Mortadella and Pistachio Pizza
"The Elements of Pizza"
Sometimes a topping combination is so obvious it just begs you to try it on pizza. This pie is topped generously with pistachios and garlic; the mortadella goes mostly underneath the mozzarella so it warms up more than cooks. The edges of the mortadella that are directly exposed to the heat—since it is not completely covered by the cheese—get a nice crisp. The contrast of textures makes for good eating. While mortadella’s hometown is Bologna in Italy, excellent American mortadellas are being made by Framani in Berkeley, California, and Olympia Provisions here in Portland. Go to your favorite deli counter and get a normal, sandwich-slice thickness of mortadella. If you want to try a different cheese than the fior di latte mozzarella, try a soft, unaged Asiago fresco.
- 1 pizza dough ball
- 3 tablespoons shelled pistachios
- 1 large or 2 medium cloves garlic, chopped
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Scant 1/4 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano or Grana Padano cheese
- 2 1/2 ounces deli-sliced mortadella, cut into bite-size 1-inch strips
- 4 ounces fresh whole-milk mozzarella cheese or Asiago fresco, sliced
- Freshly cracked black pepper (optional)
If you use a dough recipe that calls for refrigeration, remove your dough ball from the refrigerator about 60 to 90 minutes before baking pizza. Put your pizza steel or stone on an upper rack in your oven no more than 8 inches below the broiler. Preheat the oven to 550°F for 45 minutes.
Crush the pistachios into chunks—not a powder— with a mortar and pestle (or with whatever crushing tool you have handy in your kitchen). In a small bowl, mix the pistachios with the chopped garlic and enough olive oil to coat and mix together by hand. Set aside.
Set up your pizza assembly station. Give yourself about 2 feet of width on the countertop. Moderately flour the work surface. Position your wooden peel next to the floured area and dust it lightly with flour. Have the olive oil, cheeses, mortadella, pistachio–garlic mixture, and pepper at hand. Switch the oven to broil 10 minutes before loading the pizza.
To shape the pizza, put the dough ball on the floured work surface and flip to coat both sides moderately with flour. Transfer the disk of pizza dough to the peel. Run your hands around the perimeter to relax it and work out the kinks.
Drizzle about 1/2 tablespoon olive oil over the disk of dough, then sprinkle on the grated Parmigiano-Reggiano. Cover the grated cheese with the mortadella strips, then with the mozzarella slices, and top it by spreading over the pistachio–garlic mixture with your fingers. Turn off the broiler, then gently slide the pizza onto the pizza stone. Close the oven door and change the oven setting to bake at 550°F. Bake for 5 minutes, until the rim is golden.
Change the oven setting from bake to broil and let the pizza cook until the cheese is softly melted and the crust is golden with spots of brown and a few small spots of char, about 2 minutes (check it after 1 minute to be safe). Use tongs or a fork to slide the pizza from the pizza steel or stone onto a large plate, then season with pepper. Serve whole or sliced.
Reprinted with permission from The Elements of Pizza by Ken Forkish, copyright © 2016. Published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC. Photography credit: Alan Weiner © 2016
One 12-inch pizza