PARTNER POST — Grilling season is here and it is time to explore Italian grilling with authentic ingredients from Colavita.
Fire up your grill, thinly sliced tomatoes, zucchini, and red onions are ready to be brushed with chardonnay balsamic and slightly charred. Once cooked, throw them on pesto pizza for great backyard barbecue flavor.
By Jessica Smith
I’ve been dreaming of Italy ever since I hopped on a plane for a cool, rainy getaway to Florence a couple months ago. Everything about Italy was inspiring, but memories of the food, of course, are what really stick. From that short trip, I brought back wine, a kilo of cheese, and balsamic vinegar so good that it makes my mouth water just thinking about it.
While I’ll never pass up steak or a burger hot of the grill, grilled summer vegetables really shine.
And so, with summer grilling in mind, I thinly sliced tomatoes, zucchini, and red onions and fired up our grill. When they were nearly finished cooking, I brushed the vegetables with Colavita’s Chardonnay Balsamic Vinegar (yum) and let them get nice and charred. And because I have a soft spot for pizza of any sort, I took all those incredible vegetables and put them on a pizza.
For the pizza I used Colavita’s “00” flour – a first for me. “00” flour is extra fine and made a pizza dough that was chewy and light and held up perfectly to all those great toppings. It might be a permanent addition to our family’s near-weekly pizza making tradition.
- 1½ cups water, room temperature
- 2 tsp honey
- 1 tsp dry active yeast
- 3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 cups "00" flour
- 1½ tsp salt
- 2 cups fresh basil leaves
- 1 inch piece of Parmesan cheese
- ¼ cup toasted pine nuts (I often substitute pecans)
- 3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil, plus more if needed
- 1 Tbsp capers, drained
- 1 tomato, sliced
- 2 zucchini, sliced
- 1 red onion, sliced
- 1 Tbsp white balsamic vinegar
- 1 batch of pizza dough (see recipe below)
- 2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 4 oz. mozzarella cheese, sliced
- fresh basil, for topping
- In a measuring cup mix the water with the honey, yeast and olive oil. Allow to rest until yeast begins to bubble, about 10 minutes.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the flours and salt. Add the yeast mixture and stir until combined, switching to knead it against the sides of the bowl with your hands until smooth and elastic (about 3 minutes). The dough will be sticky - that's okay - but add a bit more flour if it doesn't come together into a cohesive ball.
- Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let it rise for 2 hours in a warm spot.
- First, to make the pesto, combine all pesto ingredients in a food processor until nearly smooth. Add additional olive oil, if needed a bit at a time until it reaches a smooth spreadable consistency.
- Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F and prepare your grill. If using a pizza stone, place it in the oven as it heats up.
- When the grill is hot, brush the sliced vegetables with olive oil and place on the grill. Cook until tender, turning halfway through. When you have about a minute left of cooking, brush both sides of the vegetables with vinegar and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Transfer to a plate.
- Stretch the pizza dough into rounds and drizzle with olive oil.
- Top each pizza with pesto, grilled vegetables and mozzarella. Cook until cheese is bubbling and pizza crust is golden, about 10-15 minutes. Sprinkle with fresh basil, slice and serve!
Jessica Smith is a native of the American Midwest, currently living in Thailand where she writes about food and travel throughout Southeast Asia. Jessica believes that the best way to understand a place is through its local cuisine.