In a blazing-hot oven, a homemade pizza bakes in under ten minutes, but that doesn't always make it a quick meal option. With all the chopping and precooking some toppings require, it often seems easier to pick up the phone and order delivery, especially at the end of a tiring day. Instead, give this weeknight-friendly pizza recipe a try. Topped with a layer of chewy, crisp-edged prosciutto and finished with a couple big handfuls of fresh, peppery arugula, it comes together in a flash, no chopping or precooking necessary.
The combination of fatty, salty prosciutto and spicy arugula is a classic, which is why I've been making this particular pizza for years. I used to tear up the prosciutto and randomly scatter it over the dough before baking, but I've since discovered that paving the surface of the pizza with an even layer of pork is the way to go. Laid out this way, every bite includes some prosciutto, a little chewy and crispy at the edges after baking.
Hot out of the oven, the pizza is scattered with a generous amount of arugula, which softens a little at the edges but doesn't wilt, lending a spicy bite that cuts through the salty porkiness of the prosciutto.
And on busy nights, I appreciate that the only ingredient prep this recipe requires is opening a couple packages — which sounds very Sandra Lee, but this pizza doesn't taste packaged. Even on weekends when I have a little more time and am making several pizzas for a group of friends, a prosciutto and arugula pie will invariably make its way onto the menu. It's quick, it's easy and everyone always always loves it: isn't that the very definition of pizza?
Prosciutto and Arugula Pizza
1 ball pizza dough, store-bought or homemade (see Additional Notes)
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons tomato sauce, store-bought or homemade
3/4 cup grated mozzarella cheese
4 slices prosciutto
A couple handfuls arugula
If you have a pizza stone, place it on a rack in the middle of the oven. Preheat the oven to 550°F (or maximum oven temperature) for at least 30 minutes.
If transferring the pizza to a stone in the oven, assemble on a well-floured peel or cutting board. Otherwise assemble on the surface you will be cooking on (parchment paper, baking sheet, etc.). Roll or stretch the dough into a circle. Brush the edges of the dough with olive oil. Spread the tomato sauce over the rest of the dough. Sprinkle with about half the cheese. Lay the prosciutto slices so they are evenly covering the dough and sprinkle with the remaining cheese.
Bake the pizza until edges are lightly browned and cheese is bubbly and browned in spots, about 6 minutes at 550°F. Remove from oven and scatter arugula over the top.
• My favorite quick dough recipe is Mark Bittman's basic pizza dough recipe, which rises in an hour or two, or in 6-8 hours in the refrigerator. One batch makes two pizzas; the other half of the dough can be refrigerated or frozen for later.
(Images: Anjali Prasertong)