Food & dining

Seasonal Recipes

Recipe: It couldn’t be easier (or better) to grill pizza dough, then add zucchini slices and ricotta

Sally Pasley Vargas for the Boston Globe
Grilled zucchini pizza with ricotta and mint

Serves 4

Part of the fun of making pizza at home is tinkering with the process. Try a pizza stone on the oven floor; start in a cast iron skillet on the stovetop and finish under the broiler; or slide the dough onto a hot grill. A few other things: Store-bought dough is great for this. Look for it in bags that weigh anywhere from 1 to 2 pounds (you need two 8-ounce pieces) and freeze what you don’t use for later. Try fresh mozzarella instead of the low-moisture type; experiment with toppings, but be judicious (overloaded crust = soggy pizza). Build the fire on a charcoal or gas grill so you have a hot side and a cool side. The rounds are seared on the hot side, then covered with ricotta, mozzarella, and zucchini slices and cooked on the cool side. Watch closely for hot spots, or cool ones, and move the pizza around accordingly. You know, tinker. 

Flour (for sprinkling)
2pieces (8 ounces each) prepared pizza dough
1medium zucchini or summer squash, thinly sliced
1garlic clove, very thinly sliced
½teaspoon salt, and more to taste
½cup whole-milk ricotta
2ounces fresh mozzarella (blot with paper towels if wet), torn into small pieces
1ounce Parmesan, shaved (use a vegetable peeler for wide, thin slivers)
2tablespoons finely chopped fresh chives
Olive oil (for sprinkling)
Black pepper, to taste
¼cup fresh mint leaves, torn up

1. Sprinkle a rimmed baking sheet with flour. Place the dough on the sheet and flour liberally on both sides. Cover with a clean cloth and set aside for 20 minutes, or until the dough comes to room temperature. 

2. Light the coals on a charcoal grill and when they burn down, make a two-zone fire by banking the coals on one side of the grill and leaving the other side empty. Or turn a gas grill to high on one side and low on the other. Clean the grill grates and oil them lightly.

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3. In a bowl, toss the zucchini and garlic with ½ teaspoon salt. 

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4. Dust the dough with flour again if needed. One piece at a time, on a floured surface, use your fingertips to press and stretch the dough into a 6-inch round. Lift it up, drape it over your fists, and gently turn and stretch the dough to thin it out. Return to the floured sheet pan. Each pizza should be about 9 to 10 inches in diameter with a minimally raised outer edge.

5. Place one piece of dough at a time on the hot side of the grill and sear for 30 and 60 seconds. The dough will bubble and stiffen when it’s ready to turn. Use tongs to turn the dough and sear the other side for 30 to 60 seconds. Then move the round to the cooler side of the grill. Repeat with the other piece of dough and remove both from heat. 

6. Divide the ricotta between the rounds, spreading it evenly.

7. With your hands, lightly squeeze the liquid out of the zucchini rounds. Shingle the rounds over the ricotta, tucking in the garlic slivers here and there. Scatter the mozzarella and Parmesan on the top.

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8. Return the pizzas to the cooler side of the grill. Close the lid and cook for 7 to 10 minutes, turning once to ensure even cooking. 

9. Transfer the pizzas to a large cutting board and sprinkle with chives, olive oil, pepper, and a pinch of salt. Just before serving, scatter the mint on top. Leigh Belanger

Leigh Belanger can be reached at leigh@saltandlemons.net.