Mixing culinary metaphors isn’t really my thing, and I like my cooking straight-up authentic (and tasty). But, last night I applied a Mexican cooking tradition to my Italian pizza. No, I didn’t just add jalapeños.
Enchiladas can be sauced in many different ways—rancheras, molé, suizas, verdes, and more. A dish of enchiladas sauced with two different sauces is called enchiladas divorcadas, or divorced. I couldn’t decide what topping to make for our Friday night pizza, having tomatoes, broccoli, ricotta, and mozzarella at hand, and I didn’t want to do a mash-up. My solution was to make divorced pizza—a white broccoli on one side, and tomato and mozzarella on the other.
Lately, I have been making Sicilian pizza (the big rectangular version) because it is a hell of a lot easier than dealing with two round pizzas. I have all of the proper pizza equipment, including a few pizza peels and a stone, and I am an experienced pizza tosser. It’s just that when 7 PM rolls around, I am in no mood for fussing. Lately, the dough is pressed into a half-sheet pan, topped, and popped into the oven.
Of course, you can fool around with the toppings. The tomato half is a typical New Jersey red sauce version, and would be great with some salami, pepperoni, or chopped meatballs. One caveat about vegetable toppings—be sure they are cooked. Raw vegetables will give off their juices when heated and make the topping soggy. Here, the broccoli is blanched for a minute or two , but the veggies could be sautéed in a little oil or even grilled. Tomatoes should be seeded and drained well.
I tried J. Kenji López-Alt’s method of turning on the broiler to give the oven an extra boost of top-generated heat. It worked OK, but I think that each cook will have to make adjustments for their own oven set-up. If your pizza is getting too dark, turn off the broiler once it has accomplished some browning, and perhaps move the pizza down a rung. My pizza did get a little too toasty, but it was still fantastic.
This is my favorite pizza dough. It stretches like a dream and does not require any special flour. (I had two friends call me this week about imported 00 flour.) The secret for this dough is all-day refrigeration. I make it in the morning in the food processor, and let it ferment in the fridge all day long. It takes me about 3 minutes tops. I have also made the dough hot tap water and done a quick-rise…and no one threw the pizza out because it didn’t taste good!
I know the ingredient list looks long, but it is a very straightforward procedure, and you will have pizza on the table in no time.
“Divorced” Sicilian Pizza
Makes 4 servings
Pizza Dough (makes 1 ½ pounds dough)
3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, plus more as needed
Extra-virgin olive oil
1¾ teaspoons kosher salt or 1½ teaspoons fine sea salt
1½ teaspoons instant, quick-rising yeast (NOT active dry yeast)
1 cup cold tap water
Quick Pizza Sauce (enough for half of a Sicilian pizza)
3 tablespoons tomato paste
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons warm water, as needed
1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning or oregano
1/8 teaspoon granulated garlic or garlic powder
A few grinds of black pepper
2 cups (8 ounces) shredded mozzarella (your call for fresh, factory, whole, or part skim)
½ cup (2 ounces) freshly grated Parmesan cheese
½ head broccoli, cut into small florets (about 2 loosely packed cups), par-cooked and drained (see Note)
3 ripe plum tomatoes, seeded, sliced into 1/2-inch rounds, and drained well on paper towels
1/2 small red onion, thinly siced
½ cup ricotta cheese (whole milk or part skim)
Olive oil, for brushing
Dried oregano, for sprinkling
Crushed hot red pepper, for sprinkling
1. To make the dough in a food processor, combine the flour, 1 tablespoon oil, the salt, and the yeast in the processor. With the motor running, add the water through the food tube to make a ball of dough that is soft but not sticky and rides on the top of the blade (there will be some crumbles of dough, too). If the dough is too moist, dust with 1 tablespoon of flour. If the dough is too dry, sprinkle with 1 tablespoon of water. Process briefly, check the dough again, and repeat until the dough is the correct texture. Process the dough for 45 seconds to knead it.
2. Drizzle about 1 tablespoon of oil into a 1-gallon zip-tight plastic bag. Shape the dough into a thick disk and slip it into the bag. Close the bag, coat the dough with oil, and refrigerate for at least 8 and up to 24 hours. (You can use a bowl instead of the bag, if you prefer, but the bag takes up less room in the refrigerator.) Remove the dough from the refrigerator about 1 hour before baking the pizza, keeping it in the bag.
3. To make the pizza sauce: Whisk all of the ingredients together in a small bowl, adding enough water to make a thick, spreadable sauce.
4. Position a rack in the top third of the oven and preheat the oven to 450ºF. Lightly oil an 18-by-13-inch half-sheet pan.
5. Transfer the dough to the pan. Using your fingertips, stretch and pat the dough to fill the pan. Cover the dough with plastic wrap or a damp towel and let stand for 15 minutes.
6. To add the toppings: Leaving a 1-inch border, spread the pizza sauce over one half of the dough. Sprinkle about half of the mozzarella and half of the Parmesan over the entire dough (again, leaving a border). Top the pizza-sauce side with the chopped tomatoes and the plain (mozzarella) side with the broccoli and red onion Dot the ricotta cheese over the broccoli. Brush the vegetables and crust border with oil. Sprinkle the remaining mozzarella over the toppings.
7. Turn the broiler on in the stove. (If your broiler is not in your oven, just bake the pizza without broiling.) Put the pizza in the oven and bake until the top is browned, about 4 minutes. Turn off the broiler and continue baking at 450 until the crust is golden brown, about 10 minutes more. Sprinkle the remaining Parmesan over the pizza and return to the oven just to melt it slightly, about 1 minutes. Sprinkle the oregano and red pepper flakes over the pizza. Let stand for about 3 minutes. Cut into large rectangular serving pieces and serve hot.
Note: Use your favorite method for par-cooking the broccoli. You can microwave it with a little water in a covered, microwave-safe bowl for 2 to 3 minutes or high. Or add the florets to a medium saucepan of lightly salted water and boil over high heat about 2 minutes. I do not recommend roasting the broccoli (a great technique in most cases) because it will be baked again in the oven, and I am concerned about over-browning.