Chicken and Pancetta PizzaSep 15, 2020Posted by guestchefPrint
It’s easy to overthink – and over top – a wood fired pizza. Too much cheese, too many flavors, too much weight can all bog down the dough and reduce the crust’s oven spring, making it greasy or flat (or difficult to slide off the peel, resulting in a pizza disaster. Yikes!)
This yummy pizza combination was contributed by guest chef and Forno Bravo oven owner, Gerry Speirs at Foodness Gracious, and is none of those things. It hits just the right notes of “Enough, but not too much!” It’s full of flavor, but light enough to really taste the crust too; easy to assemble, but with upscale ingredients that go beyond the basics. We think you will love it as much as we do. Enjoy!
Pancetta is the Italian cousin of bacon. Both are made from pork belly, but pancetta is cured, while bacon is traditionally smoked. Another close cousin in this family is prosciutto which is made from the leaner pork leg cut, then dry-cured for a much longer period (years!) Bacon is the saltiest/smokiest of the three, with pancetta having a quieter, deeper, pure pork flavor. All of them can be used with this recipe, but each will result in a slightly different flavor and texture.
Fontina is a semi-hard, white cheese characterized by a waxed rind and sweet-savory flavor. It is primarily made in the Aosta Valley in the foothills of the Alps (Danish and Swiss versions are available as well.) This incredibly rich and creamy cheese has sweet and pungent flavors, followed by tones of butter and roasted nuts as it lingers on your palate. Fontina is typically brined for two months, then aged for 3 more months in caves and caverns around the valley before it is sold.
Though common enough in stores that sell specialty or Italian cheeses, if Fontina is not available in your area, Provolone or Gruyère are other cheese options with similar flavors and melting characteristics that may be easier to find.