Ah Friday night - pink mountains, martini, no fuss dinner. Did I just say "no fuss dinner"? In your dreams people, because this one has a ton of prep but oh my goodness, it is some KGB (kinda' good boy).
If you like the flavor of clams casino, just imagine all of that good stuff like crispy bacon, sauteed onions and garlic, gorgeous Oregon coast gaper clams chopped and cooked in white wine all on a bed of nutmeg flavored bechamel, displayed on a crisp crust garnished with sun dried tomatoes, roasted peppers and a mixture of mozzarella, provolone, parmesan and fontina cheeses. A touch of fresh basil and parsley, a sprinkle of red pepper flakes and I mean honestly, this might just be the best thing we've had since our duck pizza from a few months ago.
We can thank that sexy studfmuffin Tyler Florence for the inspiration and I say inspiration only because I butchered his version to suit our preferences, but here's the link to his recipe anyway in case you'd rather make it HIS way than MY way and oh, by the way, it kind of blows the theory of "no cheese with seafood" right outa' the water. Wonder what other kitchen rules I can break before I hang up my apron.
Clams Casino Pizza (inspired by Tyler Florence at foodnetwork.com)
Pour yourself a glass of wine and relax, because this pizza takes a fair bit of kitchen time to prep, but it is worth every second.
1 cup warm water
1 package active dry yeast
2-1/2 cups bread flour (or all purpose)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
In bowl of food processor with metal blade, combine 1-1/2 cups flour with warm water and yeast. Blitz to mix well. Add 1 more cup of flour, olive oil and salt. Blitz until dough forms into one ball and rides on top of the metal blade – about 20 seconds. If dough is very sticky add more flour and mix again, however the dough should be very soft. Remove dough to a lightly oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk (about 1 hour). After dough has risen, remove to a floured board and cut in half. Form into 2 balls and cover with bowl. Allow to rest for 20 minutes before shaping. Makes 2 – 12 inch pizzas.
3 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
1-1/2 cups milk or fat free half and half
Salt and pepper to taste
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
In small saucepan melt butter over medium heat. Stir in flour and whisk to combine well. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes, stirring constantly. Whisk in milk and cook until thickened (another 5 minutes). Add salt, pepper and nutmeg. Set aside.
To assemble pizza:
1/2 pound bacon, cut into strips
1 small onion, thinly sliced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon butter
2 cups chopped raw clams
1/4 cup white wine
1/2 teaspoon old bay seasoning
1/2 teaspoon oregano
Salt and pepper to taste
3/4 cup chopped roasted red peppers
1/2 cup slivered sun dried tomatoes
2 cups grated Italian 4 cheese blend (mozzarella, provolone, parmesan and fontina)
Fresh parsley and basil for garnish, and red pepper flakes if you wish
In a large sauté pan, cook bacon over medium heat until done and just starting to crisp up. Move to a bowl and set aside. Add onion and garlic to pan and cook, stirring often, until onion is softened. Remove to a bowl and set aside. Add butter to pan and when melted add clams, wine, old bay seasoning, oregano, salt and pepper (be careful with the amount of salt you use because the clams are naturally salty). Cook for 2 minutes until clams are just opaque. Drain in a colander and set aside.
Preheat oven to 500 with pizza stone on lower rack. Roll dough into 2 – 12 inch discs. Split sauce between the two pizzas, and then add cheese, sautéed onions/garlic, clams, sun dried tomatoes, roasted red peppers. Top with a sprinkle of more cheese to protect sun dried tomatoes from burning. Bake for 12 minutes. Garnish with fresh parsley and basil. Makes 2 – 12 inch pizzas. Download Clams Casino Pizza