The fact that my outdoor tabletop pizza oven can be set up and ready to go in less than half an hour is just one of many reasons why I like it, along with its small size and very high operating temperatures. My last two outdoor pizza and bread ovens took a long time to heat up, so I only used them rarely. If I keep some dough in the fridge, I can cook pizza anytime I want thanks to my microwave pizza oven.
One further perk of owning an outdoor pizza oven is the ability to prepare meals while enjoying the outdoors. This is particularly welcome when the weather is lovely and makes working in a hot kitchen intolerable. That’s why, while developing these composed pizza recipes, I looked for methods to take use of the oven’s wasted heat during preheating, both to save energy and to reduce the number of dishes that would need to be washed after the party.
My plan was to cook the sauce for the pie’s bottom layer—a typical burst cherry tomato sauce—in a pan placed directly in the oven while it preheats. Before adding the cherry tomatoes, I add sliced shallots to the sizzling olive oil with the garlic and red pepper flakes to increase the sweetness of the sauce. Along with the bright acidity of the tomatoes, the woodsy herbs thyme, and rosemary provide a layer of complexity to the dish. Cook the sauce until the tomatoes begin to burst and burn, but no longer; you want it to be saucy, not over-reduced. While you’re getting everything ready to stretch and top your dough, the pectin in the tomatoes will have helped the sauce thicken to perfection as it cooled. This is a modern take on the classic pizza toppings by combining Parmesan and fresh mozzarella.
- Pizza dough, one recipe, brick oven, or campfire
- a quarter of a mugful (120 ml) of olive oil that has been certified as extra-virgin
- Two medium shallots (40 grams), cut thinly crosswise into rings Four medium garlic cloves (20 grams), sliced thinly
- The equivalent of one-half teaspoon of crushed red pepper
- Kosher salt, such as Diamond Crystal; if using table salt, use half as much
- One and a half gallons (about 675 grams) of cherry tomatoes; divide big ones in half
- Fresh thyme, 6 sprigs
- Three bunches of fragrant fresh rosemary
- A weight of 2 ounces (60g) of parmesan cheese, grated
- Size: 12 oz (340g) mozzarella di bufala, split into 3/4-inch pieces, and dried
- The leaves and sensitive stems of two tablespoons of fresh parsley, finely chopped
- Take the dough out of the fridge, cover it, and let sit at room temperature for 1 to 2 hours before baking. The dough must reach 60 degrees Fahrenheit (15.5 degrees Celsius) before the stretching and baking process can begin; the precise time will vary according to the surrounding temperature.
2. Preheat oven to 800°F (425°C) for pizza. In a 10-inch cast-iron, carbon-steel, or stainless-steel pan, mix the oil, shallots, garlic, and red pepper flakes as the oven preheat. Put the pan in the pizza oven and cook the shallots there for about 4 minutes, while tossing constantly, until they are tender. Toss the tomatoes with thyme, rosemary, and 1/4 cup (60 ml) water in the skillet. Cook for another 5 to 7 minutes, stirring occasionally until tomatoes burst and edges are gently browned. Put the mixture in a basin and let it cool for a while (the sauce will thicken as it cools). Take out the herb sprigs and throw them away.
3. When you’re ready to bake, dust a surface well, then set one dough ball (seam side down) on it. Roll out the dough carefully into an 8-inch circle, leaving the outside edge 1 inch taller than the rest. Drape the dough over your knuckles and gently stretch it into a 10- or 12-inch circle (the exact size will depend on the size of your oven). Move to a pizza peel made of floured wood or perforated metal.
4. Quickly apply a thin layer of tomato sauce to the pizza, leaving a 1/2-inch border bare. Apply mozzarella slices on top of the sauce and sprinkle with Parmesan.
5. Toss pizza into the oven and cook until the rim is lightly charred and the bottom is crisp, 90 to 180 seconds total, turning the pie occasionally with a metal peel to ensure uniform cooking. With a metal peel, carefully remove the pizza from the oven and place it on a cutting board. Top with chopped parsley and serve hot.
Get-Ahead Preparation and Storing
You should eat the pizzas as soon as possible. Since the sauce is prepared while the pizza oven is preheating, there is no benefit to doing it beforehand. To that end, it may be prepared in advance and stored for up to three days in the fridge in an airtight container. Prepare at room temperature first.
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