In the summertime, Michelle Boland loves to cook pizza on the grill, perhaps because, as pastry chef at Davio’s Northern Italian Steakhouse in Lynnfield, she is the first to admit that her talents lie more in baked goods than in classic barbecue dishes. Plus, “I love being able to cook outside with a cocktail or two and have it be something other than cheeseburgers or chicken,” she says.
Boland’s speedy shortcuts may be frowned upon by Neapolitan pizza purists, but they should get pizza from flour to table in about an hour. This dough recipe takes a page from Davio’s, with adaptations for home cooks.
Recipe from Michelle Boland
Pastry Chef, Davio’s Northern Italian Steakhouse
Serves 4 to 5 hungry people
1 1/2 c. water, room temperature
1 packet dry active yeast (14 g. fresh yeast)
1/8 c. olive oil
1 Tbsp. granulated sugar
1 Tbsp. kosher salt
4 1/2 c. all purpose flour
1. In a large bowl, mix together water, yeast, olive oil, and sugar and let sit until frothy—about 7 minutes. (This can also be done
in the bowl of a stand mixer.)
2. Add flour and salt and knead with hands or a stand mixer until a smooth, elastic dough is achieved. If using a stand mixer, mix on speed 1 for 10 minutes.
3. Divide dough into 4 equal portions, and roll each into a ball.
4. Allow dough to relax in a warm spot until puffy. To speed rising, Boland sometimes heats her oven to 225 degrees Fahrenheit for 5 minutes, and then turns it off and puts the dough on top of the oven, wrapped in a wet cloth. Using that method should get a rise in 20 to 30 minutes.
5. On a surface dusted with flour, stretch one portion of dough at a time. Place dough on a table. Using your fingers, punch down a well in the center to create the outside crust then start pushing out the dough to stretch. Pick up the dough by the crust and let it gently pull down to further stretch the dough to approximately a 10-inch-diameter circle. (If looking for more of a “flatbread,” use a rolling pin to roll the dough into desired shape.) Transfer to a pizza peel or an edgeless sheet pan sprayed with nonstick cooking spray to prepare for the grill.
1. Preheat grill to high. With a high-heat brush (or a paper towel held with tongs), brush the grates with olive oil. Slide the dough onto the grill, close the lid, and allow to cook for
3 to 4 minutes.
2. After 3 minutes, check the underside of the dough to make sure it is getting marked. It may need to be rotated slightly. Bubbles should be forming on the top, which should look slightly cooked. Once the dough is marked and the top is bubbled, use tongs to return to the cookie sheet, which you may want to spray with a bit more oil, or the pizza peel, grilled side up.
3. Now that the dough is partially cooked, add sauce, cheese, and other desired toppings. Boland likes to put the toppings under the cheese.
4. Slide pizza back onto the greased grill and close the lid again for another 3 to 4 minutes. Pizza is done when the bottom is marked, cheese is melted, and toppings are hot!
5. Remove the pizza from the grill and allow to rest for a couple minutes before slicing and serving.
Boland suggests prepping toppings—anything from chicken Parmesan to caramelized onions and cheese—while the dough rises. For a classic sauce, just purée canned San Marzano tomatoes with some basil and salt.
Read more about Davio’s and other local pizza here