Monday is not typically associated with pizza. And I am in fact writing this post on a Monday. Why? Because I’m clearly a culinary rebel. Not really. I’m just disorganized. This recipe was supposed to come out on a Friday or a Saturday. Two evenings that are infinitely more suitable for a pizza party. But why? I mean, when you really think about it, pizza is an instant lift. A mood booster, a smile inducer if you will. Why waste pizza’s awesome powers on days that are in and of themselves exuberant and carefree? Wouldn’t it make more sense to deploy a pizza while you’re in the throws of Monday blahs? I think so. So here is today’s recipe – a Mortadella Pear Skillet Pizza with an extremely fluffy focaccia crust.
It’s been rainy and humid here the last couple of days and frankly, it’s pretty bleak. It’s a difficult cocktail of weather to cook for as well. On the one hand, the lack of light and dampness makes me long for a bowl of soup. While the crushing humidity makes me crave anything but. So what is the solution? Pizza, of course.
Pizza transcends seasons, climates, and contexts. It always feels like the right choice, unless of course, you’ve had it several days in a row. Yes, you can get sick of pizza. Trust a recipe developer, it can happen. And I think that is because pizza has everything we as humans look for in comfort food – carbs, cheese, and choice of toppings. You can tailor-make a pizza for any crowd to suit any mood. The same pizza can be topped with hundreds of different ingredients in millions of combinations.
Today’s Mortadella Pear Skillet Pizza is a salty/sweet beast. This pizza features paper-thin slices of garlic, sheets of mortadella, Bosc pear wedges, gooey fontina cheese, and red pepper rings. The pie is finished with thinly shaved radicchio, petals of Grana Padano, and shallots lightly pickled in lemon juice. This pizza is all about balance. It’s sweet, earthy, salty, and sharp. And none of the flavors are overly domineering or soft. It is truly a well-rounded pie. Sorry, couldn’t resist.
Now, this pizza starts out, as all good pizzas do, with excellent pizza dough. If the recipe detailed below looks familiar, that’s because it is. This is the same dough I used to make my apricot and olive focaccia. Yes, this isn’t focaccia-style dough, this is straight-up focaccia. That’s why it’s so thick.
If this looks like too much crust for you, I would suggest splitting the dough in half and either baking the other half off as focaccia or freezing it for future pizza adventures. You can still place the other half of the dough to rise in the skillet, it will still fill it. But the resulting crust will be much thinner. I am a bread fiend, so I like my pizzas exceptionally fluffy. But I’m willing to accept that not everyone shares this view.
Once the dough comes together, grease a large cast iron skillet with a lot of olive oil. And I mean a lot. Add more than you think is reasonable. This is how we will achieve that perfect golden bottom and crispiness that makes a skillet crust memorable. Place your dough in the center of the skillet and cover. Let rise until doubled in bulk. This should take about an hour and a half.
When the dough has been proofed, it should easily fill the skillet when stretched. Define a border using your fingers. Add some finely chopped parsley and use some of the excess oil to help disperse it across the surface of the dough. Top the parsley with some thinly sliced garlic. This is a white pizza, so instead of pizza sauce, we’re going for that garlic knot vibe. Don’t worry about the raw garlic being too sharp. It will steam and soften underneath the remaining toppings which will temper its bite.
On top of the garlic place the slices of mortadella. I like to sort of drape and twist them so they double up on themselves and have peaks and valleys. You can, of course, lay them flat to ensure even mortadella coverage if you prefer. Add the pear wedges and the fontina. I sliced my fontina because I like the cheese pools the slices form. But again, shred the fontina if that’s what speaks to you.
Add the red pepper rings and pop the pizza in a very hot oven. Go for 450°F and bake the pizza for 20 minutes. I find this is a good temperature and time for this pie because the crust is so thick. You want to give the focaccia ample time to cook through without burning the toppings. Be sure to rotate the pizza halfway through to further safeguard against this. If you opted to use half of the crust, cook the pizza for a shorter amount of time.
Once the pizza is out of the oven, it’s time to add the final toppings. Sprinkle the pie with thin ribbons of radicchio. I used a mandoline to shave my radicchio but if you don’t have one a good sharp chef’s knife will work as well. Just make sure you are indeed slicing it nice and thin. I love the radicchio here because it gives the pizza a note of bitterness that really cuts through the richness of the cheese and mortadella. To the radicchio add Grana Padano curls and lightly pickled shallots for a finishing hit of sharpness and acidity.
And that’s everything you need to know about this Mortadella Pear Skillet Pizza. This rich and satisfying pie will take the sting out of any Monday. But honestly, this pizza is fabulous any night of the week.
Mortadella Pear Skillet Pizza with Shaved Radicchio
- 1 Stand mixer with a dough hook
- 1 15" cast-iron skillet
- 1 mandoline optional
Focaccia Style Pizza Dough
- 1⅓ cups warm water
- 2¼ tsp dry active yeast
- 1 tbsp sugar divided
- 1 tbsp kosher salt
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 3½ – 4 cups all-purpose flour
- ¼ cup olive oil for greasing the skillet
- 2 shallots sliced into rings
- 1 lemon juiced
- 2 tbsp fresh parsley finely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic thinly sliced
- 5 slices mortadella
- 1 Bosc pear cut into thin wedges
- 225g (8oz) fontina sliced
- 1 red pencil hot pepper sliced into rings
- ½ head radicchio shaved on a mandoline**
- ¼ cup Grana Padano shaved into curls
For the Dough
- Place the water in a small bowl. Sprinkle the yeast on the surface and add half of the sugar. Stir and set the mixture aside. Let stand for 10 minutes or until foamy.1⅓ cups warm water, 2¼ tsp dry active yeast, 1 tbsp sugar
- Pour the yeast mixture into the mixing bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook. Add the remaining sugar, salt, oil, and half of the flour. Set the mixer to low and mix until a loose dough forms.1 tbsp kosher salt, 2 tbsp olive oil, 3½ – 4 cups all-purpose flour
- Add the remaining flour slowly to the dough in 1/3 cup increments. Wait for each addition to become fully integrated before adding more. Only add as much flour as you need to achieve a dough that cleans the sides of the mixing bowl and is tacky but not sticky to the touch.
- Transfer the dough to a well-floured surface and knead by hand until the dough feels smooth and elastic. This should take about 5-7 minutes. Form the dough into a ball and set it aside.
For the Pizza
- Pour the olive oil into a large cast-iron skillet. Rotate the pan to ensure the oil works its way up the sides. Place the pizza dough in the center, ensuring it is thoroughly coated in the oil. Cover and set the dough aside. Let rise for an hour and a half or until doubled in size. ***¼ cup olive oil
- While the dough is rising, place the shallots in a bowl and cover them with lemon juice. Set the shallots aside to pickle at room temperature. When the dough is nearly done rising, preheat the oven to 450°F.2 shallots, 1 lemon
- Once the dough has risen, stretch it to fill the entire skillet. Using your fingers, define the crust. Add the parsley and spread it over the surface of the pie. Top the parsley with the garlic followed by the mortadella, pear, fontina, and hot pepper rings.2 tbsp fresh parsley, 2 cloves garlic, 5 slices mortadella, 1 Bosc pear, 225g (8oz) fontina, 1 red pencil hot pepper
- Place the pizza in the oven and bake on the middle rack for 20 minutes, rotating the pizza once halfway through. Take the pizza out of the oven and immediately brush the crust with additional olive oil.
- Finish the pizza with the radicchio, Grana Padano, and drained pickled shallots. Transfer the pizza to a cutting board, slice, and serve immediately.½ head radicchio, ¼ cup Grana Padano