In keeping with my philosophy of using what I have at hand, here is a pizza made with bits of this and that from the pantry and refrigerator. I did mention once before that pizza is under-represented here; the truth is I do this quite often, and it’s almost always spontaneous, depending on what ingredients I have.
This came about from a slightly Spanish/Mexican inspiration based on the fact that I had chorizo, Manchego and Monterey Jack cheese, and some green olives waiting to make themselves useful. Red bell pepper provides some bright color, but piquillos would be brilliant here. Onion rings add savory flavor, and fresh parsley is sprinkled on after the pizza emerges from the oven, to give an herbal note that contrasts well with the richness of the cheese and sausage. I use a large, round, flat cast iron pan that I preheat in the oven. It gives the bottom crust the same dark crisp texture that a pizza stone provides. I simply assemble the pizza on a sheet of parchment, then transfer it to the hot pan. Voila! Twelve minutes later there is a perfect pizza: crispy crust, molten cheese, and spicy, salty, fresh-tasting toppings. You can make pizza at home even more easily with purchased crusts; ask your local pizza parlor for a couple of pieces of fresh dough. Keep one (flattened out to the size you want), tightly wrapped and stored in the freezer. Then, when the pizza craving strikes, let your imagination and whatever fresh ingredients you have dictate the theme. I think you’ll be really happy with the results.
Chorizo and Manchego Pizza
- 1 pound pizza dough ,homemade or your favorite purchased dough
- 1 heaping tablespoon pizza sauce , (more if necessary to thinly cover the dough)
- 2 ounces Manchego cheese (I used 6 month-aged), coarsely grated
- 3 ounces Monterey Jack cheese , coarsely grated
- 1/2 small white onion , thinly sliced and separated into rings
- 1/2 small red bell pepper , thinly sliced
- A handful of green olives , pitted and halved (quartered if large)
- A large link of fresh chorizo sausage (4 ounces), casing removed, broken into chunks, and lightly sauteed, to partially cook. (or use Spanish chorizo, about 1 1/2 ounces, thinly sliced)
- A handful of fresh , flat leaf parsley, coarsely chopped, for garnish
Preheat the oven to 450°F. Place a pizza stone or cast iron pizza pan in the oven to heat. Stretch or roll the dough to a 12-inch circle. Place on a piece of parchment paper, or a lightly floured pizza peel.
Spread the pizza sauce over the dough to coat thinly. Scatter over 2/3 of the grated cheeses, then top with the onion rings, bell pepper slices, olives, and chorizo chunks (or slices). Sprinkle on the remaining 1/3 of the grated cheese. Slide the pizza onto the heated stone or pan and bake for about 12 minutes, or until the bottom crust is deep brown, the top is bubbling, and the edges of the crust are crisp. Remove from the oven and transfer to a serving board. Sprinkle the chopped parsley over the hot pizza, slice, and enjoy.