It came as a surprise to me that I still had frozen shrimp in the freezer. I had no plans to use them, but it turns out I discovered the shrimp on pizza night. I'd also just come home with some wild arugula, so there seemed no other solution but to combine the two. And it was about time. Almost every week we uncork a bottle of zinfandel and ease into the weekend with one of our favorite meals and maybe a good movie, but lately I was making the same pizza over and over again. While there's absolutely nothing wrong with pizza margherita, and I love the simple flavors of mozzarella, tomato sauce and basil as much as the next person, I was thinking we needed to shake things up.
Oh, how easy it is to remain in the same delicious routine. I would have grand plans for experimenting with different vegetables and cheese, but when it came down to planning it was just easier to make more of the same. And I was about to do it again, except that I found the shrimp, bought the arugula, and the signs just pointed toward something entirely new. I love when that happens.
PIZZA WITH SHRIMP AND ARUGULA
This recipe is for 1 large pizza, though the pizza recipe included below makes enough for two crusts.
Pizza dough (recipe follows)
White Sauce with Basil (recipe follows)
15 shrimp, deveined and cut into thirds
1 small zucchini, thinly sliced
2 cups of arugula
A few large basil leaves, torn
Preheat a pizza stone in a 500 degree oven for 30 to 35 minutes. When sufficiently heated, remove from oven and sprinkle with cornmeal, then place prepared dough on top.
Spread white sauce evenly over prepared dough. Scatter the shrimp, zucchini and mozzarella cheese. Bake for 10 minutes, until beginning to brown in spots and the crust is light brown. Sprinkle with reserved basil and arugula; serve.
This dough makes enough for 2 14-inch thin crust pizzas. Since I've been making my own dough I've learned one thing: dough has a mind of its own. For this reason, ingredient guidelines are just that, guidelines. Depending on the weather or moisture levels in your kitchen you may need more or less water on a given day, so watch the dough come together and make adjustments accordingly.
3 cups flour
2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast (1 yeast packet)
Pinch of sugar
1 to 1 1/2 cups warm water
1 teaspoon salt
Add flour, yeast and sugar to the bowl of a stand mixer. With the paddle attachment, mix ingredients together on low speed. Then add the olive oil and salt, and slowly drizzle in almost a cup of water. If the dough isn't coming together and becoming smooth or looks dry, add additional water a tablespoon at a time.
Switch to the dough hook and knead on medium speed for about 5 minutes until the dough is smooth and pulls away from the side of the bowl. The dough should not be too sticky. Turn out the dough on a lightly floured surface, add a small amount of olive oil to the bowl and return the dough, coating it on both sides. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the oven to rise for about an hour, until doubled in size.
After the dough has risen, turn it out on a floured cutting board and slice it down the middle. Knead each piece once or twice and form into a smooth ball. Let the dough rest for another 10 to 15 minutes. Roll out as desired.
White Sauce with Basil
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 tablespoon flour
1/2 cup whole milk
Salt and pepper to taste
1 small garlic clove, minced
1 to 2 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped
In a small saucepan, melt butter. Add flour and whisk to combine. Pour in milk and continue to whisk for 2 to 3 minutes more, until the sauce thickens. Remove from heat and add garlic, basil, salt and pepper. Stir to combine and check for seasonings. If the sauce is too thick, add more milk until it thins to the desired consistency.