food. family. life.

pizza di quattro stagioni: {pizza of the four seasons}

1280px-Cattedrale_di_Sora

Cattedrale di Sora

The first time I tasted pizza in Italia was in the small town of Sora where my parents were born and raised.

My father’s brother took us down to the center of town one late night to order “qualcosa speciale” (something special.)

We ordered a traditional and classic “pizza ala Margherita” and one called “pizza di quattro stagioni”.

Both pizzas were equally delicious but I was drawn to the pizza quattro stagioni as it was a totally new flavor experience for me.

“Stagioni” is the Italian word for “seasons” and this pizza is a representation of the four seasons (quattro stagioni) divided in four quadrants where they then use ingredients to represent each season’s best flavors.

I loved this first pizza in Italia and the texture and flavors remain with me still.

I have since learned to prepare and make the best of Italia’s different pizza combinations, but this pizza dish will always and forever remain a favorite in my personal food file.cucinadimammina_pizza quattro stagioni_05

{pizza di quattro stagioni}

INGREDIENTS

homemade pizza dough

fresh buffalo mozzarella

fresh basil leaves

summer tomato sauce

sea salt and pepper

olive oil

white wine

grated parmigiano-reggiano cheese

1 can of whole black olives, drained and sliced in half lengthwise

1 box of frozen good quality artichoke hearts

1 container of fresh or canned mushrooms, washed and sliced

3 to 4 slices of high-quality smoked ham or black forest ham, sliced thinly

In a medium saucepan or skillet, drizzle a good dose of olive oil and add in a clove of garlic peeled and cut in half. Saute until aromatic and oil is sizzling lightly. Add in the sliced fresh or canned mushrooms and stir to coat well.

Season with sea salt and pepper and a splash of white wine. Let these sauté for about three to five minutes on medium heat or so until tender and flavorful (fresh mushrooms will release liquid, continue to sauté them until all the liquid has been absorbed.)

Remove the mushrooms from the saucepan and set aside to cool. In the same skillet, add a drizzle of olive oil, a peeled and cut garlic clove and about a tablespoon or so of chopped sweet onion.

Saute the onion and garlic until soft, remove the garlic and add in the frozen, rinsed and drained artichoke hearts. Stir well and season with sea salt, pepper and a good dose of white wine and on medium heat, sauté until all the artichokes are fork tender.

Once they are cooked, remove from the heat and set aside. Using a large round pizza pan, coat the tray with lard or vegetable shortening until well covered.

Take the pizza dough and begin to work the dough into a round shape, kneading and pulling the dough evenly on the round tray to reach all the edges and the preferred thickness is achieved.cucinadimammina_pizza quattro stagioni_07

Take the summer tomato sauce and cover the surface of the pizza with the sauce leaving a rim around to form the crust.

Next, season the pizza with a bit of sea salt and pepper and a light drizzle of olive oil.

Beginning with the black olives, place them evenly across the first quadrant of the round pizza, next place the sautéed mushrooms on the next section, the sautéed artichoke hearts on the third section and the smoked ham pieces on the last section.

Add a good amount of grated cheese over all the sections of the pizza and another light drizzle of olive oil and set aside.

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In a preheated oven set to 475 degrees fahrenheit (check your oven temps as the pizza cooks as each oven varies), place the pizza in the middle of the oven and bake until the crust turns to a golden dark brown and the toppings begin to sizzle.

Remove the pizza from the oven, add slices of the fresh buffalo mozzarella over all the sections evenly spaced and add some fresh basil leaves evenly over the top.

Place in the oven for a few more minutes until the mozzarella begins to soften and remove immediately and set aside to cool a bit before serving. Serve with your favorite red wine and enjoy!

Note: Photography by Annette Venditti

Buon Appetito!

 

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