Artichoke & Fontina Pizza

Every year since we started dating, my husband and I have celebrated our own Christmas by cooking something delicious and opening presents together. We have carried on this tradition for five Christmases now and neither of us were ready to let go of our special ritual, even when time was not on our side. This year, our Christmas dinner was sandwiched between my in-laws visit to New York and our departure to Minnesota to visit my own family, so we decide to create something that was a bit less time-consuming.

Making pizza is always an easy option, especially if you purchase your own dough. I chose to make my own and the recipe is included, but the meal was still fairly simple. I found this recipe in Food and Wine Magazine’s December 2009 issue.

Artichoke and Fontina Pizza

by Food and Wine Magazine

Serves 2-3

Roughly 16 oz Marinated artichoke hearts, chopped (I got mine from Fairway’s olive bar)

Pizza dough (recipe below)

2 & 1/2 cups freshly grated Fontina   Cheese

2-3 sprigs of thyme

Follow directions to make your own pizza dough, or buy a ball of freshly made dough from your grocer. Preheat oven to 425.

Dust a work surface with cornmeal and roll out pizza dough to 10-inch round. Transfer to a baking sheet. Drizzle the round with the remaining olive oil. Bake for about 8 minutes, until the dough looks dry and bubbles appear on the surface. Remove from the oven.

Chop the artichokes into bite-size pieces; drain them on paper towels. Sprinkle the Fontina over the pizzas; distribute the artichokes over the cheese. Season with salt and pepper; return the pizza to the oven. Bake for about 10 minutes, until the edges are browned. Serve hot.

Basic Pizza Dough

2 teaspoons active dry yeast

3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons lukewarm water (110° F)

2 cups unbleached bread flour

2 tablespoons olive oil

1/2 teaspoon salt

In a bowl, combine the yeast, 1/4 cup lukewarm water and 1/4 cup flour in a small bowl. Let it stand for 30 minutes. Add the remaining 1-3/4 cup flour, 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons lukewarm water, olive oil and salt. Mix the dough thoroughly. Turn out onto a floured surface and knead until smooth, elastic and a bit tacky to the touch, 7 to 8 minutes. Place in an oiled bowl and turn to cover with oil. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place (75° F) until double in volume, 1 to 1-1/2 hours.

Alternately, you can let this dough rise in the refrigerator overnight. The next day, bring the dough to room temperature and proceed.