Tuesday 11 June 2019

Pizza with fava beans pesto, guanciale bacon, buffalo mozzarella and Pecorino cheese

15 minutes to prepare  Serves 4

<3 is shaped like pizza for a reason.

Few weeks ago, I was out with friends and tried a new pizza place in Milan.
The pizza menu was extensive, but they also had a few seasonal choices. I was intrigued when I saw a white pizza (no tomato sauce) topped with fava beans, so of course I ordered it.
The pizza was topped with a layer of mozzarella, then was spotted with a thick pesto made with fresh fava beans along with some delicious guanciale bacon. The pizza was completely different from any other pizza I had tasted, and although it didn’t hit you over the head with strong flavors, the subtle play of the fava beans was marvellous.
Of course, like any food-obsessed cook, I had to make my own version of this pizza at home.

For my version of fava bean pizza, I made a chunky puree from the fava beans. I used my favorite mozzarella cheese, buffalo mozzarella. I am addicted to this cheese as it is full of flavor, even if you use small quantity. If you cannot find buffalo mozzarella locally, regular mozzarella will do just fine.
When I replicated this pizza I was, unfortunately, a little late to enjoy seasonal spring vegetables. So, I had to use frozen ones.

I used a mix of mozzarella and Pecorino romano cheese. Pecorino is my all time favorite cheese, I thus use it whenever I can. It has a strong, umami aroma that I find addictive.
I tried this pizza both with and without the addition of chopped guanciale bacon on top. Quite honestly, I like it both ways, so use bacon (or not) depending on your own preference.

Here are ingredients for a 4-serving recipe (4 pizzas):

1 kg pizza dough divided into 4 balls (you may find here my pizza dough recipe and here my recipe for sourdough pizza)
400 g bites of fresh buffalo mozzarella cheese
200 g frozen fava beans
200 g grated Pecorino cheese
EVO oil
salt and pepper

  1. When you are ready to bake the pizzas, take the dough out of the fridge, leaving at least 1 hour and half for it to warm up and get pliable
  2. Meanwhile, pour 500 ml of water in a large pot and bring to boil. As soon as the water boils, add salt and the frozen beans. Let them cook for about 5 minutes
  3. Remove the beans from the heat and drop them into an ice-water bath for an immediate cool down. Drain the cooled beans and remove the tough outer skins with a knife
  4. In a blender pour 3 tablespoons of EVO oil, add the beans, a pinch of salt, freshly ground pepper and blend for few seconds until coarsely pureed
  5. Cut the guanciale bacon into stripes of equal size
  6. Cut buffalo mozzarella into pieces and place it in a colander to drain
  7. Preheat oven to 270°C (or, better, as far as oven temperatures go)
  8. Generously dust the counter with semolina flour. Make the pizzas one at a time. Dip your hands in flour and lift a ball of dough. Very gently lay the dough across your fists and carefully stretch it by bouncing the dough in a circular motion on your hands, carefully giving it a little stretch with each bounce. Once the dough has expanded outward, move to a full toss. When the dough is stretched out to your satisfaction (about 25 cm in diameter), lay it on the baking tray covered by baking paper
  9. Spread some fava beans' puree over each pizza and distribute guanciale bacon on top. Pour some EVO oil, too
  10. Bake the pizza for about 10 minutes. If the top gets done before the bottom, you will need to move the baking tray to a lower self before the next round
  11. When the crust of the pizza is golden - it means that the pizza is almost ready -, add the pieces of buffalo mozzarella and Pecorino cheese on top. Let mozzarella to melt for a couple of minutes
  12. Remove the pizza from the oven and transfer it to a wooden cutting board. Serve and enjoy!

Nutrition Facts are detailed in the table below. Data is provided per serving.

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