The mark of a cook. If you’re a regular in the kitchen, you know what I’m talking about – that 1/2-inch or so long burn that you get generally just above the wrist when you’re either adjusting something in the oven or you’re quickly trying to add or remove trays. A chef-friend of mine, wears them like a badge of honor.
The one above my right wrist was just beginning to fade when I got another one on the left while quickly trying to remove this Pizza Carbonara from a 500 degree oven. Having not quite gotten used to my new oven branding, I spent the entire weekend seeing the blistered-burn out of the corner of my eye and thinking it was some large creepy-crawly critter. I even swatted at it once or twice, and let me tell you, that didn’t feel great.
In any event, on to the pizza. As you may have presumed, this dish takes the components of pasta carbonara – crispy pancetta, creamy eggs, and delicious cheese; and puts it on a pizza. It’s like the best of both worlds in one amazing dish! Oh, and did I mention the base? Instead of using a tomato sauce, it’s brushed with roasted garlic puree. Who here think that the smell of garlic roasting in the oven is one of the most wonderful fragrances to come from the kitchen?
The rich and mellowed taste of the roasted garlic pairs just beautifully with the other ingredients and it’s the combination of all of these incredible flavors that make this pizza truly irresistible!
- ½ bulb of garlic
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 8 ounces pizza dough*
- ½ cup shredded mozzarella
- 1 (8 ounce) ball of mozzarella, torn*
- 4 thin slices of pancetta , torn
- 4 eggs
- Parmigiano-Reggiano, shaved
- 3 tablespoons fresh parsley, torn
- To roast the garlic, preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Do not peel them, but slice ¼-inch off the top of the garlic cloves and set on a piece of foil. Drizzle the cloves with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and generously season with salt and pepper. Fold up the sides of the foil to create a tent (make sure there's enough room for air to circulate). Place in the oven and cook for 40 minutes. Check the garlic by piercing with a knife, it should be very soft when done.
- Once the garlic is cool enough to handle, squeeze the pulp out of the papery casings, into a small bowl and mash with a fork until you form a paste. Set aside until ready to use.
- Raise the heat of the oven to 500 degrees F. And move the pizza stone or baking sheet to the middle rack.
- Generously flour your work surface and begin to work the dough into a disk shape. Roll and gently stretch the dough until it's a ¼-inch thick, approximately 10-inches in diameter. Place the rolled dough onto a sheet of parchment paper (you'll use this to transfer the pizza to the oven).
- Spread the roasted garlic paste evenly over the pizza dough. Add the extra tablespoon of olive oil to the bowl that just contained the garlic paste (for extra garlic flavor) and brush the rim of the pizza dough with it. Sprinkle the shredded mozzarella, torn mozzarella, and pancetta over top.
- Crack each egg (one of a time) into a fine-meshed sieve. Gently swirl around until all of the excess white has drained away. Then gently place each strained egg into a separate cup or small bowl. (Straining your eggs removes removes the excess, wispy whites and leaves you with a nice, tight egg that won't run all over the pizza).
- Remove the warmed pizza stone or baking sheet from the oven and place on a heat safe surface, like on top of the stove. Transfer the pizza along with the parchment paper to the pizza stone/baking sheet and place in the oven. If using a stone, cook for 7-8 minutes, until the cheeses are melted and the crust is very lightly browned (it's not going to be cooked all the way at this point). If you're using a baking sheet cook for 8-10 minutes.
- Remove the pizza from the oven and add the eggs. I find it best to take a ½ cup measuring cup or even the bottom of a glass to make 4 impressions in the pizza where you want the eggs to sit. This will help to keep them in place as you transfer and cook. Season the tops of the eggs with salt and pepper and place back in the oven. Cook for 3-5 minutes, until the egg whites are fairly firm and the yolks are barely set. Remember the eggs will continue to a bit once out of the oven.
- Remove the pizza from the oven and add the shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano and parsley. Slice, serve, and enjoy!
* If you're using mozzarella packed in water, tear and pat as much moisture away as possible. Otherwise, you'll have soggy pizza.