Fennel, Apple, Onion and Pancetta Pizza
Fennel seems to be constantly on my mind when I'm in the market lately, so I almost always seem to have a bulb or two waiting for me to use one way or another. And for me one of the best pairings for fennel is pork, in any format, so when I was thinking of pizza recently this fennel/pancetta combo easily came to mind.
Onions and apples are also great pals with pork so it wasn't a long jump to this happy grouping: fennel, onion, apple, pancetta. Add in my current favorite cheese combination -- Parmigiano Reggiano, Manchego and fresh mozzarella -- top with a few toasted pine nuts, dried grape tomatoes and some scallion threads and you have a very simple but interesting pizza.
Fennel Pancetta Pizza
dough for 1 pizza shell (see recipe HERE)
1/2 small fennel bulb
1 smallish onion
1/2 Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored and sliced
2 1/4" slices pancetta, diced
3 T pine nuts
2 0z Parmigiano Reggiano, shredded
2 0z Manchego, shredded
2 oz fresh mozzarella, shredded
3 T minced flat leaf parsley
3 scallions, cut in threads
12 grape tomatoes
3 large cloves garlic
3 T fresh rosemary, chopped
Halve the grape tomatoes, toss them in a little olive oil and dry them for about 25 minutes in a 325º oven. Set aside. Remove the outer layer of the fennel bulb and discard. Cut the bulb in half lengthwise and reserve one half for another purpose. Cut off the root end of the remaining fennel half and slice the bulb crosswise into 1/4" slices. Peel and slice the onion in thick slices. Chop the garlic. Sauté the pancetta until just crisp and drain on paper towels. Toast the pine nuts in a dry skillet over high heat, stirring, until they start to darken; then scoop them onto a paper towel lined plate.
When the pizza dough has completed the second rise spread 3 tablespoons olive oil over the shell and then the fennel, apple and onion slices. Scatter on the rosemary and garlic and bake on a preheated pizza stone 8 - 10 minutes at 450º.
Spread on the cheeses, then scatter on the pancetta and grape tomatoes. Bake 8 - 10 minutes more at 400º, until the crust is golden brown. Scatter on the parsley, pine nuts and scallions, cut in slices and serve immediately.
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