Why not make your own pizza for the big party?
A homemade pizza dressed up with Italian ham and Parmesan cheese is easily and quickly put together -- but even if it's just as quickly eaten up, those who sample it will have time to register its good taste, and won't soon forget it.
The preparation of this stylish Parma Ham and Cheese Pizza takes about 25 minutes, cooking another 20. The ingredients for the filling should be the best you can find, including the traditional ham and cheese from Parma, Italy, that are known by their place of origin -- prosciutto di Parma and Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese.
PARMA HAM AND CHEESE PIZZA
Olive oil, as needed
21/4 cups flour
13/4 teaspoons salt
11/4 teaspoons quick-rise yeast
1/3 cup purchased or homemade pesto (see note)
6 ripe plum tomatoes, sliced 1/4-inch thick
2 ounces thinly sliced prosciutto, cut in strips
3/4 cup Parmesan cheese in thin shavings or coarsely grated (see note)
Freshly ground black pepper (optional)
Adjust oven rack to lowest position. Preheat oven to 500 degrees. Lightly coat a 12-inch pizza pan with olive oil.
To make dough: In a food processor container, combine 1 cup of the flour, the salt, yeast, 1 tablespoon olive oil and 3/4 cup very warm water (120-130 degrees). Pulse three times to blend. Add the remaining 11/4 cups flour; process until mixture forms a ball; process until fully kneaded, about 45 seconds longer. Place dough in a bowl coated with olive oil; turn to grease top; cover and let rest for 15 minutes.
On the pizza pan, pat and gently stretch dough into a 12-inch round. Spread 2 tablespoons of the pesto over the dough, leaving a 1/2-inch border. Arrange tomato slices on top. Bake until crust is golden brown, about 18 minutes. Top with prosciutto strips and Parmesan shavings. Drizzle with remaining pesto. If desired, sprinkle pizza with black pepper.
Makes one 12-inch pizza, 6 servings.
Note: To make pesto, in a blender container combine 1 cup loosely packed basil leaves, 5 tablespoons olive oil, 3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese and 1/2 teaspoon chopped garlic; blend until smooth. To make Parmesan shavings, pull a vegetable peeler across the surface of a wedge of the cheese.
Nutrition information per serving (1/6 of pie): 290 cal., 13 g pro., 26 g carbo., 15 g fat.