When you think of pizza, you probably think of red sauce, cheese, and maybe some meat. Sometimes, though, it doesn't hurt to deviate from the norm, right? Variety is the spice of life, after all.
There's a chain of restaurants called Pallino that makes a really great pizza with cheese, figs, and prosciutto on it, drizzled with reduced balsamic vinegar. I order it every time I go there! I've tried to recreate it several times and I think, by George, that I've finally got it!
I start with a grilled pizza round …
I've been making the dough, grilling them, then storing them for quick lunches or dinners.
The cheeses that I use really make a difference in the taste: gruyere, fontina, mozzarella, and gorgonzola (or blue cheese). Use whatever amount suits your taste, but for each pizza round that I make (8-10 inches), I use about 2-3 ounces each of the gruyère, fontina, and mozzarella. Add the gorgonzola sparingly (1-2 Tablespoons) because of the boldness of its taste.
I buy dried figs and simmer them in apple brandy or a mix of apple brandy and apple juice for 15-20 minutes. I cut them in half to put on the pizza because I love how they look with the seeds showing.
I slide it into the oven onto my pizza stone, but you could heat it right on the oven rack, too.
The prosciutto goes on after the pizza has baked. When you buy prosciutto, it is very thinly sliced, and if you pull it apart, it comes apart in natural strips. Try to find a fresh prosciutto that a butcher can cut for you rather than buying it pre-packaged. The taste is worth it!
Lay the pieces prosciutto haphazardly across the pizza. The temperature of the cheese will warm the prosciutto up very nicely without making it crispy.
The final touch is a drizzle of reduced balsamic vinegar. I usually do this while my pizza is in the oven. To reduce balsamic vinegar, pour about four times the quantity of what you want to end up with into a small pot or skillet. Bring it to a boil, then simmer and cook for 2-5 minutes (depending on how much you are reducing, it might need more time), watching it carefully so as not to begin burning it. It will also continue to thicken after you take it off the heat so don't leave it too long. You should end up with a sweet, drizzly bit of yummy goodness! I happened to have bought Fig Balsamic Vinegar from Calabro when I was in California so mine was especially tasty!
Feel free to chop some fresh basil to sprinkle on top, too … YUMMY!