The heat has officially hit Los Angeles and all I want to do is eat pizza outside with a glass of rosé or beer in hand. Pizza topped with fresh cold arugula is always my first pick when summer rolls around. And this pizza you see pictured has some of my favorite toppings: gooey Camembert cheese, spicy chili oil, caramelized shallots, a sprinkling of lemon zest and salty pancetta. Oh and really crisp, peppery arugula. I love the contrast between cooked and not cooked and cold and warm. This pizza has it all.
During the summer, something happens: I usually want to spend less time cooking. With that in mind, feel free to buy pizza dough. I like to go to my favorite neighborhood pizza place and kindly ask them if I can buy a few ounces of dough. They’re usually more than happy to sell me some (it usually costs about $3) and they’re typically much better than store-bought. But you can go that route, too. A few supermarkets in my area carry really good-quality pizza dough.
If you’d like to go the homemade route, I recommend Jim Lahey’s famous No-Knead Pizza Dough. I like to swap in a good bit of whole wheat flour in place of some of the all-purpose to give it a bit of an earthier flavor. Beware that it does make quite a bit of dough but feel free to refrigerate the leftovers for future use.
Whether you choose store-bought or homemade, no one will be able to tell when you top with all this awesome stuff. People will be too happy to care.
Spicy Pancetta Pizza with Camembert, Arugula and Caramelized Shallots
- 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- Olive oil
- 1 shallot, sliced
- 2 ounces thickly sliced pancetta, diced
- 1 12-inch pizza dough
- 4 ounces Camembert cheese (or another soft, ripened cheese)
- 1 cup arugula
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- Juice from 1/2 lemon
- Zest from 1/2 lemon
- In a small bowl, combine the red pepper flakes and two tablespoons of olive oil. Allow to sit for 1 hour. If you time it correctly, you can just spoon it out to put it on the pizza but if you're making it ahead of time, I recommend straining the oil, discarding the pepper flakes and set the spiced oil aside.
- Meanwhile, add two tablespoons olive oil to a small saucepan, set over medium-low heat. Add the shallots and cook them, until caramelized, stirring frequently, about 30 minutes. Remove and set aside.
- In the same saucepan, add the pancetta and cook until lightly golden brown, about 5 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and transfer to a bed of paper towels to drain.
- Place your pizza stone, if using, on the middle rack in your oven. Preheat your oven to 450 degrees F. To assemble the pizza, stretch and turn the dough, until it reaches the diameter of 10 to 12-inches. Go slowly, to avoid any tears in the dough. If you're having trouble, let the dough rest on the counter and then try again. Also, using your palms and fingers to flatten the thick parts of the dough definitely helps.
- If you're using a pizza stone, dust a pizza peel with a teaspoon of corn meal. If you're using a baking sheet, do the same thing: 1 teaspoon of corn meal on the baking sheet. Place the pizza dough on top, reshaping it, if needed.
- Brush the dough with olive oil and top liberally with the Camembert cheese. Transfer the pizza to the oven and bake for 10 to 15 minutes, until the edges are lightly golden brown and the cheese is melty.
- When the pizza is ready, top with the reserved caramelized shallot, pancetta, fresh arugula, zest of lemon and a drizzle of the reserved chili oil. Slice up and serve.
Yield: 1 twelve-inch pizza
Adrianna Adarme is a food blogger and author living in Los Angeles, California. She writes the blog A Cozy Kitchen, where she shares comforting, everyday recipes from her kitchen. She recently authored her first cookbook, PANCAKES: 72 Sweet and Savory Recipes for the Perfect Stack. She’s a lover of breakfast, pie (and sometimes even pie for breakfast), corgis and cute things. You can find her on Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook.