Saturday, May 2, 2009

"4 Stagioni" Pizza...An Authentic Dish Inspired By Our Trip to Italy

I've been so excited to share this recipe with you! This really does taste JUST like the pizzas we had in Italy. Brad and I were really looking forward to trying the pizza there. This particular kind, 4 Stagioni, was without a doubt our favorite pizza to order.

By now, you know that I love, love, love prosciutto, so after browsing the extensive menus in Italy, this one always caught my eye. It's topped with 4 amazing ingredients - Prosciutto di Parma, Mushrooms, Artichoke Hearts and Black Olives. Each ingredient is placed in its own quadrant on the pizza.

Since we've been back, I've made this recipe countless times already. Every time I eat it, it transports me straight to Venice, Florence and Rome. We noticed that the big difference in the Italian pizza and what we were used to back home was the minimal toppings. There's only a thin layer of sauce...a thin layer of cheese....and the toppings aren't piled high. The secret is fresh, quality ingredients...for this recipe, less is more! If you don't like the idea of separating the ingredients into quadrants, feel free to sprinkle all 4 ingredients over the entire pizza. I've made it several times like that as well.
And this dough...WOW...Frank Stitt never fails to deliver an amazing recipe. This dough is perfect! It produces a wonderful crust with a scrumptious taste and flawless texture.

Have fun with this recipe! You will LOVE is truly delicious!!!

4 Stagioni Pizza

Basic Pizza Dough (recipe below)
1 jar Cento pizza sauce
Mozzarella cheese, shredded
Mushrooms, sliced and washed
Prosciutto di Parma, thinly sliced
1 jar marinated Artichoke hearts, chopped
Black olives, pitted
Extra virgin olive oil

Preheat oven to 500 F....or to the highest temperature your oven will go.

Sprinkle pizza stone with cornmeal. Place one of the three portions of pizza dough on a lightly floured surface. With a rolling pin, roll dough until a thin circle. Place dough on the pizza stone. (Don't worry if your pizza dough isn't perfectly will only give it rustic charm!)

Next, place a thin layer of pizza sauce on the dough, followed by a thin layer of mozzarella cheese...remember not to go crazy here, only add a thin layer of each! Next, you'll place one of the four toppings in each quadrant of the pizza:

Quadrant 1 = Prosciutto di Parma
Quadrant 2 = Black Olives
Quadrant 3 = Mushrooms
Quadrant 4 = Artichoke Hearts

Now, drizzle a little extra virgin olive oil around the outer edge of the pizza (on what will be the crust of the pizza). Using your fingers, spread the olive oil over the entire crust. Drizzle a little more olive oil over the toppings.

Bake in the pre-heated oven for 10 - 13 minutes, or until cheese sizzles and crust is golden brown. Keep an eye on will bake fast!

In Italy, we noticed that they never sliced the pizza into triangles like we usually do here in the USA. One reason is that the pizza is so would be hard (and too messy!) to pick up and eat. If you want to eat this like a true Italian, use your knife and fork! ;)

Basic Pizza Dough
Source: Frank Stitt's Bottega Favorita: A Southern Chef's Love Affair with Italian Food

1 1/4 cups warm water (105 F to 115 F)
1 tbsp honey
1 tbsp active dry yeast
2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour (I substitute 1/2 cup bread flour)
2 tsp. kosher salt
1/4 cup olive oil
Cornmeal for dusting (optional)

Pour the warm water into a small bowl, stir in the honey, and sprinkle the yeast over the top. Set aside to proof until foamy, about 10 minutes.

Combine the flours and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or use a large bowl and a sturdy hand mixer). Add the yeast mixture and olive oil and mix on low speed until the dough forms a mass on the paddle and pulls away from the sides of the bowl, 4 to 5 minutes. (Note: I usually have to add a little extra flour near the end of mixing, if the dough is still too wet. Add a little at a time, if 1 tbsp. increments, until the dough comes together)

Remove the dough and divide it into 3 equal portions. Put on a flour-dusted baking sheet, cover with plastic wrap, and set aside in a warm place to rise for 30 minutes, or until almost doubled. (You can make the dough ahead and refrigerate it overnight if necessary; allow it to come to room temperature before continuing).
The dough is ready to be rolled and baked. You can hold the rolled dough at room temperature for a short while on a sheet of parchment paper that has been dusted with a little cornmeal.


Christina said...

This looks so good and just like the picture you took of it in Italy! I love the whole just cutting into it with a knife and fork :)

Plain Chicken said...

I made the pizza last night. It was awesome! Thanks for the recipe. I love all your pictures of Italy. I am inspired to finally plan my trip!!

Celeste said...

Steph - I'm SO excited that you liked the pizza!!! It's my new favorite. ;)

Anonymous said...

Here I am in January 2010 poking about for squash and mushroom pizzas. My search led me to your blog, then back to this dough recipe out of curiousity.

I have been using Molly Katzen's Moosewood recipe for years; same kind of raves you give Frank. They look similar, though yours uses more ollie and that twist of other flour. Have to give it a shot. In the meantime back I go to your recent page.

Foodies rule!
Guelph, Ontario, Canada

Tia said...

With raves like that i've gotta try it. Is this a thick-chewy or thin-crisp?

Elaine said...

We are eating this pizza right now! I made a pizza buffet with tons of ingredients that people can make their own. We are having such a wonderful time, thanks!

Squeeze said...

I have been using Frank Stitt's recipe since my husband and I visited his Highlands restaurant over a year sweet husband bought me both cookbooks on our trip. This is the best pizza crust I have found, hands down. Trying to convince my husband to try the olives and artichoke hearts..he devours the prosciutto.