Grill a Pizza for Pi Day
Treasure Valley pizza joints will be celebrating Pi Day on March 14th with sweet deals, but if you truly want to celebrate math and the greatness of pie on 3.14, you could measure out the ingredients and grill a pizza instead.
I've been using this grilled pizza method for a long time, and I'm addicted so I thought I'd share. This pizza love affair started several years ago when I bought a Weber grill and it came with a recipe book full of things to put on the grates besides the usual burgers and things. A pizza recipe was one of them, and it's tweak-able so we can insert our own shortcuts and favorites.
For the dough: Bobby Flay at Food Network has a good recipe and it's not hard. Use 3 and a half to 4 cups of bread flour and combine it with a teaspoon of sugar and an envelope of dry yeast and two teaspoons of kosher salt. While the mixer is running, add 1 and 1/2 cups of 110-degree water and two tablespoons of olive oil and mix until it's a sticky ball. Then add a little more flour until it's not sticky and smooth instead.
Or if you totally want to shortcut the process, buy the dough at the store. Any store-bought dough will work, as long as it's stretchy. Just make sure you get it out of the fridge and let it rest about 30 minutes before you're ready to grill. Or use Naan bread and it's already pizza-sized and just needs to be toasted up on the grill. Choose your level of difficulty and it will be fun no matter what.
Grilling the crust: Let the grill heat up for about 10 minutes to 375-400 degrees, with the burners on medium. Stretch out the pizza crust into an imperfect rectangle because it's better if it looks a little rustic, and press it into a little cornmeal so it won't stick, and put the crust on the grill grates. Close the lid and let it cook for 5-7 minutes, then flip it. Once it's flipped, add the toppings right away and close the lid again. Bake the pizza until the base scoots easily across the grates which could be 5 to 14 minutes.
(If you're using Naan bread or any crust that's already done, you'll just need to put it on the grill to warm it up and get it a little toasty before you add the toppings.)
Sauce: You choose. It could be olive oil and garlic salt, tomato sauce, or no sauce at all.
Toppings: Again, you choose. My daughters love strips of bacon with a few cherry tomatoes and a sprinkling of mozzarella cheese and fresh basil. You could do pepperoni and cheese, sausage, veggie, pesto, and tomato, or anything you want. Just make sure any meat is cooked before you add it to the pizza crust at the grill.
And that leads to an essential tip! Make sure all of the ingredients are chopped or cooked and neatly piled up on a cutting board, and ready to go before you put the crust on the grill. Once the crust is on the grates, the timing has to be just right and you've got to be quick about the assembly process. Prep in the kitchen will reduce stress at the grill.
Once you add the toppings, grill the pizza for another 7 to 10 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and slightly golden and you'll be all set.
Grilled pizza is so good! And on Pi Day it will be even better because you're celebrating math by measuring ingredients and looking at numbers on the thermometer. It works out well.
Pi Day.org says we celebrate every year on March 14th around the world because Pi is the symbol used in mathematics to represent a constant — the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter — which is approximately 3.14159. Since we don't have a March 14159th, March 14th will have to do.
And it gives us a really good excuse to eat a lot of pizza. If the weather is yucky outside, we can fire up the indoor grill pan too, and have 3.14 cold beverages with it. This will be fun.