On a trip to San Francisco a couple of years back, we had dinner at Wolfgang Puck’s restaurant, Postrio, located in the Prescott Hotel in Union Square. We sat at the bar and ordered two of Puck’s wood-fired pizzas – the Smoked Salmon with dill and crème frâiche and the Prosciutto & Figs with balsamic, mascarpone cheese, and truffle oil. The Smoked Salmon quickly became his signature pizza when he opened the original Spago’s in 1982. It was a huge hit with the Hollywood crowd who couldn’t get enough of the smoked salmon topped with caviar. Although Postrio’s version omitted the pricey roe, it was still a great pizza. However, what stole the show was the other pizza we ordered, the Prosciutto and Figs. This is still one of the best pizzas I’ve ever had. I mean, who wouldn’t love this?! Just imagine it – chewy pizza dough with a base of mascarpone cheese covered with a generous amount of prosciutto and arugula drizzled with a balsamic glaze and truffle oil. Right after inhaling that pizza, while still sitting there at the bar, I wrote all the ingredients so we could try replicate it as best we can when we got home.
What we came up with comes really close to Postrio’s version. I didn’t have any figs so I omitted them and also substituted spinach for the arugula. I love that there is no sauce in this pizza; the flavorful combination of the creamy mascarpone and syrupy balsamic glaze makes you forget about it. The balsamic glaze really accentuates this pizza. Its sweetness is a perfect match to the saltiness of the prosciutto. To take it over the top, the drizzle of truffle oil imparts the earthy flavor and aroma of truffles.
Prosciutto, Mascarpone, and Spinach Pizza with Balsamic Glaze
Yields two 8-inch pizzas
1 cup balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 tablespoon butter
1 pound pizza dough, homemade or ready-made
6 ounces mascarpone cheese
6 ounces prosciutto
2 handfuls spinach leaves
drizzle of truffle oil
In a sauce pan, combine the balsamic vinegar and sugar and cook on medium high heat, stirring frequently to dissolve sugar. Continue to heat and stir occasionally and reduce by 1/3. Turn off heat and add butter and stir until melted. Set aside.
Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
Roll out half of the dough on a floured surface until thin, and about 8-inches around. Put dough on a pizza stone or sheet pan. Spread half the mascarpone evenly on the dough. Layer with half of the prosciutto. Bake for 8 minutes. Remove from oven and add a handful of spinach leaves. Return to oven for another 1-2 minutes until mascarpone is bubbly and the dough is golden brown.
Remove from oven and drizzle with half of the balsamic glaze and a few drops of truffle oil.
P.S. I actually had the good fortune to work for Wolfgang Puck’s catering operations as part of my externship while in culinary school back in 1999-2000. I found Wolf, as all his staff called him, to be very friendly and appreciative of the assistance all of us chefs-in-training were providing. He chatted with us without any airs or arrogance. The same goes for his pastry chef protegée, Sherry Yard. It was a great pleasure to work with such talented and professional chefs. I worked many star-studded events for Wolfgang Puck Catering like the premiere of the musical, Lion King, a Hollywood fundraiser for then-President Bill Clinton, and the 70th Academy Awards, which is probably my most favorite cooking experience EVER!!!!!
© Daisy’s World, 2011. All rights reserved. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Daisy’s World with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.