FUGAZZA CON QUESO WITH FENNEL AND RED ONION
Make a nod to National Pi Day on March 14th with this rustic Argentinian-style cheese-and-onion, pizza-style pie known as “fugazza.” Fugazza traditionally has no tomato sauce, but heaps of onions; this one is enhanced with fennel and fresh herbs. The preferment method for the dough helps achieve an airy, yet crispy and chewy crust.
Yields 1 (12-inch by 16-inch) fugazza
For the dough:
3 to 3 1/2 cups organic bread flour
2 1/4 teaspoons (1 packet) dry yeast (not instant)
2 teaspoons honey
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 tablespoon olive oil
Semolina, for dusting
For the topping:
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
2 teaspoons chopped fresh oregano
2 cups ricotta
2 cups shredded Oaxacan or mozzarella cheese
1 red onion, thinly sliced
1 medium fennel bulb, thinly sliced
1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
2 teaspoons chopped fennel fronds
Extra-virgin olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper
Sun-dried tomatoes in olive oil, for garnish
Semolina flour (or fine cornmeal) for dusting
Parchment paper, for baking
Prepare the dough: 12 to 24 hours before baking, combine 1/2 cup lukewarm water, 1 cup of the flour, 1/4 teaspoon of the yeast, and 1 teaspoon of the honey in a stand mixer, and stir with a fork until well blended. Cover with plastic wrap and let the dough rest for at least 12 hours, or overnight; it will double in size, and become bubbly.
Prepare the fugazza crust: When you are ready to prepare the fugazza, dissolve the remaining 2 teaspoons yeast and 1 teaspoon honey in 1/2 cup lukewarm water, and let stand for 10 minutes, until bubbly. Add the oil, then stir the mixture into the preferment (now called a “poolish,”) in the stand mixer.
Sift the remaining flour and the salt together in a bowl. Fit the stand mixer with a dough hook, and with the mixer on medium-low speed, gradually sift the flour mixture into the poolish until a soft dough forms and pulls away cleanly from the sides of the bowl. Coat your hands lightly with oil, form the dough into a smooth ball, and return it to the bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place for 1 hour, until doubled in bulk.
Preheat the oven to 500° F. Cut a piece of parchment paper to fit the bottom of a 12” x 17” baking sheet, then remove the parchment from the baking sheet and lightly dust it with semolina. Gently fold the dough in toward the center of the bowl and transfer to the parchment sheet. Working from the center outward, gently stretch the dough into a 12- to 16-inch diameter. Roll about one inch of the edges of the dough toward the inside, pleating and gently pinching as you go, to form the edges of the crust. Turn your baking sheet upside down, and gently pull the parchment up and onto the bottom of the baking sheet. Using scissors, trim off excess parchment so that it does not burn in the oven.
Prepare the topping: Blend 1 tablespoon of the basil and 1 teaspoon of the oregano into the ricotta and spread it over the dough to the inside edges of the rolled dough. Sprinkle the shredded Oaxacan cheese over the ricotta, then the fennel and red onion, separated into thin rings. Top with the Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, the remaining basil and oregano, and the fennel fronds, and drizzle with olive oil.
Brush the outer edge of the pizza with oil and sprinkle with salt; lightly salt and pepper the entire pizza. Bake for 12 to 14 minutes, or until the cheese is bubbly and the crust is golden-brown.
Serve hot, with sun-dried tomatoes in olive oil to drizzle on top.
Find this and more than 175 other organic wild game, seafood, foraged foods, and garden fare recipes in The Field to Table Cookbook by Susan L. Ebert (Welcome Books, 2016), available in the COWGIRL Magazine store at store.cowgirlmagazine.com.