Spring Skillet Pizza Pie for π (PI) Day!

Spring Skillet Pizza Pie

Happy 3.14159 Day…..

otherwise known as π (Pi) DAY!

Spring Skillet Pizza Pie

This morning, my Twitter and IG feed have been filled with gorgeous berry, apple, and chocolate pies as my foodie friends around the world celebrate π Day. And it’s makin’ me HUNGRY!

But this year, I decided to lean towards the savory route again for π Day and this time, we went the Pizza Pie route!

Spring Skillet Pizza Pie

Since spring is just a few days away, I opted for colorful and light veggies for toppings. We started off with a base of EVOO, garlic, thyme, fresh mozzarella and then went to town on all the beautiful produce in reach. Mixed color peppers, artichokes, grape tomatoes, thin asparagus tips and arugula jumped out to me but really, use anything that tickles your fancy. The whole pi(e) was then drizzled with a sweet, tart balsamic reduction.

HOLY PI(E), BATMAN!

Did I ever mention that beautiful food geeks me out?

It also makes me dance around the kitchen….but that’s a story for another time.

Spring Skillet Pizza Pie

As you know, I’m obsessed with making pizza pi(es) in a cast iron skillet. But if you don’t own a cast iron or want to make a larger pizza pi(e), just bake the whole thing on a hot baking sheet (or pizza stone) for 15-20 minutes in a 450 degree F oven.

There’s still plenty of time to get your π Day on and here are some ideas for ya:

And with that folks— have a gorgeous weekend and HAPPY π DAY!

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Spring Skillet Pizza
Serves 2

Ingredients:

5 ounces fresh pizza dough, rested and at room temperature
flour
½ tablespoon corn meal
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon minced garlic
½ teaspoon fresh thyme leaves, divided
¼ cup thinly sliced red onions
¼ cup thinly sliced bell peppers
¼ pound thinly sliced fresh mozzarella cheese
½ cup blanched asparagus
4-6 grape or cherry tomatoes, halved
¼ cup artichoke hearts, quartered
½ tablespoon grated parmesan cheese
sea salt
½ teaspoon fresh lemon zest
fresh black pepper
2-3 pinches red chili flakes
1-2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar reduction*
1 small handful fresh arugula leaves

Turn on the oven broiler and adjust one of the racks to the top of the oven to rest directly under the broiler. Place a seasoned cast iron skillet (10-12 inches in diameter) directly under the broiler for 8-10 minutes. It may begin to smoke but you need the skillet to be screaming hot.

While the skillet is heating, roll out the pizza dough onto a floured surface–you’ll want it a tad smaller than the width of your skillet. If you have a pizza peal, sprinkle it with cornmeal and transfer the pizza dough onto it. If not, you can also use a wooden cutting board.

Brush the olive oil over the dough and sprinkle the garlic and ½ the thyme leaves over it. Quickly top with the red onions, bell peppers, mozzarella cheese, asparagus, tomatoes and artichoke. Once the skillet has heated for the appropriate length of time, quickly and CAREFULLY slide the pizza into the skillet. Replace the skillet so it sits directly underneath the broiler.

Close the oven door and allow the pizza to cook for about 45-60 seconds. Open the oven door and rotate the skillet 180 degrees. Close the door and allow another 60-90 seconds underneath the broiler. Once the crust is slightly charred and cheese has melted, CAREFULLY remove the skillet from the oven and place it on a rack for 2-3 minutes. Sprinkle the top with parmesan cheese, remaining thyme leaves, sea salt, lemon zest, black pepper, and chili flakes. Drizzle the balsamic reduction and top with the arugula leaves. Transfer the pizza to a cutting board, slice up and enjoy!

*To make the balsamic reduction, combine 1 cup balsamic vinegar, ½ tablespoon sugar and 2 pinches of red chili flakes to a small sauce main. On medium-high heat, bring to a boil, stirring often. Reduce the heat to low. Continue stirring and cooking until the liquids have reduced by half and take on a thick, syrup consistency—about 10 minutes. Be sure to watch the reduction closely as it can burn quickly. Transfer to a container and allow to cool completely.

Potato-Egg-Prosciutto Pizza

Potato-Egg-Prosciutto Pizza

The thing is, I rarely ever have any true vested interest with the Super Bowl. Because although my beloved Vikings may be full of heart, we don’t seem to be able to get our act together to make a showing in the big game.

Well, not since the 70’s at least. Ughh…..

Potato-Egg-Prosciutto Pizza

But that’s not to say that I don’t love to partake in all the Super Bowl festivities.

And by festivities, I mean gluttonous food and adult beverages. Hey, it would be un-American not too!

My loved ones and I typically like to get our Super Bowl parties started early so we can have a full day of indulgence. To kick-off the AM shenanigans, I wanted to come up with something that married the spirit of brunch and football. And what does that better than gorgeous eggs and pizza?!

Potato-Egg-Prosciutto Pizza

Which is fantastic because I’ve been tapped this year to be one of the twelve ambassadors for Safest Choice™ Darling Dozen and thought it was the perfect time to whip up a few recipes featuring their delicious and all natural pasteurized eggs.

I’ve sung their praises before but you can rest easy when using their eggs since their pasteurization process eliminates salmonella. Check out more healthful info about their eggs here.

Potato-Egg-Prosciutto Pizza

In my opinion, this pizza really does have all the necessary components for a savory brunch.

Cheese? CHECK!

Potatoes? CHECK!

Runny eggs? CHECK!

Pork? CHECK!

It even has some greens to make us feel a little better.

A Win-NGUYEN for sure….even if my Vikings don’t. Bleh….

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Potato-Egg-Prosciutto Pizza
Serves 2

Ingredients:

1 whole garlic head
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 cup thinly sliced new potatoes
½ tablespoon minced fresh rosemary
1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
¾ teaspoon kosher salt, divided
6 ounces fresh pizza dough, rested and at room temperature
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
½ tablespoon corn meal
2 large Safest Choice™ pasteurized eggs
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
2 thin slices prosciutto, torn into small pieces
2 ounces goat cheese
1 cup fresh arugula leaves

Prepare the garlic paste by preheating the oven to 400 degrees F. Peel and discard the outer skin from the garlic head. Cut off the very top part of the garlic head so that the cloves are just barely exposed. Place the garlic head on a piece of aluminum foil and drizzle 1 tablespoon of olive oil over it. Bunch the foil together to cover the garlic and roast for about 30 minutes until the cloves are golden brown. Once cooled, squeeze the cloves out of their skins into a small bowl. Using a fork, mash up the garlic so that it becomes a paste. Set aside.

While the garlic roasts, mix the potato slices, rosemary, pepper flakes and ½ teaspoon kosher salt in a small bowl. Set aside.

Once the garlic has roasted and has been removed from the oven, turn up the oven heat to 500 degrees F. Place a baking sheet on the middle rack of the oven while it preheats.

Take the pizza dough and flatten it with your hands on a floured surface. Use a floured rolling pin to gently roll the crust about 1/8 of an inch. Transfer the rolled out dough to a pizza paddle or lightly floured cutting board. Spread a thin layer of the roasted garlic over the entire pizza dough. Place the potato slices, slightly overlapped, over the top of the pizza. You’ll want to leave two small spaces uncovered where the eggs will rest.

Carefully remove the preheated baking sheet from the oven and sprinkle it with the cornmeal. Slide the pizza onto the baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes. Take the pizza from oven and crack 1 egg into each of the predetermined spots. Place the pizza back into the oven and bake for another 5-7 minutes or until the eggs have set and the crust has become golden brown.

Slide the pizza onto a large cutting board and season with the remaining kosher salt and black pepper. Top with the prosciutto pieces, goat cheese and arugula. Serve immediately.

 

NPE_DarlingDozenBadges

*DISCLOSURE: As a brand ambassador for the Safest Choice™ Darling Dozen, I was compensated for the creation of this recipe and post. However, as always, all opinions are my own.*

 

New England Inspired Sunday Family Dinner

Lobster-tinis

And it all started with these at our New England inspired Sunday Family Dinner.

Don’t they look ridiculous? RIDICULOUSLY AWESOME!

When we began toying around menu themes for October’s Sunday Family Dinner, my seester T was hell-bent on a New England spread that featured these beauties—

LOBSTER MARTINIS!

October 2013 Family Dinner

Now before you cringe, I recognize that these cocktails aren’t for everyone. But if you, like many of us, enjoy a deliciously dirty–extra dirty martini, then you’ll adore these.

The Lobster Martinis are made with vodka, lemon juice and most importantly— “lobster essence”.  Lobster essence is an incredibly concentrated lobster stock that is slowly reduced down until it creates liquid lobstah goodness!

Throw it all in a shaker over ice and shake-shake-shake before straining into a glass that’s been garnished with a lobstah claw. Divine!

As for the food, we kept things actually quite low key. Nothing crazy elaborate but just darn delicious. And since we were in New England, we had to have Crab Cakes!

Crab Cakes

Instead of larger patties that I usually make, I formed little cakes so we could nibble on while we put out the other dishes. Click here for the recipe

And in case you’re wondering, my family has Minnesota roots and it’s where I was born. So although we’re struggling this season, we HAD to represent our Vikings as they played those dang cheeseheads that day.

October 2013 Family Dinner

Next up– White Clam Pizza!

Now here’s my confession. We kind of had a crazy morning the day of our Fam-Din and I initially forgot to pick up the fresh clams. So I scrambled to the grocery store with my niece Nina and fixed that problem. After all, what’s a Fam-Din without a snafu or two?

Speaking of Nina, she pretty much took charge of this entire dish. I say this all of the time but when most teenagers struggle with making a peanut butter sandwich, our nieces are fixing up dishes like paella and artisan pizzas. We’re so proud!!!

And the pizza was scrumdiddlyumptious!

Clam Pizza

I just adore our munchkins and can’t wait for our other little ones — Luna and Leo–to come back for the holidays.

October 2013 Family Dinner

What’s a New England menu without Lobstah Rolls?!

Lightly dressed and overflowing with lobstah glory–just perfect!

Lobster Rolls

Mo’ lobstah, mo’ betta’!

Huh…maybe that will be the name of my next food blog? :)

October 2013 Family Dinner

And finally, dessert.

Boston Cream Pie!

But I hope you’re pronouncing “Boston” like a true New Englander.

Say it with me now! Baaah-stin’

Boston Cream Pie

Seester P worked with Nini and Maya to create this Boston Cream Pie using a recipe from America’s Test Kitchen. And if you’ve ever attempted an America’s Test Kitchen recipe, you know how laborious it can be—-delicious, but laborious.

October 2013 Family Dinner

So I was so impressed with how meticulous Nini and Maya took each step as they created it. It resulted in a wonderful sponge cake filled with a beautiful pastry cream and then coated with a thin layer of ganache. YUM!

Wicked awesome, yea?

October 2013 Family Dinner

A close to another delicious and food coma induced Sunday Family Dinner –that’s a wrap!

Cast Iron Skillet Pizza…. #LifeChanging

Cast Iron Skillet Pizza

I had a life changing moment in the kitchen nearly a year ago….

It was the first time I had tried my hand at Cast Iron Skillet Pizzas!

The method allows the dough to bake beautifully–crisp with a slight char. Delicious! And the kicker? The cook time is less than 3 minutes! So flipping fast!

Cast Iron Skillet Pizza

Here’s how to do it:

  • Turn on the oven broiler and adjust one of the racks to the top of the oven–directly under the broiler.
  • Place a cast iron skillet (10-12 inches in diameter) directly under the broiler for 8-10 minutes. It may begin to smoke but you need the skillet to be screaming hot.
  • While the skillet is heating, roll out 5-6 ounces of pizza dough onto a floured surface–you’ll want it a tad smaller than the width of your skillet. If you have a pizza peal, sprinkle it with cornmeal and transfer the pizza dough onto it. If not, you can also use a wooden cutting board.
  • Dress the pizza with the toppings of your choice.
  • Once the skillet has heated for the appropriate length of time, quickly and CAREFULLY slide the pizza into the skillet. Replace the skillet so it sits directly underneath the broiler.
  • Quickly close the oven door and allow the pizza to cook for about 45-60 seconds.
  • Open the oven door and rotate the skillet 180 degrees. Close the door and allow another 60-90 seconds underneath the broiler.
  • Once the crust is slightly charred, CAREFULLY remove the skillet from the oven and place it on a rack for 2-3 minutes.
  • Transfer the pizza to a cutting board, slice up the goodness and DIVE ON IN!!!

And here are some things to keep in mind:

  • The skillet is incredibly hot after it’s been under the broiler so handle with care. I usually use both an oven mitt and a thick kitchen towel.
  • Things happen very fast once you start so have all of your toppings and mise en place ready to go before you even start heating the skillet.
  • Toppings are completely up to you but I would recommend not placing fresh items on top until after the pizza has baked so that it doesn’t wilt or melt (arugula, goat cheese, etc.).
  • I think a 10-12 inch pizza is perfect for two with a crisp side salad, however, if you’re feeding several folks, it would be ideal to use two skillets at a time.

And that’s it! Easy Peasy and totally faster than take out.

*In case you’re curious, the pizza shown here is topped with mozzarella, leftover ribeye steak, mushrooms, roasted garlic cloves, a drizzle of herb oil, fresh rosemary chili flakes and goat cheese.

Breakfast Pizza + Nambé Giveaway WINNER!

Breakfast Pizza

You could throw an egg on anything and it would be freaking delicious. Sandwiches, ramen noodles, pasta, rice……

Seriously.

Breakfast Pizza

So when I dove into Motorino’s Pizza al’ Uovo on my recent trip to NYC— I was in HEAVEN. Oooey-gooey fried eggs that just spilled into a crisp pizza covered with pancetta, basil and pecorino. SOOO good! I was hell bent on making my own version when I got home though I did make a few ingredients substitutions based upon my personal flavor preference. True– it’s nearly impossible to achieve the same type of crust that a wood fire oven can produce but overall I was very happy with it. You’ll be surprised to see how easy this is to make and it’s a guaranteed crowd-pleaser at your next brunch party.

But now for what you all have been waiting for….the winner of the fabulous Nambé Fish Platter

Drum Roll please………….

CONGRATS Jessica who said she would serve Gambas al Ajillo on the Nambé Fish Platter. Jessica, you will have until 5pm PST on Wednesday, July 25th to respond to our email and accept or another winner will be selected.

THANK YOU to everyone who participated! And THANK YOU Nambé !

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Breakfast Pizza
Serves 2

Dough:
1 Cup Lukewarm Water
1 Packet Instant Yeast
2 Cups Bread Flour, plus more for dusting the work surface and hands
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
1½ Teaspoon Kosher Salt
½ Tablespoon Sugar
*Makes approximately 3 medium-sized pizzas

Toppings:
1 Tablespoon Corn Meal
Olive Oil
2 Large Eggs, crack into individual small bowls
2 Ounces Fresh Mozzarella, sliced and patted dry
4-5 Slices Bacon, par cooked and cut into large pieces
2 Tablespoons Grated Parmesan Cheese
Fresh Basil Leaves
Black Pepper

Prepare the pizza dough. Combine the water with the yeast and let set for 10 minutes until the yeast is dissolved and bubbly. Combine the rest of the ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook attachment. Add the yeast-water and mix until the ingredients have just combined. Cover and allow to rest in a warm area until it doubles in size—about one hour.

One hour before baking, preheat the oven to 500 degrees F with a pizza stone on the lower rack. If cooking the pizza on a baking sheet, preheat 30 minutes before baking.

When the dough has rested, take approximately 1/3 of the dough and flatten it with your hands on a floured surface. Use a floured rolling pin to gently roll the crust about 1/8 of an inch. Transfer the dough to a pizza peel (if baking directly on stone) or onto a baking sheet that has been sprinkled with corn meal. Gently brush the crust with olive oil.

Lower the oven temperature to 450 degrees F. If using a pizza peel, carefully slide the pizza in the oven on the stone. If using a baking sheet, place pizza in the oven. Par bake for about 6-8 minutes until slightly golden. Pull from the oven and carefully pour the eggs on top. Place the fresh mozzarella cheese and bacon around the pizza and sprinkle with the grated parmesan cheese. Return to oven and continue baking for an additional 6-8 minutes or until the eggs have just set and the bacon has crisped. When done, remove the pizza and top with fresh basil leaves and black pepper. Serve immediately.

Seester’s Fav–Shrimp and Prosciutto Pizza with Fresh Arugula

Shrimp and Prosciutto Pizza with Fresh Arugula

For well over a decade, my SEESTER, T,  has been obsessed with Berri’s Cafe in LA. As in, SO OBSESSED that she will face driving through LA traffic from Orange County to get her beloved Berri’s. Correction….she will make her husband face the LA traffic so she can get her Berri’s fix.

And guess what? She orders the same thing EVERY TIME–the Berri’s Original Pizza. In the many times I’ve gone there with her (and I mean MANY since I used to live down the street from Berri’s), she’s only let me order the same thing too!

T  has a fixation with their Original Pizza and compares EVERY pizza with it. She even said it’s better than the pizzas she’s had in Italy! Hey….don’t yell at me–she’s the one whose infatuated. In fact, one night when we had gone out, yours truly had a little too much boozy goodness and got sick. Instead of driving her poor little sis straight home so she could properly pray to the porcelain gods, T made a pit stop at Berri’s and had the valet keep an eye on me while she ran in to get the pizza! Good Grief! I don’t know whether to laugh or cry!

Actually…it’s pretty hilarious.

Shrimp and Prosciutto Pizza with Fresh Arugula

This past weekend was my SEESTER’s (yes, purposely spelled that way) birthday. She and her fam headed up to San Francisco for a celebration weekend with our other sis, P. My work schedule wouldn’t allow me to join in on the fun but I was so bummed to be missing out on her bday festivities—not to mention all the yummy food and trip to Napa :(

So in her honor (and to make her feel a little “jelly”), I decided to take a spin on Berri’s Original-– a thin crust pizza with shrimp, prosciutto and topped with fresh arugula. And you know what? I think I did it justice!

I added fresh Bufala mozzarella which gave a level of creaminess that played off the crunch from the shrimp and saltiness from the prosciutto. The pile of peppery arugula was so bright and fresh that heck—this pizza was almost like a salad!  Ok….maybe that’s a bit of a stretch.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY SEESTER!!!!!

And yes, I’ll make this again for you.

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Shrimp and Prosciutto Pizza with Fresh Arugula

Ingredients:

Pizza Dough:
1.75 Cups Lukewarm Water
½ Tablespoon Granulated Yeast
½ Tablespoon Kosher Salt
3.75 Cups Unbleached All Purpose Flour
*Makes enough for 4 12-inch pizza crusts

Toppings:
2 Ounces Shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 Garlic Clove, finely minced
2 Pinches Red Chili Flakes
¼ Cup Marina Sauce, or your choice of Tomato Sauce
½ Shallot, thinly sliced
2-3 Fresh Basil Leaves, torn in pieces
2 Tablespoons Shredded Mozzarella
2 Ounces Fresh Bufala Mozzarella, sliced and patted dry
1-2 Thin Slices Prosciutto, torn in pieces
1-2 Handfuls Arugula Leaves
Kosher Salt
Premium Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Prepare the dough the night before. Add yeast and salt to the water in a 5-quart bowl. Add in the flour and mix in a heavy stand mixer (with paddle attachment) until everything is uniformly moistened, without dry patches. Cover the bowl with a kitchen towel and allow to rise at room temperature for approximately 2 hours. After rising, cover the container tightly and refrigerate overnight.

One hour before baking, preheat the oven to 500 degrees F with a pizza stone on the lower rack. If baking the pizza on a sheet, preheat 30 minutes before baking.

Remove the dough from the refrigerator. Sprinkle the work surface and top of the pizza dough with flour. Using kitchen shears, pull up and cut a piece of dough about the size of an apple. Hold the piece of dough in your hands and add more flour as needed so it won’t stick to your hands. Gently stretch and fold the dough underneath itself to create a ball. Allow the dough to rest, covered with plastic wrap on the work surface for about 20 minutes.

While dough is resting, mix the shrimp, garlic, chili flakes, pinch of kosher salt, and drizzle of olive oil in a small bowl. Set aside.

When the dough has rested, flatten it with your hands and use a floured rolling pin to make a crust about 1/8 of an inch. Transfer the dough to a pizza peel (if baking directly on stone) or onto a baking sheet. Spread the marina sauce on top of the crust so it creates a thin, even layer. Sprinkle the fresh basil, cheese, shallots, and shrimp all over the pizza.

Lower the oven temperature to 450 degrees F. If using a pizza peel, carefully slide the pizza in the oven on the stone. If using a baking sheet, place pizza in the oven. Bake for 12-15 minutes, rotating the pizza midway for even cooking. In the last 1-2 minutes of baking, add the prosciutto to the pizza and continue baking.

When done, remove the pizza and top with fresh arugula. Drizzle the top of the pizza with olive oil and serve.

Pizza Dough Adapted From: Artisan Pizza and Flatbread in Five Minutes a Day

Macadamia Nut Pesto Pizza

Macadamia Nut Pesto Pizza

I could eat pizza all of the time.

Which, lucky for me, is brilliant since I’ve worked for universities for the past 10+ years. And if you didn’t know it before, the most popular equation on college campuses is Pizza = College Students.

True story.

Macadamia Nut Pesto Pizza

In an effort to further explore the versatility of pesto, I turned to slathering pizza with this herbaceous mixture. And not just any pesto—-but Macadamia Nut Pesto! Thanks to an excess of macadamia nuts I had in my pantry (I was on a mac nut baking binge) I was able to create another version of pesto by substituting pine nuts with them.

The natural creamy rich taste of macadamia nuts was a perfect marriage to pesto and offers some solid health benefits, too.

I made my Macadamia Nut Pesto a tad on the thicker side since I knew I wanted to use it as a “sauce” for my pizza. But if you prefer a looser consistency, just stream in a tad more olive oil when processing it. I also was pretty heavy handed with the amount used for the pizza so adjust according to your preference.

And with college football gearing up this weekend, this unique spin on a pizza pie will be a sure fire win for any game day celebration!

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Macadamia Nut Pesto Pizza

Ingredients:

16 Ounces Fresh Pizza Dough
8 Ounces Grilled Chicken Breast, sliced
1 Cup Crimini Mushrooms, sliced
1½ Cups Macadamia Nut Pesto*
8 Ounces Fresh Mozzarella Cheese, sliced
¼ Cup Yellow Cornmeal
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil

Macadamia Nut Pesto:
2½ Packed Cups Sweet Basil
½ Cup Roasted Macadamia Nuts, unsalted
2-3 Garlic Cloves, finely diced
½ Cup Grated Parmesan Cheese
Juice from 1/2 Lemon
Approximately ½ – ¾ Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Kosher Salt and Pepper to taste

Prepare Pesto. In a food processor, pulse garlic and nuts. Add basil, cheese, lemon juice, and salt/pepper. With the food processor on, stream in olive oil and blend until the pesto is fully incorporated. Be sure to scrape down sides in between steps. More olive oil can be added if a smoother, loose texture is desired. Refrigerate until ready to be used.

Place pizza stone or large baking sheet in the middle rack and preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Lightly dust your surface area with flour. Take dough and stretch into your desired shape. Once the oven reaches its temperature, pull the baking stone/baking sheet out of the oven, and sprinkle cornmeal on the surface. Carefully slide the dough on top and bake for 5 to 10 minutes until the dough is lightly golden. Remove the crust from the oven and brush with olive oil over top. Spread an even layer of pesto over the crust. Top with the chicken, mushrooms, and cheese. Return the pizza back to the oven and bake for an additional 10-15 minutes until all the cheese has melted and pizza is golden brown. Serve with additional parmesan cheese and red chili flakes.