grilling pizza + white pizza sauce

For most of you, it’s that time of year again- when you don’t want to turn on the oven and heat up the whole house, but you’ve got nothing for dinner.  And there’s a limit to how many grilled hamburgers and brats and chicken wings a person can take. Believe me, I’ve hit that limit. It’s not pretty.

So what does a person do? The answer is simple, yet incredibly provacative: grilled pizza.  Easily customizable, ready with 10 minutes of prep and 5 minutes of grilling, warm and filling and as homemade as you want it to be.  It leaves your oven switched off, your house cool, and your hearts&minds (not to mention stomachs) satisfied.

Grilled pizza
1 pizza crust, store-bought or homemade
cornmeal
pizza sauce, store-bought or homemade
toppings and cheese
pizza peel or large flat baking tray
peanut or vegetable oil and basting brush.

Heat the grill to medium-high, or between 400 and 450 if it’s got a thermometer. Sprinkle cornmeal on your pan or peel, and lay out your pizza crust. Prep your sauce and toppings– this is going to move quickly so you’ll want to be prepared. Brush the top of the crust lightly with oil.

While the grill is warming up, clean the grates and brush them with oil.  Once heated, carefully flip your pizza crust onto the grate, oiled side down.  Brush the (new) top of the crust lightly with oil and shut the lid for 2 minutes. Check every minute after that to check for doneness- check the bottom for a dark golden brown color, and the top should be baking and taking on a light golden color as well. If the bottom is cooking too quickly compared to the top, decrease the heat and close the lid in 30-second intervals.

Once the bottom of the crust is cooked, take it off the grill with the baking sheet.  Close the lid to allow the grill to reheat.  Carefully flip the crust so that the golden-charred side is facing up.  Layer sauce (not too much!), toppings, and cheese as desired.  Slide the pizza back onto the grill, close the lid, and decrease heat if need, so that the temperature hovers near 400. Check every minute to ensure the bottom of the crust doesn’t burn but allow for the cheese to melt. If your cheese isn’t melting but your crust is done, close the lid and turn off the grill; let it sit for 2 minutes and check again.  Serve warm with beers or other summery beverages.

White pizza sauce
adapted from Food.com

Tops one medium-large pizza crust

1 tablespoon butter
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 shallot
1 large clove of garlic
1/4 teaspoon each of red pepper flakes and dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon each dried oregano and dried basil
2-1/2 tablespoons flour
1 cup of whole milk (I mix 1/3 c. cream and 2/3 c. skim milk)
1/2 cup parmesan, asiago, or romano (asiago is my personal favorite, though all are great)
hearty pinch of flaky salt
lots of freshly ground black pepper

In a skillet or frying pan, melt together the butter and oil on medium heat.  Finely dice the shallot and garlic, and sautee for 2-3 minutes in the butter. Add in the herbs and pepper flakes; continue to stir and cook for one minute.  Whisk in the flour and cook for 2 minutes, but not so long that the flour darkens.  Slowly whisk in a little of the milk at a time, until you’ve got a nice white sauce.  Bring to a simmer; reduce heat to medium-low and fold in the cheese.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Spread warm sauce over pizza and top with your favorite toppings: we love combinations of cooked chicken or sausage, spinach, grilled asparagus or artichokes, and of course, fresh mozzarella.

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Filed under 30 min. or less, Main dishes, Spring, Summer, Vegetarian

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