I stumbled upon the idea for this pizza while having lunch at one of my favorite Santa Barbara spots, Fresco. Their special pizza of the day was made with grilled pears and prosciutto, which sounded too delicious to pass up. I immediately wrote down the ingredients in my notebook so I could recreate it at home.
What sets this pizza apart is the cheese. I’ve made it several times now, but once accidentally grabbed Fontina cheese instead of Manchego – big mistake! Manchego cheese is essential for this pizza. Its mild flavor perfectly compliments the grilled pear and peppery arugula. Fontina (as I discovered) is way too salty for this dish. I’ve also made this pizza and forgotten the arugula. Yes, it tastes fine without it, but arugula not only adds a sharp bite, but beautiful color. Trust me, it’s much prettier with all the ingredients.
I also use honey to grill the pears and then drizzle a little bit over the hot, bubbly pizza when it comes out of the oven. I find the sweetness enhances every bite, and it’s the final touch that makes this pizza so, so good.
PIZZA WITH GRILLED PEAR AND PROSCIUTTO
Pizza dough (recipe here)
1 medium pear, thinly sliced and drizzled with honey
1 tbsp. honey
4 slices prosciutto
8 oz Manchego cheese, grated
½ cup arugula
Heat grill pan to medium and add prosciutto. After several minutes, turn and cook other side until it begins to crisp. Place on a paper towel to drain. When cooled, chop into small pieces and set aside.
In the same pan, add pears and grill for 3-5 minutes on each side, until grill marks form and pear is softened. Set aside.
To assemble pizza, place dough on a sheet pan or pizza stone and sprinkle with 6 oz. Manchego cheese. (When baking pizza, I always toss a small handful of cornmeal on the board to keep the pizza from sticking). Then add pears and sprinkle with prosciutto and arugula. Top with remaining cheese.
Bake at 450F for 8-10 minutes (cook time may vary depending on your oven), until cheese is melted and the edges begin to brown. Before slicing, drizzle with remaining honey.