How on earth are you supposed to follow up a five-course meal featuring fifteen dishes (plus appetizers!) with a homemade meal? Are you even supposed to eat? To be honest, I wasn’t expecting to be all that hungry come Sunday–and neither was Michael–so we didn’t put all that much thought into dinner plans. But we knew we’d have to eat something, but none of our typical stand-bys were appealing: we had enjoyed enough tapas the night before, thank you, and we had pasta on Friday, and tacos seemed heavy, and I don’t think either of us could fathom eating another braised meat dish. And then inspiration hit: pizza. Of course.
This is why pizza-making at home is so brilliant at times: unlike the calorie bombs that you can order at a restaurant, you can make yours as delicate and as light as you’d like, depending on your mood. Maybe the Barcelona dinner had me feeling a bit of New Haven-based nostalgia, but I found myself craving a white clam pizza akin to what we’d order from Modern Apizza because while it’s not heavy, it is substantial and only requires a few ingredients. Remembering that Jun Belen had made one during Project Food Blog 2010, I tentatively proposed it to Michael and he was completley on board, much to my surprise. (I’d think he’d want to avoid eating any quantity of fresh mozzarella after Saturday, but it turns out I was wrong.) In turn he suggested a leek and prosciutto pizza that would also be sauceless but would act as a counter-balance to all of the fresh mozzarella.
It turns out you can go home (and cook) again after eating a lavish meal, so long as you make something wholly unrelated to anything you had the night before. A good place to start is with pizza.
White Clam and Pancetta Pizza
adapted from Jun Belen and memories of Modern Apizza’s white clam pizza
makes 1 12-inch pizza
- Pizza dough–use half of this recipe
- 10-12 littleneck clams, shucked, drained and chopped
- 2oz pancetta, diced
- 3 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1/4 lb fresh mozzarella, grated
- Lemon wedges for serving
- Olive oil
- Cornmeal or flour for dusting
Preheat oven to highest temperature setting on bake with pizza stone or inverted sheet pan in the middle of the oven. Using a pizza peel that has been dusted with cornmeal, stretch the dough out into a 12-inch(ish) circle, and then transfer into the oven to bake. (Doing this will help prevent the pizza from getting soggy from the clams, bacon, and cheese later). After about five minutes, carefully draw the rack out (not removing it from the oven, obviously) add the clams, garlic and pancetta and cook for another two or three minutes. Open the oven again and add the cheese, cooking the pizza until the crust is golden brown and the cheese has melted, carefully remove and let rest before slicing and serving. Squeeze some lemon juice over the pizza to serve.