Three Cheese Pancetta Pizza
Disclaimer: this swoon-worthy pizza may cause you to abandon red sauce forever. Topped with creamy white sauce, three varieties of cheese (a mix of creamy and sharp), peppery pancetta, and Onion Butter - this luxurious pie is perfect to serve as an appetizer to a grilled meal–or a summer supper alongside a big salad and chilled wine. To streamline the effort, purchase rounds of dough from your local pizza place or supermarket. The white sauce can be made up to two days in advance, and refrigerated until you're ready to cook. For the best results, your grill should be very hot –500℉-550℉– so the pizza crisps and cooks in as little as 4-5 minutes.
Three Cheese Pizza with Pancetta
2 10-inch pizzas
A lightly floured pizza peel is the easiest way to transport pies to the grill. (Some people use semolina to prevent the dough from sticking, but I find it can burn and give the crust a bitter taste.) If you don’t have a peel, use a couple of large spatulas. You won’t need all the white sauce for these two pies; use any leftovers for mac n cheese, or use it for French bread pizzas.
4 tablespoons butter
4 tablespoons flour
2 cups whole milk
2 teaspoons Onion Butter
Two 8- to 10-ounce balls store-bought pizza dough, at room temperature
4 ounces cubed pancetta
Olive oil, for drizzling
4 cups shredded mozzarella
2 cups shredded aged Gouda
1 ½ cups shredded or shaved Parmesan
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon Onion Butter seasoning
Scallions, for garnish (optional)
For the White Sauce
For the Pizza
To make the white sauce, melt the butter in a heavy saucepan over medium-high heat. But the butter begins to bubble, whisk in the flour, and continue to whisk until the ingredients form a thick paste and the flour no longer smells raw, about 4 minutes. Carefully whisk in the milk (it will bubble vigorously at first), reduce heat to medium and continue to cook, stirring frequently, until the sauce comes to a lively simmer and has thickened enough to coat a wood spoon. Whisk in the onion butter and set aside to cool. Note: The white sauce can be made up to two days in advance and refrigerated.
Remove the pizza balls from the fridge an hour before you prepare to cook and turn them onto a lightly floured work surface.
Pour a tablespoon of olive oil into a small skillet over medium heat. Add the pancetta and cook, stirring occasionally, until nicely browned. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the pancetta to a paper towel lined plate and set aside.
Make the cheese topping: combine the mozzarella, Gouda, and Parmesan in a bowl.
Prepare a grill for one-zone cooking and build a medium-high fire. When the coals are glowing red and covered with a fine gray ash, place a cleaned pizza stone over the fire and allow it to heat for 10 minutes.
When you’re ready to grill, give the flour a light dusting and use your fingertips to tap the center of the dough to flatten it slightly. Then, pick up the dough, ball both fists, and with your fists facing your body, place the top edge of the dough on your fists so the round stretches downward against the backs for your hands. Rotate the circle of dough around your fists so the dough continues to stretch downward in an evenish circle.
When the dough is stretched to about 10 inches, place it on a lightly floured peel. Use a ladle to spread a thin layer of white sauce evenly on the dough, leaving a ½-inch border around the edge. Top the sauce with half of the cheese mixture and a scattering of half of the pancetta; sprinkle the top of the pizza with Onion Butter.
Slide the pizza onto the preheated stone (you’ll have a few moments here to use your fingers to reshape the round as needed), cover the grill and bake for 4-5 minutes, until the cheese has melted, and the crust is lightly charred. Use the peel to transfer the pizza to a cutting board and repeat with the remaining round. Allow each pizza to cool for a couple of minutes before using a chef’s knife or pizza cutter to slice as desired.