Margherita!

If you’ve ever watched the animated show “King of the Hill,” you can’t help but know that Hank Hill is proud to be the Assistant Manager at Strickland Propane, where he sells “propane and propane accessories.” At work, he always ends his telephone greeting with “Taste the meat, not the heat!”  😉

Hubby and I enjoy grilling our meals. While charcoal grilling most definitely has its charms, for convenience and versatility, we find the propane grill is tough to beat: a larger grill surface, a bit better control over the heat, instant on and off, and you’re able to grill for long periods of time (we use a smoker box and smoke meats on ours sometimes). To ensure we always have propane, we keep two tanks: one hooked up to the grill and another spare, at the ready to serve when one tank runs out — much, much easier than having to make sure you have enough dry charcoal and lighter fluid on hand when you get a hankering 😉 to grill.

As you may have already noticed, we have a love of pizza in all its many forms. 🙂 Like most of you, I’ve seen cooking shows where cooks happily slap pizza dough on the grill and grill up pizza, but our propane grill is not one of those fancy ones where we can control the heat precisely. I don’t trust it to bake dough.

So in lieu of using fresh, raw pizza dough (homemade or store-bought) to make pizza on the grill, we’ve used pre-baked pizza crusts — to great success! — on the grill.

However, in the process of Googling some other food-related things, an idea began to form for a way to bake up pizza on our grill using fresh, raw pizza dough.

The basic issue with using our grill for bread (and pizza dough is a bread) is that the pan would be resting directly on the grill rack, which is just too close to the heat, even with the grill set on low. While there are models of grills that have another rack installed in the lid that doesn’t come in direct contact with the heat (think of it as a kind of “warmer” rack), our grill doesn’t.

Hmmm.

But then an idea struck, and I asked my beloved — aka “The Prince of Improvisation” — if he could find something that we could place in the grill, on the grill rack that would be capable of supporting a pan, thereby elevating the pan a bit further from the direct heat below.

After searching, he found four metal bolt-type things (I know he’s told me what they are, but I can’t remember! LOL). He wrapped them in foil and we placed them on the grill rack in such a way that our disposable aluminum pan would be supported by them.

Inspired by the abundance of fresh, homegrown tomatoes we had, for our initial try, we decided to try making Pizza Margherita for our meatless meal that week. In its purest form, Pizza Margherita is pizza dough topped with sliced tomatoes, fresh basil, and mozzarella cheese.  In researching Pizza Margherita, I learned that while it may be tempting to add additional flavors to it, it really is best to leave it simple and enjoy all those fresh flavors.

I used a disposable aluminum cookie sheet and store-bought pizza dough (the Pillsbury pizza dough in a tube that’s sold in the refrigerated section of the grocery), but using your favorite homemade crust will work, also. We preheated the grill while preparing the crust; then we rested the pan with the dough on top of the bolts, turned the grill down to low, and closed the lid to let the crust pre-bake for about 6 minutes. Grills vary; for our grill, it works best to leave the flame on low for two or three minutes, then turn it off.

After the crust was pre-baked, we removed it from the grill to finish topping it. As the grill had been off, we had to relight it so it could preheat again while we finished topping the pizza, which is a wee bit of a hassle. So last night, we left the grill on low while the crust was pre-baking, which resulted in charring the crust a bit more than what we’d probably want normally, although it did taste delicious. So we’re still experimenting a bit — next time, we may try leaving the grill flame on low but only pre-baking the pizza crust for four minutes, say.

Inspired by the stunningly gorgeous and absolutely charming Lorraine Pascale when we caught one of her shows during a free preview we had of the Cooking Channel (alas, it’s not part and parcel of our basic TV programming package, so we only get to enjoy it when DISH offers it to us as a free preview), I used soft, fresh mozzarella and tore it with my hands into pieces that I dotted all around the pizza. Not only did it save time from grating the cheese, it felt satisfyingly fun to do and it gave the pizza a charmingly rustic look.

 We returned the pizza to the grill, closed the lid, turned off the flame, and let it finish baking with the residual heat (about 8 minutes).

And peoples, it was YUMMY!

Since that initial try, we’ve made Cheese Pizza a couple of times on the grill for our meatless weekly meal. We keep working on tweaking the timing, but it’s been yummy every time!

And of course, you don’t have to make this meatless — you can make it with any of your favorite pizza toppings, such as any kind of fresh veggies (remember to saute them for a bit to sweat out part of the liquid and allow them to cook up better on the pizza), sliced olives, pepperoni, Canadian bacon, crumbled sausage — the only limit is your imagination!

However you make it, it’s so yummy, you’ll find yourself singing in Italian 😉 (Go on, even if you don’t speak Italian, you’ll enjoy the music and the arty images!)

I nearly always make my own pizza sauce — it’s quick, easy, fat-free (at least the way I make it), and has much more flavor than most commercial sauces. You can, of course, use a store-bought sauce if you’d rather.

Making yummy grilled pizza at home is easy:

  • To maximize fresh veggie flavor, just lightly sauté your veggies in a non-stick skillet — remember, they’ll also cook a bit more once they’re on your pizza.
  • If you can, use the soft, fresh mozzarella cheese and just tear it into strips and chunks that you place around the pizza — it saves you time from having to grate cheese and feels quite satisfying to do. 🙂
  • If you don’t have the soft, fresh mozzarella cheese that you can tear, grate your own cheese. PLEASE! Not only is it less expensive, but it will melt better and have more flavor (commercially pre-grated cheese is coated with something to keep it from sticking together). While I will occasionally use pre-grated cheese, 99% of the time, I grate my own.
  • To make the pizza making and baking itself more streamlined, just do the prep ahead of time: make the sauce; grate the cheese (if not using the soft, fresh mozzarella); and slice, dice, and/or sauté your veggies. Then, it’s all over but the making and the grilling!

So go on, next time you’re craving some pizza, give the delivery dude a rest and try making your own!

Grilled Pizza Margherita

  • Fresh pizza dough for one pizza (homemade or store-bought, such as the Pillsbury pizza crust in a tube)
  • Thinly sliced fresh tomato
  • Fresh basil
  • Fresh oregano
  • Soft, fresh mozzarella or grated mozzarella
  • Olive oil
  • Cornmeal
  • Grated Parmesan (vegetarians, leave out!) and/or Three Cheese Blend
  1. If needed, place something on grill to elevate pizza pan from the grill rack. Preheat grill: Turn on grill flame and close grill.
  2. Lightly oil disposable aluminum cookie sheet with olive oil. Sprinkle bottom of pan lightly with cornmeal.
  3. Fit pizza crust into pan.
  4. Place pizza onto grill. Turn flame to low. Close grill. NOTE: Grills vary. To prebake the crust, you may want to turn the grill flame off after two or three minutes and leave the crust in the grill for a total of 6 minutes or so. OR, you may prefer to leave the grill on low the entire time and prebake the crust for a lesser time period, perhaps 3 or 4 minutes.
  5. Remove pizza from grill. If necessary, relight grill flame; close grill lid and preheat grill again.
  6. Lightly sprinkle prebaked crust with grated Parmesan and/or Three-Cheese blend. Top with sliced tomato to taste. Top tomato with fresh basil and oregano leaves to taste. Top with mozzarella cheese to taste.
  7. Return pizza to grill. Close grill lid and turn off grill flame. Bake in the residual heat until done (probably around 8 to 10 minutes).
  8. Refrigerate leftovers.

 

Grilled Cheese Pizza 

For the sauce:

  • 1 can tomato puree OR 1 can (6 ounces) tomato paste and 1 can (8 ounces) tomato sauce (You could also use a large (12 ounce) can of tomato paste and just add in enough liquid — wine and/or water — until it is your desired consistency)
  • Seasonings to taste: Worcestershire sauce (vegetarians, leave out or use a vegetarian substitute), basil, Italian seasoning, oregano, garlic/garlic powder, onion powder, and parsley — I also like to add in some fresh rosemary leaves
  • Splashes of wine and/or water (to achieve desired consistency)

For the pizza:

  • Favorite homemade or store-bought fresh, raw pizza crust
  • Pizza sauce
  • Mozzarella to taste (sliced, torn, or grated)
  • Fresh basil and/or oregano leaves (optional)
  • For a vegetable or vegetable and meat cheese pizza: Desired toppings, such as diced/chopped onion, sliced black olives, sliced green olives, diced green (or red or yellow or orange) bell pepper, sliced mushrooms, sliced tomato, pepperoni, Canadian bacon, crumbled or sliced sausage — honestly, anything that sounds yummy to you, sliced/diced/chop it, sauté it if need be, and put it on your pizza!
  • Olive oil
  • Cornmeal
  • Grated Parmesan (vegetarians, leave out!) and/or Three Cheese Blend
  1. If needed, place something on grill to elevate pizza pan from the grill rack. Preheat grill: Turn on grill flame and close grill.
  2. Lightly oil disposable aluminum cookie sheet with olive oil. Sprinkle bottom of pan lightly with cornmeal.
  3. Fit pizza crust into pan.
  4. Place pizza onto grill. Turn flame to low. Close grill. NOTE: Grills vary. To prebake the crust, you may want to turn the grill flame off after two or three minutes and leave the crust in the grill for a total of 6 minutes or so. OR, you may prefer to leave the grill on low the entire time and prebake the crust for a lesser time period, perhaps 3 or 4 minutes.
  5. Prepare the sauce: season the tomato puree/tomato paste/tomato sauce as desired.  Add liquid (wine and/or water) until sauce is desired consistency — I like a thicker sauce; you may prefer a thinner sauce. That’s the joy of making it yourself — you can have it how YOU like it! (You can do this step ahead of time and keep sauce refrigerated or frozen ’til you’re ready. Keep any leftover sauce refrigerated for another use — such as a pizza omelet, to add to a soup or Italian tomato sauce, or some such — or freeze it for future use.)
  6. Remove pizza from grill. If necessary, relight grill flame; close grill lid and preheat grill again.
  7. Lightly sprinkle prebaked crust with grated Parmesan and/or Three-Cheese blend. Top with desired amount of pizza sauce. Sprinkle with fresh basil and oregano leaves to taste. (If using any additional toppings, place on pizza.) Top with mozzarella cheese to taste.
  8. Return pizza to grill. Close grill lid and turn off grill flame. Bake in the residual heat until done (probably around 8 to 10 minutes).
  9. Refrigerate leftovers.
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About MissieLee

I love tasty food prepared in a healthy way with a budget in mind.
This entry was posted in Grilling, Main Dish, Sandwich, Vegetarian/Meatless and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Margherita!

  1. Pingback: Fancy a Holiday? | That Smells Yummy!

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