So, so much to talk about today. Not only is it Friday, but I am finally, finally getting back to Famous Fridays! Were you missing them? Maybe not 😘. Hmmmnnn…
Anyhoo, just ‘cause it’s been a while (last one was in May!) and some of you are new around here, I’ll do a brief talk-thru of the concept behind FF posts. When I first started to write the blog, part of my motivation to do so was to share my own family recipes. The other part was to share my favorite recipes from other cooks, chefs, pastry makers and cookbook writers, etc. Personally, I get so much inspiration from others (I really love cookbooks and have a scarily large collection) and I thought it would be a great idea to devote one day a week to celebrating the food genius of others. It has definitely made me cook and think more outside of the box, which is always a good thing and been mighty yummy too! Flash forward almost 5 years and there are now 153 Famous Fridays posts— take a look when you get a chance—it’s quite an eclectic category. Okey-, dokey that concludes my little FF primer! I promise to try posting more consistently!!
Today we’re talking homemade grilled pizza topped with a light but luscious mix of ricotta cheese, arugula and grapes which is the brainchild of Tiffani Thiessen, not only star of Saved By The Bell and 90210, but also of this kinda amazing cookbook, Pull Up A Chair: Recipes From My Family to Yours. Guys, this actress can cook!!
I’m always a little skeptical about celebrity cookbooks—like if they weren’t famous, would they have gotten the cookbook deal? I can honestly say with Pull Up A Chair, that the answer is a resounding YES!! I love this cookbook. It’s chock-full of unfussy, family-friendly recipes and gorgeous photos that make you want to run into the kitchen and start cooking. And it definitely leans toward that California-style of light, seasonal, sustainable cooking which is another big plus in my book! I’ve already made Tiffani’s wonderful Raspberry Jam, her Tomato Jam (my husband loved it) and her Yogurt Pancakes and I can’t wait to make dishes like Citrus Brick Chicken with Sweet Barbecue Sauce, Chocolate Chip Brown Butter Banana Bread, Southern Cali Salad with Farro, and Beef, Mushroom Stroganoff with Creamy Polenta and more. I just know they’re all going to be so great because this Arugula, Grape & Ricotta Grilled Pizza is a knockout winner and has seriously captured our hearts! I’ve made it three times in the last 2 weeks!
If you’ve never made grilled pizza dough from scratch or have and it hasn’t gone exactly smoothly, I urge you to try this version. The dough, which is a white and whole wheat mix, comes together quickly and easily and is a dream to handle.
Honestly, I find it a lot easier than making pizza in the oven because it cooks in a just a few minutes on the grill and because you can make it ahead, like much earlier in the day, and then reheat it in the oven when you add the toppings.
Plus, I love that smoky, charred flavor you get from grilling the dough!
It would be great just as is, without any topping!
But that would also be a shame because the sort of odd mixture of warm, creamy ricotta, sweet fresh red grapes and slightly peppery arugula topping the chewy dough is divine!! It’s just the best mix of crunchy, chewy and creamy! Totally hits the bliss point!
The original recipe tops it all off with lemon zest and lemon oil but I opted for a drizzle or two of balsamic vinegar instead and we are loving it!
It’s such a pretty, light, summery treat—works great as an appetizer or main course—and you can totally change up the toppings—I’ve also made a version with tomato sauce and parmesan cheese that was recently inhaled.
Seriously, before the summer is over, you owe it to yourself to toss some of this dough onto your grill and experience the joys of grilled pizza. Maybe this weekend? And while you’re at it, pick up a copy of Pull Up A Chair and experience the joys of all the rest of Tiffani’s recipes. Have a good one, enjoy something yummy with family and friends and I’ll be back next week with more summer food and fun!
Pull Up A Chair’s Arugula, Grape & Ricotta Grilled Pizza-Famous Fridays
Makes 6-8 servings
Prep Time for Crust: 20 minutes, plus 1 hour for dough to rise; Cook Time: 5 minutes; Assembly Time: 5 minutes, plus another 6 minutes for ricotta to melt a bit
For the Crust
2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast (about one .25 ounce packet)
2 teaspoons sugar
3/4 cup warm water
1 cup unbleached, all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus additional for greasing bowl and grill grates
For the Topping
1 cup ricotta cheese
2 cups loosely packed baby arugula
1 cup red grapes, sliced in half
1. To make the crust: Whisk together the yeast, sugar and warm water in a small bowl and let sit in a warm place for about 10 minutes, until foamy and risen.
2. Meanwhile, whisk together the flours and salt in a large bowl and make a well in the center. Pour in the yeast mixture and the 2 tablespoons oil and use a fork to mix everything together until a dough forms.
3. Flour a board lightly and turn the dough out onto it. Knead the dough until it is smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes. Add a bit more flour if necessary to keep it from sticking. No need to wash the board at this point.
4. Coat a clean, large bowl with a little bit of oil and add the dough, turning once to coat the dough with the oil. Cover the bowl with a piece of plastic wrap or a clean dish towel and place the bowl in a warm place to rise, until the dough is doubled in size, about 1 hour.
5. Generously brush the grates of your grill with olive oil and preheat.
6. Turn the dough out onto the lightly floured board and cut in half. Place one half back into the bowl and keep covered. Stretch the other half into a 14-inch oval or rectangle, so that it’s about 1/4 -inch thick—it’s supposed to be rustic looking—and transfer to a baking sheet. Repeat the procedure with the other half.
7. Use a large spatula and tongs to transfer the dough to the grill. Cook for a minute or two until you see some nice char marks and then flip over so that the other side can get cooked too. Watch carefully—this can burn really quickly. Remove from the grill and place on a large rimmed baking sheet. Repeat with the other piece of dough. You can definitely make this early in the day to use later and just leave out at room temperature. Or you can use it right away.
8. To make the topping: Preheat oven to 400ºF. I like to whip the ricotta briefly with a handheld mixer but you could definitely just use it as is. In either case, spread about 1/2 cup of the ricotta on one of the grilled doughs and bake for 6 minutes. Top with the arugula and grapes. Drizzle with some balsamic vinegar and use a pizza wheel or sharp knife to cut into pieces. Serve immediately.
Note: Recipe adapted Pull Up A Chair by Tiffani Thiessen. I tinkered with the topping and subbed in balsamic vinegar for the lemon zest, lemon oil, and flaky sea salt.