The new year got me thinking about the best things we’ve made over the past twelve months. Our more ambitious efforts – general tso chicken, peking duck and chicken curry with roti – were among the most delicious and satisfying. The less extensive ventures I told you about, like fish tacos and gnocchi with four cheese sauce or all Sorrentina, get my mouth watering just thinking about them. The real stand out item of 2010, though, something I would go so far as to say that I have mastered, is pizza.
Looking through photos from the past few months I came across several pizzas that we whipped up on random week nights that were all amazing. For me, a homemade pizza with a little salad (or not) and a glass of wine (or two) is one of the best meals going. Sometimes I’ll even buy Perroni and we’ll pretend we’re in Italy.
A ball of homemade dough can yield four thin crust pizzas. Usually I’ll freeze half the dough and make two pizzas in one night. With the ready-made dough, the whole job takes twenty minutes tops (cook time included – in my oven, at 400 to 450 degrees, pizzas usually cook under ten minutes). If we have leftovers, they go to work with my husband. If.
I think it’s totally acceptable to eat pizza every day of the week, and I encourage you to do so. Here are some topping ideas to get you through it.
Start the week off right with some vegetables. On a tomato sauce base, sprinkle red pepper, green pepper, red onion, cherry tomatoes and soft mozzarella. If you need a little protein, slice up some of the salami you’ll be using for Tuesday’s pizza. If you like black olives, throw em on! It’s like a greek salad, only better.
Begin by spreading sliced salami over your tomato sauce base. Add artichoke hearts and red onion and finish with chunks of soft mozzarella.
If you’re from Toronto or have ever spent any length of time there, you’re probably familiar with the restaurant chain Terroni. I love Terroni. We had our mini wedding there. It was awesome. Whenever I go, I tell myself that I will order something other than the C’T Mang, but I never actually follow through. C’T Mang is all I want. Ever.
For this one you don’t need tomato sauce. Begin by drizzling olive oil on your dough. Place thin slices of pear down, sprinkle small chunks of the cheese of your choosing (I went with old cheddar, the restaurant uses blue cheese), lay strips of prosciutto across and litter the whole thing with walnuts. Drizzle honey on it before you bake. Heaven.
I hope you saved some prosciutto because you’re using it again. This is a classic. Bake your pizza with prosciutto and soft mozzarella and when it comes out of the oven, cover in a generous handful of arugula. Again, just like salad, only better.
Instead of heading out to CPK, you’re making barbecue chicken pizza yourself. Start with a barbecue sauce base. I’ll put the barbecue sauce recipe we made up below. It’s good. Cook a chicken breast in a pan and then slice into chunks or strips, however you want to eat it. Coat those in barbecue sauce. Cover your pizza with the chicken, red onion and grated gouda.
When it comes out of the oven, sprinkle a generous amount of chopped cilantro on top.
Enjoy your week, pizza face.
2 cups strained tomatoes (I use Pomi brand)
2 tablespoons ketchup
2 tablespoons white vinegar
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
juice of one lemon
½ cup lightly packed brown sugar
½ cup water
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon ground pepper
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1. In a small saucepan on low heat, mix the tomatoes, ketchup, vinegar, mustard and lemon juice, using a flat whisk.
2. Stir in the sugar, and then slowly add the water, stirring until all the ingredients are well incorporated.
3. Add salt, pepper and red pepper flakes.
4. Allow mixture to simmer, stirring often, for 30 to 45 minutes. Sauce will thicken as it reduces. I like mine the thickness of ketchup.