Our daughter Adele has had the pleasure of going to Al Forno in Providence, RI, a couple of times. Al Forno pioneered the grilled pizza, and she has always raved about the pizzas, which are served as appetizers and made on a charcoal grill. I decided to have a go at replication.
There are several recipes for dough in the style of Al Forno available - most of them share what I already knew to be the case - the dough is made from all-purpose flour and is heavy in olive oil, which tenderizes the dough. They also tend to have a good bit of sugar in them, so I backed off the sugar just a bit. Basically the recipe I used was all purpose flour, salt, sugar, yeast, olive oil and water. During the rise I coated the dough balls in olive oil, a tablespoon per ball. Each dough ball was 6.5 ounces, about standard, sometimes I use 6 for a super thin crust, sometimes 7 for a more regular Neapolitan pie.
I only have a gas grill, and after my experiment I really recommend they be cooked on a charcoal grill. If I do them again I'll see if I can arrange to do so with charcoal. I think it would impart more of a flavor - not that these pies weren't yummy - they were great - but would have been even better over charcoal.
After arranging about an 8-10-inch pie from one of the dough balls, one places the crust on the hot grill, letting it begin to blister. After doing so, move it to a cool part of the grill, flipping it over. Place the toppings on the pie, then move it back to the hot grill and let the other side of the crust blister and char a bit. Color is flavor.
Here is my 4 cheese (fresh mozzarella, fontina, parm, gorganzola) grilled pizza on the grill, just being moved to the hot grill after topping.
And the finished product:
Adele wanted a particular pie that she had at Al Forno. Two cheeses, corn, tomato:
Adele reported that the pizza came very close to the Al Forno pie. I think perhaps charcoal might make that difference. Perhaps we shall see someday. I know that the 4 cheese pie was quite tasty.