Our next installment of Pie July features a tasty seasonal pizza pie inspired by 2Amys, a local DC pizza institution.
I met up with my friend, who happens be a cheese professional (yup, that’s a real thing – and a very fortunate thing for us), to catch up on life over a pizza lunch. One of the daily specials that day was a pizza topped with baby zucchini, squash blossoms, and burrata cheese. Obviously, we had to order it (along with some choice anchovies, a fantastic green bean salad, and a succulent roasted eggplant appetizer). What is not to love with those toppings? But burrata, man oh man, burrata. If you have never had it, you need to stop reading this blog post and go find some right now.
Burrata is a mild Italian cheese that is made by wrapping cream up in a little fresh mozzarella bundle. At room temperature, the cream starts to ooze a bit (trust me, oozing is a good thing in the cheese world) and each bite is a contrast of the firmer mozzarella skin and luscious cream. Burrata is wonderful on its own drizzled with good olive oil and sprinkled with flaky sea salt. But at 2 Amys, this little pouch of joy was set right in the center of the light, summery pizza so that each slice had a little bit of heaven at the end.
Baby zucchini and squash blossoms can be hard to come by in the store and even at the farmer’s market if your timing isn’t right. With this in mind, we created with our own, more readily accessible, version of their tasty summer pie. Our Whole Foods carries burrata and you should be able to find it in a well-stocked cheese store. We made this pizza in the oven using a stone, but feel free to pop yours on a grill if you have access to one (toss your dough, place it on the grill, flip it over when it starts to puff, then top it with the sauce and veggies).
- Pizza dough
- 1 ear of corn (you need half of the kernels)
- 1 small-medium zucchini
- 1 small onion
- Splash of white wine
- 1/4 cup crushed tomatoes
- Few leaves of fresh basil
- Few leaves of arugula (if using baby arugula, a handful will suffice)
- 1/2 burrata
- Salt & pepper
- Olive oil
- Pre-heat your oven to broil (on high if that is an option) with a cookie sheet inside, or set your grill to high heat.
- If your corn on the cob is not cooked, you have two options, you can cut off half the kernels and use them raw on the pizza, or you can roast the cob in the oven or on the grill. To roast or grill, chop off the very top of the ear, remove the few outer leaves, then toss on the grill or place on the lower rack in the oven (you can have it broil while you cook the zucchini and then turn the temperature to 425F and cook it at that temperature for the rest of the time). Keep on eye on the corn and rotate it as the leaves brown. It takes about 20 minutes for an ear to cook this way. Remove the corn and let it cool, then slice the kernels off of the cob. You will need half of the kernels for this pizza. Turn the oven temperature to 425F.
- Meanwhile, slice the zucchini into match or pinky-sized sticks. If baking in the oven, place the sticks on a piece of parchment (cut to fit the cookie sheet) and toss with olive oil, salt, and pepper. If you are grilling, toss them with the salt, pepper, and olive oil in a bowl and then transfer to the grill (you can use a grill basket or aluminum foil to keep them from falling through the grates). Transfer the parchment with the zucchini to the hot cookie sheet in the oven. Keep an eye on the zucchini and turn it as it browns. It should take 5-10 minutes to brown it depending on your oven/grill temperatures. Set aside.
- While the zucchini cooks, slice the onion thinly, then saute it with olive oil, salt and pepper over medium heat. You want to caramelize the onions. Use a splash of white wine if they are starting to stick to the pan during this. Set aside.
- Toss out your dough and place it on a pizza peel (or a cutting board) dusted with semolina flour or corn meal if you have a pizza stone preheating in your oven. If you are using the grill, the tossed dough will go directly onto the grill (make sure to oil your grill grates well) where you will top it after it is flipped once.
- Top the dough with a VERY thin layer of crushed tomatoes, a smattering of caramelized onions, zucchini, and corn kernels. Slide the pizza from the peel onto the hot pizza stone (we dust our stone with a little semolina flour or corn meal as well). Bake until the crust is to your liking (about 15 minutes or so).
- While the pizza is baking cut your arugula and basil into ribbons. Slice your burrata in half if you haven’t done so alread and let the half you are using on the pizza to come to room temperature.
- Remove the pizza from the oven and promptly top with the arugula and basil ribbons, the burrata, a drizzle of olive oil, and salt and pepper.
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