We’re having a pizza party and you’re all invited!! Last month around this time, Molly, Brandon, Rebecca, and I were all out in Tuscany with DaVinci Wine for their Storyteller Experience, learning to make pizza with legit Italian pizza makers!! Somehow, it got turned into a contest and let’s just say, I did not win. LOL. Ok, I’ll tell the rest. Molly won with her roasted grape, prosciutto, rosemary, and mozzarella beauty of a pie. Brandon probably came in second, he got really Top Chef with his and pushed the boundaries of the ingredients we had on hand, rolling up his square (!!!) pizza into a log at the very end. If I had to guess, I’d say Rebecca was a fan favorite for third with her caper-anchovy offering, and welp, womp, womp, womp, I probably lost the whole thing (I went super traditional, think crispy pancetta, red sauce, mozzarella, capers, chili flakes, etc.)!! BUT!! Don’t misunderstand me for a second, we were all winners, and no, I’m not advocating that everyone gets a trophy, those are for the winner’s circle only. Great, now you’re all like, “ok, Alana, way to get all cheesy (lol, I went there) on us right now,” but here’s the thing, WE WERE!! I mean, hello, making pizza al fresco in Tuscany with a glass of wine in hand, learning how to properly knead or in my case, maybe learn what not to do is pretty epic by any definition, aka, winners all around. And it was so much fun that we decided to get together again (well, as close as the internet will bring us) to make more pizzas!!
So here’s what I learned from my Tuscany pizza making experience that I’ll happily share with all of you, in hopes that you might win your next “friendly” pizza making competition. You can under-knead your pizza dough, if you’re making your dough in the kneading style. I did. And guess what, my pizza crust was not the fluffy, pillowy cloud that Molly’s was (LOL!). Solution to this problem!? Buy some really good dough from your favorite pizza joint, a tip I learned from Brandiego (and, yes, that’s what I called Brandon all trip, so from here on out, he’s Brandiego). Who knew that all you had to do was ask and they’d sell you some of their amazingly, perfectly, handcrafted, and did I mentioned perfected, dough!? So you can absolutely go that route too!! ORRRR you can go the no-knead route, thank you dough master Molly for that pro tip, and make Jim Lahey’s no-knead dough. I opted to try my hand at Lahey’s dough for this round but, please go the route you feel most comfortable with, the pizza stone, or cast iron pan, is your…oyster? Yeah, that didn’t really translate the way I wanted it too…
Anyway, if you’re gonna throw down for a pizza party, I think you need to do it up in a way that’s near and dear to your heart. So I went the route of reinventing the “Hawaiian” pizza. Now let’s be clear, I’m not sure that any pizza can truly be called a “Hawaiian” pizza but this is a version I’d be ok with. It starts with a generous spooning of papaya, mango, sweet Maui onion relish (treat this like your red or white sauce, smothering anything isn’t friendly, so don’t do it if you can help it), and then builds with a light sprinkling of shredded mozzarella (another tip I learned in Tuscany, those wet, fresh mozzarellas make your pizza wet, which isn’t always optimal). Next you sprinkle on shredded shoyu chicken!! Yes, shoyu chicken isn’t Hawaiian per say but it’s a staple in Hawaii and is definitely more Hawaiian than, idk, Canadian ham!? :D After that, go to town with some thinly sliced (raw) sweet Maui onions and bake that beautiful pizza! When it comes out, finish it with some sliced green onions and eat immediately (another pro tip from Tuscany). Of course, pair it with a glass of wine from DaVinci, in my case I went Brunello di Montalcino, as it was my absolute favorite wine from the trip because it’s a full-bodied, well-balanced red with a cherry nose and delicious jammy notes, but you can definitely go with a lighter, more everyday red like a Chianti or a crisp, refreshing white like Pinot Grigio. The point is, make pizza, drink wine, maybe win your pizza contest, but above all else, enjoy every minute of the experience and do it with your friends or family. To my fellow DaVinci Storytellers, I’m toasting you from LA, and no, this round was not a contest but if it was, can we just agree we all won this round?
The New "Hawaiian" Pizza
Shoyu Chicken, Sweet Maui Onion, and Green Onion with Papaya-Mango-Sweet Maui Onion Relish and Mozzarella
Makes 4 10” – 12” pizzas
- 4 balls of pizza dough (I halved this recipe)
- 1 ½ c. papaya-mango-sweet Maui onion relish
- 2 lbs. cooked shoyu chicken shredded
- 16 oz. (4 c.) shredded mozzarella cheese
- 3 oz. (1/2 small/medium) sweet Maui onion (use a regular sweet onion if you can’t find Maui), thinly sliced
- Sliced green onions, for garnish
- All-purpose flour, for dusting
- Semolina flour, for dusting
PAPAYA-MANGO-SWEET MAUI ONION RELISH
- 2 Tbsp. olive oil
- 6 oz. (1 small/medium) sweet Maui onion, diced into ¼” cubes
- 6 oz. (~1 c.) fresh or defrosted frozen mango, diced into ½” cubes
- 6 oz. (~1 c.) fresh papaya, diced into ½” cubes
- 45g (3 Tbsp.) dark brown sugar
- 60 ml (¼ c.) apple cider vinegar
- 1 Tbsp. pineapple juice
- 2 Tbsp. rice vinegar
- 1 Tbsp. white wine vinegar
- ¼ tsp. chili flakes
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Pizza Stone or cast iron pan
- Pizza peel
- Small saucepan
- Wooden spoon
- Measuring cups and spoons
- Clean kitchen towel
- Preheat oven to 500-550 °F (as hot as your oven will go) and arrange a rack in upper third of oven and place stone or cast iron pan on rack.
- Generously sprinkle 1 dough ball with flour and flour the work surface under it. Cover remaining balls with a clean kitchen towel and set aside. Gently shape first dough ball into a 10"–12" disk by gently pressing on dough with knuckles, being careful not to deflate air bubbles, and stretch with floured hands. You can also use a rolling pin or stretch over floured knuckles by rotating dough ball over knuckles, pulling gently while rotating.
- When ready to bake, increase oven heat to broil. Lightly dust a pizza peel or cast iron pan with semolina flour. Place dough disk on floured pizza peel and spoon on 1/4 cup or so of relish. Sprinkle 1 cup or so of shredded mozzarella evenly, followed by ½ a pound of shredded chicken, and a handful of sliced onions.
- Gently slide pizza from peel onto hot pizza stone using short and quick but gentle back-and-forth movements. Broil, rotating pizza halfway through, baking until bottom of crust is crisp and top has bubbles or blisters, around 5–7 minutes, or as instructed by recipe or pizza shop you’re using.
- Promptly remove from oven with pizza peel and transfer to a work surface to slice. Garnish with green onions.
- Repeat, reheating stone or pan under broiler for 5 -7 minutes, between pizzas.
- Serve, preferable with a glass of wine, and enjoy!
- Sauté onions in saucepan with olive oil over medium-low heat for around 10 minutes or until translucent and caramelized. Stir with wooden spoon every couple of minutes, to avoid burning any pieces.
- Add mango, papaya, and brown sugar and stir until the sugar has dissolved.
- Add remaining ingredients and simmer on medium-low until all the liquid has evaporated, around 15 minutes.
- Let cool to room temperature before using. If making ahead of time, cover and store in fridge.
Thanks so much to DaVinci Wine for sending us to Tuscany. As a 2015 DaVinci Storyteller, this post was written in partnership with DaVinci Wine. DaVinci Wine has provided me with this experience. All thoughts, opinions, and recipes are my own.