Take One: Lemon Arugula Pizza

The Best Pizza I’ve Ever Eaten

A couple years ago, my sisters and I were walking around San Francisco looking for some restaurant that was featured on the Food Network as one of those “Best Places I’ve Ever Eaten” restaurants. During our search, we passed by a small restaurant called “Ragazza” where we received the most wonderful smells in the world wafting out onto the dark sidewalk. Unfortunately this was not our Food Network “Best Place I’ve Ever Eaten” restaurant, so we (reluctantly) moved on thinking, “Wow! If that wasn’t the restaurant, we must really be in for a treat when we find the one we’re looking for!”

We kept walking another 10 minutes or so until we found the restaurant. The smells were immediately underwhelming – but we decided we’d at least walk in and investigate a little further. We walked into this lovely looking restaurant, but smelled… nothing. After taking a quick glance at the menu, we checked each other’s faces and decided it was a unanimous vote.

We were going back to Ragazza.

The Food Network was obviously mistaken. They apparently had never walked past Ragazza at twilight. It promised magical things – we knew it.

After waiting an hour and a half for a table (we weren’t going to let a little waiting list get us down) we sat down to what was quite possibly the best meal we’ve ever shared. Here we are at the actual restaurant, looking cute.

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We had two pizzas –

  1. Some kind of lemon squash blossom pizza
  2. Moto – which was absolutely perfect, so perfect that I don’t think I could replicate it for you. I did, however, include a yummy looking photo of it below. BEEEEEST PIZZA WE EVER ATE.
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As I cannot replicate the beauty of the pizza above, I will try for some slight version of the first pizza (which seems quite a bit more manageable). I can already tell you right now – my pizza did not resemble either one of these – which just goes to show, you should really consult the photo BEFORE you start trying to put it together in the kitchen.

Take One: Arugula Lemon Pizza

First things first, we needed some crust. I have no delusions that I’m going to be able to make a crust like Ragazza because I have no brick oven. :(

Despite the inadequacies of my apartment (most these days come with a brick pizza oven already built in, I mean come on!), I set about making a nice whole wheat fluffy pizza crust.

Here’s some action shots:

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Prepare to get a little bit messy…

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Eventually, it’ll start to form a ball like this. Once you’ve got it this far, just keep kneading it until it gets tight and springs back when you poke it. Set it aside in a greased bowl and let it rest for two hours or so.

You might as well do something fun while you’re waiting for the dough to rise. I happened to be having dinner with my sister and mom. We got the onions and mushrooms ready and then had some extra time. Seeing as how I have no TV to sit and zone out on for an hour, we decided to go hit some golf balls at the driving range instead.

I wish I would have taken my camera – I would have shot a few videos of how ridiculous we look when we try to golf. Alas, you will have to picture it in your mind.

Pizza Crust Recipe

  • 2 1/4 tsp of active dry yeast
  • 1/2 tsp brown sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cups warm water
  • 2 cups wheat flour
  • 1 1/3 cup white flour
  • Cornmeal
  1. In a large bowl, dissolve the yeast and brown sugar in the water and let sit for 10 minutes.
  2. Stir the salt and oil into the yeast solution. Mix in 2 cups of flour.
  3. Turn the dough out onto a clean, well floured surface, and knead in the white flour until the dough is no longer sticky. Place the dough into a well oiled bowl and cover with a cloth. Let the dough rise until double – or about 1-2 hours.. Punch down the dough and let it relax before sprinkling cornmeal generously on pizza stone and spreading out the dough for pizza toppings.
  4. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. If using a pizza stone you can place your toppings on the dough and bake immediately. If you’re baking it on a pan, lightly oil the pan and let the dough rise for 15-20 minutes before topping and baking it.
  5. Bake pizza in preheated oven until cheese and crust are both golden brown, about 15-20 minutes.

Here’s the order of toppings

  1. A thin layer of Ranch Dressing
  2. Sliced tomatoes
  3. Pizza Blend Cheese
  4. Lemon Zest
  5. Arugula
  6. Carmelized onions
  7. Shitake Mushrooms, lightly sauteed
  8. More Pizza Blend Cheese
  9. Feta Cheese
  10. Italian herbs, garlic powder, salt, and pepper

Into the oven for 20 minutes

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While it’s still hot, top with more arugula, feta cheese, and lemon zest. Cut and enjoy.

Eat the pizza…

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Oh man. It wasn’t the same as Ragazza…. but it was yummy.

Sidenote: I have no squash blossoms right now, that’s why I decided to use the arugula. If you had squash blossoms, I’m sure they would be lovely. 

One thought on “Take One: Lemon Arugula Pizza

  1. Yum, this looks delicious! (both yours & the Ragazza ones!) This past year I’ve been loving making my own pizza from scratch. I thought it would be super-intimidating but it turned out to be super-easy to make pizza dough and actually even freeze it and pop it out for extra-special homemade pizza nights!!

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