Salad is fine and all but salad's nothing compared to pizza. That's why I love arugula and prosciutto pizza. It's salad and pizza in one.
Of all my unique pizza recipes, arugula and proscuitto pizza is one of my favorites when the weather starts warming up.
The arugula is peppery with lots of bright acid from the lemon juice. The prosciutto is salty with crispy edges from the broiler. Those contrasting flavors with the richness of the cheese and the garlic and rosemary from the olive oil pizza sauce on the crust are really just so tasty.
If you're looking for a perfect summer pizza — arugula and prosciutto are really hard to beat.
Why I Like This Pizza // About This Recipe
I first experienced this glorious pizza topping combo at Eataly L.A. where, if memory serves, the pizza also came topped with fresh burrata. Jimmy and I were a little skeptical when we ordered it. He's more of a pepperoni-only kinda guy, but we both love an arugula salad so we gave it a try. And it was so, so good.
So when we found ourselves with some leftover prosciutto from chicken cordon bleu grilled cheese, it only made sense to try making arugula and prosciutto pizza ourselves.
There's no real sauce on this arugula and prosciutto pizza — it's got a base layer of olive oil mixed with minced garlic, shallot, and rosemary that gets spooned onto the dough.
A thick smattering of low-moisture mozzarella shredded on a box grater goes down next (the pre-shredded stuff doesn't melt as nicely), followed by a few slices of prosciutto.
The pizza bakes in just a few minutes in our home oven thanks to the high heat of our baking steel (use code TPK10 for 10% off!). It's just enough time to toss a couple handfuls of arugula with a squeeze of lemon juice and a pinch of salt and pepper. As soon as the pizza is done, the arugula goes on, and it's ready to eat.
If you like a pizza with lettuce on top, consider trying my cheeseburger pizza which is topped with a refreshingly crunchy salad of thinly sliced iceberg lettuce.
Looking for a white pizza with more cheese and fewer greens? Try my four cheese white pizza with goat cheese! It uses the same olive oil pizza sauce, but is topped with an ooey gooey blend of four different melty cheeses.
Here's what you'll need to make arugula and prosciutto pizza! Nothing too fancy required. This recipe makes enough to top about one medium pizza or two small pizzas. See recipe card for quantities.
- Pizza Dough - You can use store bought or homemade pizza dough. See below for my favorite homemade pizza dough recommendations and how to properly pre-shape store bought dough so that it stretches nicely.
- Baby Arugula - Regular arugula will also work, but I like the smaller size of the baby arugula for pizza topping.
- Prosciutto - You can pick this up pre-packaged or from the deli counter at your grocery store. Either way, make sure there's a sheet of paper or plastic between each slice. Prosciutto often sticks together, and is much easier to manage if there's a liner between the slices.
- Lemon Juice - For tossing with the arugula. You can use the squeeze bottle stuff if that's all you've got. If you're squeezing fresh lemon juice, Remember to squeeze over your hand or a strainer (or use a lemon squeezer) to keep the seeds out!
- Mozzarella Cheese - My favorite mozzarella for pizza topping is a low-moisture, part-skim mozzarella cheese that I grate by hand. You can use the pre-shredded stuff, but it doesn't melt quite as nicely!
- Parmesan Cheese - You don't need much here, but the sharp nutty flavor is really good with the garlic and shallot base and lemony arugula.
- Olive Oil - Look for a robust Extra Virgin Olive Oil. This makes up the base of your pizza flavors so you want one that tastes good.
- Shallots, Garlic, and Rosemary - This powerhouse trio of flavors gets finely minced and mixed with the olive oil to make up the flavor base of your arugula and prosciutto pizza. If you can't find shallots, you can use onion or even leeks.
Not pictured: Semolina flour or additional all purpose flour for dusting the pizza peel.
What Pizza Dough To Use
For this arugula and prosciutto pizza I used an 8 oz (~220 grams) ball of pizza dough.
I usually make a batch of my favorite basic overnight pizza dough, which I divide and shape into 4 dough balls and store tall, round deli containers in the fridge. The thin, crispy crust is more than sturdy enough to hold up the prosciutto and arugula.
No matter what kind of pizza dough you use, check out my guide to hand stretching pizza dough for how to pre-shape and stretch your pizza dough like a pro!
How to Make Arugula and Prosciutto Pizza
Start by preheating the baking steel in the oven at 500F for about an hour.
Make sure you have all of your pizza topping ingredients ready to go before you start stretching the pizza dough. Dust your pizza peel with semolina flour (or use parchment paper) to make sure the pizza dough can slide off of it easily.
Once your pizza dough is stretched, you want to work efficiently to get it on the pizza peel and get the toppings down so that the dough doesn't stick to the peel.
Combine the olive oil, shallots, garlic, and rosemary in a small bowl and mix well. Then spoon the mixture on to the pizza dough and gently use the back of a spoon to spread it around.
The cheese comes next. I like to use the wide holes of a box grater for the mozzarella, then I use a microplane to do a light dusting of parmesan cheese over the whole thing.
Pro-tip: Get some parmesan cheese on the crust, too! It's so delicate it melts right onto the crust and gives it a really nice flavor.
I'm one of those people who loves eating the pizza crusts, so if I can add some cheesy flavor to it — that's a win.
The prosciutto goes down next. There's no real rhyme or reason to the placement here, but I like to tear the slices into smaller pieces as I'm putting them down.
You can lay them all flat, but I like to twist or bend them slightly to create peaks and valleys. Those bits sticking up will get crispy under the broiler.
You can also wait to put the prosciutto on after the pizza bakes. I do it before baking because I really like the crispy edges, and because the melty cheese helps secure the prosciutto to the pizza so it doesn't go sliding off when you pick up a slice.
Slide the pizza onto the preheated baking steel and let it bake for about 2-3 minutes. Then rotate it, and bake for an additional two minutes. Finally, pop it under the broiler for an additional minute to get it nice and browned on top.
While the pizza is in the oven, toss the baby arugula with the lemon juice, salt, and pepper.
As soon as the pizza comes out from under the broiler, top it with a generous amount of the salad mixture.
Slice and serve this pizza immediately. Because the heat and oil from the pizza wilt the arugula, wait to add the salad mixture until right before you're ready to serve.
Just like the best time to add fresh basil to pizza is right before serving, you want to add the salad last so it is still fresh, bright, and crunchy when you bite in!
Launching a Pizza Onto a Pizza Steel
To launch the pizza onto the baking steel, first give the pizza a good shimmy back and forth on the pizza peel. If any parts of it have stuck, gently lift up the edge and dust more semolina flour or all purpose flour under them.
Give the pizza another shimmy to make sure it's no longer stuck, then carefully slide (or "launch") the pizza off the peel and onto the pre-heated baking steel.
Place the tip of the peel about an inch or two from the back of the baking steel. Then tilt it down so the tip is resting on the steel and the pizza begins to slide off. Slide the peel straight back and out of the oven without picking the tip of the peel up off the steel. The pizza will slide off onto the steel.
Adjusting for Different Oven Broilers
If your oven has a broiler in the top of it, you'll want to preheat your baking steel on the top rack of the oven and turn on the broiler in the final minute of baking.
If your oven has a bottom drawer broiler, you'll want to have an upside down sheet pan on the rack in there. When the pizza finishes on the baking steel in the oven, slide it onto the sheet pan in the broiler drawer for about a minute to get it nice and brown on top.
Variations & Substitutions
Don't have all the ingredients? Want to take this pizza to the next level? Need to make an adjustment? Here's some suggestions:
- Vegetarian - Skip the prosciutto! A lemony arugula pizza with a white cheesy garlicky base is also extremely good.
- Extra Cheesy - Serve with a ball of fresh burrata in the middle.
- Parm Lovers - Use a peeler to add thick shavings of parmesan cheese to the top of the pizza after you put the arugula down.
- Just Add Egg - To serve with poached eggs, you'll want to cut it into just four slices and will need one poached egg per slice or per person.
- Other Charcuterie Meats - Guanciale, Jamón Serrano, Capicola, Culatello, etc. Any thinly sliced cured pork product that is safe to eat raw. You could even do thinly sliced pepperoni, smoked ham, salami, or sopressata if that's all you've got!
Practical Tips & Recipe Notes
- Buy a potted rosemary plant at your grocery store and keep it in a bright window. Give it lots of water and it will basically last you forever. This way you don't have to buy more rosemary than you need!
- Tear the prosciutto before you put it down on the pizza. This is so you don't have the whole piece of prosciutto slide off when you take a bite. It also gives you a chance to drape and arrange the prosciutto so that it's not completely flat. This exposes more edges and angles to the broiler in the oven and means more crispy bits!
- My favorite way to cook pizza is on a baking steel, which preheats on the top rack of the oven for an hour at 500F before use. The baking steel absorbs that heat, which helps replicate the 800F temps of a pizza oven.
- If you don't have a baking steel, follow the baking instructions for whatever pizza dough recipe you're using, rather than using my baking instructions.
- When I make pizza dough in bulk and divide it into portions to keep in the fridge, I store it in deli soup containers. I picked up this tip from Andris, the creator of the Baking Steel. This keeps the gluten from relaxing too much and helps the dough keep a circular shape. The containers might seem a bit tall, but I’ve tried 16 oz deli containers and the dough rose so much the lids popped off in the fridge.
- To transfer the pizza into the oven I use a 50/50 blend of semolina flour and all purpose flour (or just semolina flour). The semolina flour is a larger grain and helps the pizza roll off the wooden peel and onto the steel. If you don't have a pizza peel, put the pizza on a sheet of parchment paper and use the back of a sheet pan to slide it into the oven.
- IMPORTANT: If you're using a wooden peel, give the assembled pizza a few good shimmies back and forth on it to make sure the dough isn't stuck. If it is, gently pick up the stuck edge and dust some semolina flour under it.
For this recipe, I recommend putting the prosciutto down before cooking the pizza. The melty cheese helps the prosciutto stick to the crust so it doesn't slide off when you cut or bite it. I also like the way the prosciutto edges get a bit crispy in the oven. That said, you can certainly put it on after if that's what you prefer.
Unfortunately, not really. You'd have to take all the arugula off, heat up the pizza slice, then make a new batch of the arugula mixture to put on top. The arugula also wilts and absorbs the oils and grease from the top of the pizza, so it doesn't hold up well as leftovers.
A baking steel is sometimes also called a pizza steel, but you can also use a pizza stone or baking stone (though they don't get quite as hot). Some people have recommended using a preheated upside down sheet pan, but again, it won't get quite as hot so you may have to adjust the cook times. Sheet pans have also been known to warp if kept at high temperatures for too long, so only go this route if you have very sturdy, high quality sheet pans without non-stick coatings.
Arugula and Prosciutto Pizza
Olive Oil Pizza Sauce
- ¼ cup olive oil
- ¼ cup shallot (minced)
- 1 clove garlic (minced or grated)
- 1 sprig fresh rosemary (minced)
- ⅛ teaspoon diamond crystal kosher salt
- ⅛ teaspoon black pepper
- ¾ cup low-moisture mozzarella (grated)
- 1 tablespoon parmesan cheese (finely grated)
- 3 slices prosciutto
- 1½ cups baby arugula
- 1½ tablespoons lemon juice (about half a lemon)
- ½ teaspoon diamond crystal kosher salt (use half as much of any other brand)
- ¼ teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
- An hour before you're ready to make your pizza, arrange the baking steel in your oven (on top rack if you have a broiler in the top of your oven) and preheat the oven at 500°F for at least an hour. Remove pizza dough from the refrigerator at least 60-90 minutes prior to stretching.
- When you're ready to assemble your pizza, make the olive oil white pizza sauce by combining minced garlic, shallot, and rosemary with olive oil. Grate the mozzarella on the large holes of a box grater and set aside.
- Hand stretch your pizza dough. Plop the dough down on a generously floured clean countertop, and dust the surface of the dough with even more flour. Gently press the dough flat in the center to define a thicker outer crust. With both hands, pick the dough up from the top crust edge and hold it with your fingertips and thumbs pointing down. The dough will begin to stretch down toward the counter. Rotate the dough through your fingertips, letting the dough stretch downward as you go. Gravity will do most of the work, so be gentle and patient so you don't tear the dough.
- When the dough is about 7-8" across, lay it flat on your counter and slide your hands under it with your palms against the counter. Stretch the dough on the backs of your hands by lifting them and and gently stretching them apart, rotating the dough between each stretch.
- When the dough is thin in the center with a thicker crust and about 12-14" across, dust the pizza peel with semolina flour and place the dough on the peel.
- Assemble the pizza. Spoon the olive oil mixture over the dough and use the back of the spoon to spread it out. Top it with the grated mozzarella and parmesan cheese, then arrange the prosciutto across the pizza, tearing it into pieces with your hands. Let it drape and tent over itself so that lots of edges and corners are pointing up toward the broiler.
- Shimmy and launch. Shake the pizza back and forth on the peel to make sure it hasn't stuck, then launch the pizza into the oven on the baking steel. Set a timer for 2 minutes. Rotate the pizza and cook for 2 more minutes. If it still looks pale, give it 1 more minute.
- Arugula topping. While the pizza is cooking, toss the arugula with the lemon juice, salt, and pepper.
- Broil. Broil the pizza for the final 30-60 seconds. If your oven has a broiler in the top, just turn the broiler on. If your oven has a broiler in the bottom drawer, slide an upside down sheet pan into it to support the pizza, then slide the pizza onto the sheet pan to broil.
- When the pizza is done, remove it from the oven. Top it with the arugula mixture, cut it into slices and serve immediately.
- If you aren't serving this immediately, wait to dress the arugula and arrange it on top until right before serving.
- If you don't have a baking steel, follow the baking times and temperatures from whatever pizza dough recipe you used instead of following my baking instructions.