1 1/2 teaspoons dry yeast
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/2 cup warm water
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for work surface
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for coating bowl and grill
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, smashed
Pinch crushed red pepper, optional
1/2 pound pancetta, cut into 1/2-inch dice
1 1/2 pounds assorted mushrooms, such as shiitake, cremini, oyster, or whatever you like, cleaned and sliced
1 pound stracchino (or another mild creamy cheese, such as ricotta or fromage blanc, at room temperature
1 cup grated Parmesan
1/2 bunch chives, finely sliced
Aged balsamic for drizzling, optional
To make the dough:
Combine the dry yeast, sugar and WARM not hot tap water in a small bowl. Stir to combine and let sit for about 15 minutes. If the water is too hot it will kill the yeast and if it is too cold the yeast will not activate. When ready the yeast will look bubbly on top and smell very yeasty.
Combine the flour and salt in a large mixing bowl. Make a well in the center of the flour and add the olive oil and the yeast mixture. Using a fork, gradually stir the flour into the liquids until combined. Turn the dough out onto a smooth clean work surface and use your hands to knead the dough to a smooth homogeneous consistency. Lightly coat the mixing bowl with olive oil, and return the kneaded dough to the bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and put in a warm place until the dough has doubled in size, about 1 hour.
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F, and preheat the grill.
For the topping:
Add 2 tablespoons olive oil, the smashed garlic cloves, crushed red pepper and pancetta to a large saute pan over medium heat. Cook the pancetta slowly until it gets brown and crispy. Once the garlic has become golden brown remove it and discard. Turn the heat up to high and add the mushrooms. Season with salt and saute until the mushrooms are soft and wilted, about 5 minutes. Reserve.
Portion the prepared dough into golf ball-size pieces. Dust a work surface with flour and roll each piece of dough into a rectangle (or whatever shape you like, I like irregular shapes). If not using the dough right away, wrap each piece individually in plastic and reserve until ready to use.
Brush the preheated grill with oil to remove any crud. Carefully arrange each piece of dough on the grill and grill on both sides until the dough is stiff and crisp and has grill marks on both sides. That little bit of char adds a DELICIOUS flavor!
Schmear each piece with stracchino, top with the pancetta/mushroom mixture, and sprinkle with Parmesan. Put the pizza in the preheated oven until the cheese has melted, about 5 to 7 minutes. Remove from the oven, sprinkle with chives and drizzle with the aged balsamic, if desired.
Mamma mia, what pizza!
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