 1 1/2 teaspoons olive oil. Place the dough in the bowl and turn to oil the ball on all sides. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap cloth and set in a warm, draft-free place until nearly doubled in size, 1 to 1 1/2 hours.

olive salad:

1.  In a medium bowl, mix together the olives, garlic, capers, celery, cocktail onions, celery seed, oregano, basil, vinegar, olive oil.   Correct seasoning with black pepper and salt.

2.  If not used immediately, transfer the mixture into a covered glass jar (or other covered, nonreactive container), and refrigerate otherwise cover bowl with plastic wrap and set aside to marinate for at least 1 hour before using.

stuffed pizza construction:

1.  Place an appropriately sized pizza stone on the bottom (not on a shelf, putting the stone in contact with the oven bottom will allow it to get hotter and provide the SLIGHT charring on the bottom of the pizza that is the signature of a good Italian pizza) of your oven and pre-heat the oven to 450° F.

2.  Turn the dough out onto floured surface. Knead gently and shape into a 12-inch log. Cut the log into 2 equal pieces. Knead each piece into smooth ball, set one of the balls aside covered by inverted bowls to  keep it from drying out while working with the other.   

3.  Working with one of the dough balls at a time, place the dough ball  in front of you on  the lightly floured work surface and, with fingertips, press it into a disk of dough approximately 10 to 12 - inches round about 1/8 inch thick (if necessary use a rolling pin to achieve the 1/8-inch thickness [don’t worry if the pizza isn’t perfectly round . . . that’s called “rustica” and it’s the way “real” Italian pizza looks in Italy]). 

4.  Distribute some corn meal over the surface of a pizza peel (this will act as “ball bearings” and allow the dough round to move easily over the surface of the peel) and transfer the formed pizza base onto the peel; alternatively place the pizza base on a 12-inch round, metal pizza pan which has been previously sprinkled with some corn meal.

5.  Evenly distribute (spread) several tablespoons of the olive salad over the base leaving a clean 1-inch edge all around the pizza base.  Top this layer with the slices of salami, then the slices of provolone, then the slices of pepperoni, then the slices of mozzarella, then the slices of cappacola, and finally with the slices of prosciutto taking care of respect the 1-inch clean edge
 6.  Working with the remaining dough ball, place the it  in front of you on  the lightly floured work surface and again, with fingertips, press it into a disk of dough approximately the same size as the one created for the base and also about 1/8 inch thick (if necessary use a rolling pin to achieve the same 1/8-inch thickness.  

7.  Lightly brush  the 1-inch clean margin with some of the beaten  egg and carefully place this second disc over the first,  pressing and rolling the edge of  the stuffed pie to seal it.  Evenly brush the surface with some of  the egg wash.

8.  Gently shake the peel to insure the pizza moves freely (if it doesn’t gently lift the edges of the pizza and distribute additional corn meal until it does), using the peel slide the pizza onto the stone  or alternatively place  the round, metal  pizza pan into the oven (on the pizza stone or on the lower deck of the oven)  and bake the pizza until it turns golden brown and the cheese is melted and bubbly, about 20-25 minutes in a 450°F oven (keep an eye on the bottom of the pie . . . . slight charring is desirable heavy charring is burnt!).  Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes, then cut into eight wedges and serve accompanied by a  green salad.

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