This simple pizza features dollops of fresh buffalo-milk mozzarella and a layer of prosciutto laid on a pizza that is baked with just sauce and a drizzle of olive oil. The cheese goes on the pizza for the final 30 seconds of baking to soften it up. The hot crust and sauce should lightly melt the fresh cheese from underneath; the prosciutto layered over the cheese insulates it. In a perfect world, I would be able to bake the dough naked, without even the sauce, but what happens then is the dough bubbles up dramatically and gets overbaked in some spots. The sauce bakes into the dough and prevents this massive bubble effect, so you might say the sauce is used here more for structural impact than for flavor.
Simple is awesome when the crust is great and the toppings are of good quality. If you drape the prosciutto in folds across the pizza instead of layering it flat, you get a beautiful, dramatic visual effect. Serve this with a glass of Prosecco and a salad for a sweet weekend lunch. This pizza works fine with either a Neapolitan or a Roman-style pizza crust.
- If you use a dough recipe that calls for refrigeration, remove your dough ball from the refrigerator about 60 to 90 minutes before baking pizza. Put your pizza steel or stone on an upper rack in your oven no more than 8 inches below the broiler. Preheat the oven to 550°F (290°C) for 45 minutes.
- Set up your pizza assembly station. Give yourself about 2 feet of width on the countertop. Moderately flour the work surface. Position your wooden peel next to the floured area and dust it lightly with flour. Have the sauce, cheese, oil, and prosciutto on hand, plus a ladle or large spoon. Switch the oven to broil 10 minutes before loading the pizza.
- To shape the pizza, put the dough ball on the floured work surface and flip to coat both sides moderately with flour. Use one of the two shaping methods—Neapolitan or Roman. Transfer the disk of pizza dough to the peel. Run your hands around the perimeter to relax it and work out the kinks.
- Spread the tomato sauce over the dough to within 1/2 inch of the edge, smoothing it with the back of the spoon or ladle in a circular motion. Turn off the broiler, then gently slide the pizza onto the pizza steel or stone. Close the oven door and change the oven setting to bake at 550°F (290°C). Bake for 4 minutes, until the rim is golden.
- Change the oven setting from bake to broil and let the pizza bake until the body of the crust is pocked with lightly blackened bubbles, about 1 minute, but keep your eyes on it. Use tongs or a fork to slide the pizza from the pizza steel or stone onto a large plate. Distribute the cheese chunks evenly over the pizza, then return it to the oven for a final 30 seconds under the broiler (or a little longer if your broiler takes a while to heat up), to soften the cheese instead of melting it. Slide the pizza back onto the plate. Drizzle the top with olive oil and drape slices of prosciutto over the cheese, then drizzle with a little more olive oil to taste. Serve whole or sliced.