Makes one 14-inch pizza | Total Time: Active 6–8 minutes / Inactive 40 minutes

Artisan pizza does not have any single style definition. Rather, it is the efforts of innovative pizzaioli to put their own stamp on a pizza that is clearly derived from New York pizza but may include elements of Neapolitan pizza. Some defy categorization, which include both nontraditional ingredients or extensive ingredients that are added after baking, such as this pizza, which has prosciutto, fig, and arugula salad on top. These now-iconic pizzas were inspired by Californian cuisine, Wolfgang Puck at Spago in 1982, and Ed LaDou and Alice Waters, who created some of the first artisan pizzas at Chez Panisse in 1974.

  • One ball of Direct Artisan Pizza Dough

  • 25 thin slices Manchego cheese

  • 5 thin slices prosciutto, torn into bite-size pieces

  • 2 ripe black mission figs, stemmed and cut into eighths

    Modernist_Pizza_Volume_3 Modernist Pizza Volume 3 Nathan Myhrvold
  • 1 3/4 cups arugula

  • 2/3 cup goat cheese

  • 2 tsp balsamic vinegar glaze

  • 1/4 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese


You can use pizza cheese (low-moisture mozzarella) or another semihard cheese instead of Manchego. Young Manchego melts well on the pizza while older Manchego can be too dry to melt (and is more expensive).

If black figs are not in season, you can put stone fruit on this pizza; apples, pears, persimmons, and poached quince work well, too. You can put the fruit on top of the arugula when you assemble it but there is a chance that it could roll off.

You can use spinach in place of the arugula.

Grana Padano works well instead of Parmigiano-Reggiano.

1. Preheat the oven to 550°F for at least 30 minutes with a baking steel or baking stone in the top third of the oven.

2. Generously flour your worktable.

3. Lift the pizza dough from the sheet pan using a narrow, sharp bench knife.

4. Place it on the worktable, seam side up and dust the top with more flour.

5. Press down on the dough with your fingers, leaving a 0.5–1 inch border. You will not need your palms or thumbs yet. Your fingers will arch naturally, so don’t make them too stiff.

6. Rotate the dough 180° and repeat step 5. The point is to create an even disc that is flat in the center and has an even rim.

7. Flip the dough over and flatten the center again, pushing the dough in an outward motion to extend the central part of the dough. It should be 6–8 inches in diameter.

8. Place the dough disc on the backs of your hands so that the smooth side is in contact with your hands.

9. Stretch your hands apart gently, rotating the dough 90° as you stretch farther and farther. Keep stretching the dough until it reaches 14 inches in diameter.

10. Distribute the Manchego evenly inside the rim.

11. Slide the dough onto a peel or slide the peel at about a 5° angle under the dough, using quick, jerking back-and-forth motions, until it is completely on the peel.

12. Load onto the baking steel or baking stone in the oven with a quick pull-away motion.

13. Bake for 8–10 minutes, rotating 180° halfway through baking.

14. Check the doneness of the bottom of the pizza.

15. Remove the pizza and place on a serving tray. Cut into 6–8 triangles.

16. Distribute the prosciutto and figs over the cheese. Cover the pizza with the arugula.

17. Spoon the goat cheese over the arugula. Drizzle the balsamic glaze over the pizza.

18. Shave the Parmigiano-Reggiano over the pizza using a vegetable peeler or truffle slicer.


You can purchase balsamic vinegar glaze through online retailers or in some grocery stores. If you’d like to make your own, simply reduce balsamic vinegar over medium-low heat until it reaches 230–235°F or is syrupy and the consistency of honey. To test the consistency, place a spoonful of the glaze on a cool plate. Allow the glaze to cool, then run your finger through it. The glaze should hold your finger swipe.

If you’d like to make this pizza vegetarian, simply omit the prosciutto.

These topping amounts are for one 14-inch pizza. You will have enough dough to make three pizzas, so you can multiply these ingredient amounts to accommodate however many pizzas you are making.

If you don’t have a peel, you can use parchment paper to make it easier to load your pizza into the oven. Cut your parchment paper slightly larger than your pizza. For a 14-inch pizza, cut a 15-inch round or square piece. Shape your dough and place it on the parchment paper. Apply the cheese. Transfer the pizza onto the back of an upside-down sheet pan or cookie sheet and slide the pizza into the oven.

Some home ovens will not reach 550°F (in some cases 525°F is the highest they will get). If this is the case, increase the baking time by 1–2 minutes. If you prefer a darker crust, simply bake the pizza for longer, but check it every 30 seconds after the recommended time to ensure it doesn’t burn.

We suggest hand-tearing the prosciutto as it is applied to the pizza instead of ahead of time since the small pieces will stick together otherwise. Placing it directly on the hot pizza will help warm it up before serving the pizza.

Cutting the pizza into slices before you put on all the toppings will make it easier to eat. Cutting the pizza after all the toppings are on it, while not impossible, is a challenge and won’t look as nice.

Recipe adapted from Modernist Pizza, 2021, published by The Cooking Lab, LLC. And the credit for the image is The Cooking Lab, LLC

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