WHITE CLAM PIZZA WITH PARMESAN AND FRESH MOZZARELLA
1-pound pizza dough (recipe below or store-bought)
24 littleneck clams (about 2 ½-pounds)
¾ cup dry white wine
5 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 small onion, chopped
8 large cloves garlic, chopped
5 ounces pancetta, chopped
1-pound fresh chopped clams
¼ cup fresh parsley, chopped
2 tablespoons cold butter, cut into pats
2 tablespoons cornmeal
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese (good quality)
12 small (2”) fresh mozzarella balls
2 ½ teaspoons Dish off the Block Ciao Bella Italian Spice Blend
1 teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil (plus 2 teaspoons to oil the bowl)
1 tablespoon honey
1 ½ cups warm water (115-120 degrees)
1 packet yeast
2 teaspoons salt
3 ½ – 4 cups flour
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Place pizza stone in oven to preheat for at least 30 minutes. (You can also make this on a sheet pan if you don’t have a stone, but no need to preheat.)
Place the littleneck clams in a medium skillet in a single layer. Pour white wine over clams and cover. Cook on medium high heat until all of the clams pop open, about 8-10 minutes. Let cool and remove the meats and set aside. Drain the juice in the pan into a small bowl through a fine sieve. Set aside.
Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large deep skillet over medium high heat. Cook the onions and garlic, stirring, until they begin to get soft, about 2 minutes. Add the pancetta and cook for 3-4 minutes until everything is fragrant and begins to lightly brown.
Add the reserved cooking liquid from the clams to the pan. Also, add any of the juices in the fresh chopped clams by pressing with your fingers to remove as much liquid as possible. Cook for 8-10 minutes, stirring frequently, until most of the liquid is absorbed. Add the drained chopped clams and chopped parsley to the pan and cook for another 4-5 minutes more, stirring, until most of the liquid is absorbed. Turn off the heat and stir in the cold butter until it is melted and sauce is glossy and clings to the clams.
Form the pizza dough into 14” round. Spread the cornmeal on a pizza peel/paddle (so that pizza will easily slide off onto the stone) and place the dough on top. Brush the crust with 1 tablespoon of olive oil all over. Top with the clam mixture leaving ½” of the perimeter of the dough uncovered. Top evenly with the parmesan cheese and then dot all over with the clam meats you removed from the shells and the mozzarella balls. Sprinkle the Italian seasoning evenly over the top followed by the black pepper. Finally, drizzle all over with the last tablespoon of the olive oil.
Slide the pizza off the peel and onto the pizza stone in the oven. Bake until bubbly and crust is browned, about 10 minutes.
Place olive oil, honey, and water into the bowl of a stand mixer. Stir to dissolve honey into the water (so it doesn’t stick to the bottom of the bowl). Sprinkle the yeast on top of the liquid mixture, stir, and let sit for 5-10 minutes until yeast becomes foamy. Add salt and 2 ½ cups of the flour. Mix using the dough hook attachment. Gradually add as much of the remaining flour as needed until a ball forms. Empty dough onto a floured countertop and knead for 8 minutes until dough is smooth and elastic adding flour as needed if sticky.
Place dough in a greased bowl and cover with a clean kitchen towel. Let rise in a warm spot for 1 hour until doubled in bulk. Knead dough briefly and divide into 2 equal parts and form balls. Let rest for 30 minutes under a clean kitchen towel. If you are not using both balls, refrigerate each ball in a plastic bag sprayed with cooking spray for up to 5 days.