Grilled Margherita and Olive-Fontina Pizzas

"This dough is not the kind you throw in the air like in the movies," Mario Batali says. He grills the crusts until they're delectably charred, then adds one of two simple toppings--a classic Margherita with tomato sauce, mozzarella and basil, and a pungent mix of Fontina, black olives and pine nuts. For the Nascar cookout, Batali cuts the pies into small wedges as appetizers but notes that they're also hearty enough to be a main course.

Slideshow:  More Recipes From Mario Batali

  • Active:
  • Total Time:
  • Servings: Makes four 10-inch pizzas (8 servings)
  • Time(Other): plus overnight resting

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  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 3 cups warm water
  • 2 packages dry active yeast
  • 7 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for rubbing
  • 3 tablespoons kosher salt
olive-fontina topping
  • 1/2 cup pine nuts
  • 1/2 pound Italian Fontina cheese, coarsely shredded (2 cups)
  • 1/2 cup pitted black Moroccan olives, chopped
margherita topping
  • 2 cups tomato sauce
  • 1/2 pound mozzarella, coarsely shredded (2 cups)
  • 1/2 cup torn basil leaves
  • Maldon salt, for sprinkling (see Note)

How to make this recipe

  1. PREPARE THE MARGHERITA PIZZAS In a very large bowl, stir the honey into the water until dissolved. Sprinkle the yeast over the water and let stand until foamy, about 8 minutes. Stir in the flour, the 1/4 cup of olive oil and the salt until blended. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth. Place the dough in an oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let stand in a warm place until doubled in volume, about 1 hour.
  2. PREPARE THE MARGHERITA PIZZAS On the floured work surface, punch down the dough and cut into 4 pieces. Roll each piece into a ball and place on an oiled baking sheet. Rub the dough balls with oil, cover with plastic and refrigerate overnight.
  3. PREPARE THE MARGHERITA PIZZAS Light a grill. When the coals are hot, push two-thirds to one side for a hot fire; spread the remaining coals on the other side for a medium-hot fire.
  4. PREPARE THE MARGHERITA PIZZAS In a small cast-iron skillet, toast the pine nuts over the medium-hot fire, shaking the pan, until the nuts are golden and fragrant, about 1 minute. Arrange all the topping ingredients near the grill.
  5. PREPARE THE MARGHERITA PIZZAS On a lightly oiled work surface or sheet pan, press 1 dough ball into a thin, roughly shaped, 10-inch round. Repeat with the remaining dough balls. Carefully set 1 dough round over the hot fire and grill until firm on the bottom and easy to lift, about 1 minute. Using tongs, move the crust to the medium-hot fire and continue grilling until the bottom is deeply browned and blistered, about 2 minutes longer. Carefully flip the crust and return it to the hot fire until cooked through, about 1 minute.
  6. PREPARE THE MARGHERITA PIZZAS Slide the crust back to the medium-hot fire and top with 1 cup of the shredded Fontina and 1/4 cup each of the olives and pine nuts. Cover the grill and cook until the cheese is melted, about 2 minutes. Transfer the grilled pizza to a cutting board; cut into pieces and serve. Grill another dough round, and top it with the remaining Fontina, olives and pine nuts.
  7. PREPARE THE MARGHERITA PIZZAS Grill another dough round on both sides. Slide to the medium-hot fire, spread with 1 cup of the tomato sauce and top with 1 cup of the mozzarella. Cover the grill and cook until the cheese is melted, about 2 minutes. Transfer the pizza to a cutting board and scatter half of the basil on top. Sprinkle the pizza with Maldon salt, cut into pieces and serve. Repeat with the remaining dough round, tomato sauce, mozzarella, basil and salt.

Make Ahead

The pizza dough can be prepared through Step 2 and frozen for up to 1 month.


English Maldon salt--which has unusual pyramid-shaped crystals and a wonderfully mild flavor--is available at specialty food stores. Alternatively, you can substitute French fleur de sel or another sea salt.

Contributed By Photo © Maura McEvoy Published September 2006

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