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 dived 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.


Sausage and Mushroom Pizza

Sausage and Mushroom Pizza

If you were to ask me, “What do you want on your pizza?”———–I will almost always say, Sausage and Mushrooms.

You just can’t go wrong with this delish combo.

I do, however, like to add a few special touches when I make my Sausage and Mushroom Pizzas. And those little extras comes in the form of roasted garlic and grape tomatoes. I try to squeeze in my veggies anyway I can.

Wait a second. Can I really consider garlic a “vegetable”?

Eh…… Sure, why not!? :)

Sausage and Mushroom Pizza

For this pizza, I tried out the dough from Cooks Illustrated. I’m happy to report that it came together really easily—especially since I used my KitchenAid Stand Mixer with the dough hook attachment for the kneading. The dough came out beautifully silky before baking and had a wonderful texture when it was done. I definitely recommend it!

Stay tuned for Friday’s post where I take a spin on one of my all time favorite desserts :)

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Sausage and Mushroom Pizza

Dough (From Cooks Illustrated):
½ cup warm water (for yeast)
2½ teaspoon instant yeast
1¼ cups water, at room temperature
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
4 cups bread flour, plus more for dusting the work surface and hands
1½ teaspoon salt
olive oil for oiling the bowl
*Makes enough for 4 medium sized crusts

Toppings:
1 cup spicy Italian sausage, browned
1 cup Crimini mushrooms, sliced
1½ cups marinara sauce (more if you like it saucier)
1½ cups shredded mozzarella cheese
½ cup grape tomatoes, diced
¼ roasted garlic
¼ cup fresh Italian parsley, chopped
¼ cup yellow cornmeal
2 tablespoons olive oil

Prepare pizza dough. Measure the warm water into a 2-cup liquid measuring cup. Sprinkle in the yeast and let stand until the yeast dissolves and swells, about 5 minutes. Add room temperature water and oil and stir to combine. Combine the salt and half the flour in a deep bowl. Add the liquid ingredients and use a wooden spoon to combine. Add the remaining flour, stirring until a cohesive mass forms. Turn the dough onto a lightly floured work surface and knead until smooth and elastic, 7 to 8 minutes, using a little dusting flour as possible while kneading. Form the dough into a ball, put it in a deep oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let rise until it doubles in size, about 2 hours.

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

Lightly dust your surface area with flour. Divide the dough into quarters. Take one of the pieces and roll/toss/stretch the dough 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 the roasted garlic all over the crust. Cover the crust with an even layer of marinara sauce. Sprinkle the shredded mozzarella evenly over the dough, leaving a ½ -inch border around the perimeter. Top with the grape tomatoes, sausage, and mushrooms. 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. Sprinkle the pizza with Italian parsley and serve with additional parmesan cheese and red chili flakes.

Note: If you aren’t planning to use the extra dough right away, there are a few options for you. First, you can shape each piece and parbake them. Wrap them up tightly in plastic wrap and foil—then, throw into the freezer. Another option is to oil the inside of a Ziploc bag with cooking spray. Throw in one ball of dough per oiled bag and remove any excess air before sealing and place it in the freezer. Transfer it to the fridge the night before you want to use it. Then place it on the counter to get it to room temperature for 1-2 hours before you bake it.

Roasted Garlic Chicken Pizza–a Super Bowl Party Must!

Roasted Garlic Chicken Pizza

 

It’s Super Bowl Weekend. And if you’re like many Americans, your local pizza joint will be making some deliveries to your house this Sunday.

Sure, it’s convenient and some are quite tasty. But why not make your own??

This Roasted Garlic Chicken Pizza is super easy to make and ridiculously delicious. I’ve made my own pizza dough (courtesy of my tried and true Epicurious recipe) but if you’re short on time, you can definitely pick up some pre-made dough from your local pizzeria or grocery store. Trader Joe’s has a great one for under $2.

 

Roasted Garlic Chicken Pizza

 

 

If you have a pizza stone, this is definitely the time to use it. The stone will add a crispier texture to your crust. But I found that I had pretty nice results using a baking sheet—just be sure to use corn meal on the bottom.

And if you’re a garlic lover, you will be smitten with the SUPER GARLICKY flavor from the roasted garlic. But let’s not forget how deliciously cheesy this pizza is–three types of cheeses will do that for you :)

This will definitely be a WIN for your Super Bowl Party.

 

Roasted Garlic Chicken Pizza

 

I, myself, am boycotting the Super Bowl. As a lifelong Vikings fan, I just cannot watch the Packers!

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Roasted Garlic Chicken Pizza
Serves 4

Pizza Dough (Adapted From Epicurious):
1½ Teaspoon Active Dry Yeast
3/4 Cup Warm Water
2 Cups All Purpose Flour
1 Teaspoon Sugar
1 Teaspoon Salt
3 Tablespoons Olive Oil

Toppings:
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
¼ Cup Roasted Garlic
1 Tablespoon Yellow Cornmeal
1 Cup Cooked Chicken Breast, diced
1 Cup Roma Tomatoes, diced
¼ Cup Sundried Tomatoes
1 Cup Shredded Mozzarella Cheese
¼ Cup Feta Cheese
2 Tablespoons Grated Parmesan Cheese
¼ Cup Scallions, diced
¼ Cup Fresh Italian Parsley, finely diced
Kosher Salt and Pepper
Serve with additional Parmesan Cheese and Red Chili Flakes

Prepare Dough. Sprinkle the yeast and sugar over the water. Let stand 2-3 minute, or until the yeast is creamy. Stir until the yeast dissolves. In a large bowl, combine the 2 cups flour and the salt. Add the yeast mixture, 1 tablespoon olive oil and stir until a soft dough forms. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead, adding more flour if necessary, until smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes. Lightly coat a large bowl with oil. Place the dough in the bowl, turning it to oil the top. Cover with plastic wrap. Place in a warm, draft-free place and let rise until doubled in bulk, about 1 1/2 hours. Flatten the dough with your fist. Cut the dough into 2 pieces and shape the pieces into balls. Flatten the dough slightly. Dust the tops with flour. Place the balls of dough on a floured surface and cover each with plastic wrap, allowing room for the dough to expand. Let rise 60 minutes, or until doubled.

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

Lightly dust your surface area with flour. Roll/toss/stretch the dough 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 the roasted garlic all over the crust and add chicken, sundried tomatoes, and Roma tomatoes. Season with salt and pepper. Cover the entire pizza with the cheeses and scallions. 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. Sprinkle the pizza with Italian parsley and serve with additional parmesan cheese and red chili flakes.

*Loosely inspired by Cooking Light


Roasted Garlic Chicken Pizza

Margherita Pizza with Crispy Bacon

Margherita Pizza with Crispy Bacon


One afternoon while having lunch, we caught an episode of America’s Test Kitchen where they made a Pizza Bianco. It looked so easy and delicious that I stopped mid bite of my sandwich and feverishly began jotting down the recipe for the pizza dough. I was drawn to it as it almost had a focaccia-like consistency.

A few weeks later, with some more time on my hands and ambition at my side, I decided to give A.T.K.’s pizza dough a spin. True to form, like many of their recipes, it was easy. However, it was VERY time consuming. Mix this, wait 5 minutes….spin that, wait 2 minutes, flip 101 times….you get the point. But I must admit that the end result was well worth the wait.

I also opted out of their “bianco” style pizza in lieu of a tomato based sauce I created myself. To honor the Margherita Pizza, I used homegrown basil, creamy Bocconcini Mozzarella, and quickly roasted sliced tomatoes. And for that added extra punch, I topped it all off with crumbled crispy bacon. Why? Because I LOVE bacon.

WE LOVED IT! It was so savory, gooey from the cheese, bright from the basil and 95% homemade so you know where everything comes from. Incidentally, I didn’t make the cheese though I have ALWAYS wanted to try! There’s always next time. We also drizzled some of the baked pizza with some deliciously high quality finishing olive oil….very Italiano!

Word to the wise, start this recipe when you aren’t the least bit hungry. Having to wait for the dough to rise is quite time consuming and could be a monster if you’re hungry! :)

Adding the fixings

Enjoy!

Margherita Pizza with Crispy Bacon
Serves Approximately 4

Pizza Dough (From America’s Test Kitchen)
3 Cups All Purpose Flour
1 ¼ Teaspoon Salt
1 ⅔ Cups Water
1 ½ Teaspoon Yeast
1¼ Teaspoon Sugar
2 Tablespoon Olive Oil (extra for greasing)
2 Tablespoons Corn Meal (finely ground)

Tomato Sauce
1 32 Ounce Can of Plum Tomatoes
1 Tablespoon of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 Clove Finely Dice Garlic
1 Teaspoon Red Chili Flakes
1 Teaspoon Dried Oregano
¼ Teaspoon Dried Fennel
Salt and Pepper to taste

Toppings
12 Fresh Bocconcini Mozzarella (cut in half)
1 Plum Tomato, sliced, and slightly roasted at 400 degrees for 10 minutes
4 Slices Bacon, cooked, and crumbled into large pieces
5-6 Fresh Basil Leaves

Preheat Oven to 450 degrees for one hour before you are ready to bake the pizza (preferably with a Pizza Stone).

In Mixer using a Dough Hook, combine flour, salt, and water just to combine. Approximately 3-4 minutes. Let rest for an additional 20 minutes.  Add yeast and sugar. Mix for 2 minutes. Turn on Mixer on High Speed and mix for an additional 6-10 minute until dough is glossy & smooth. Dough should begin pulling away from bowl. In another large bowl, oil the surface with 1 Tablespoon of Olive Oil Bowl. Transfer dough to bowl, add another 1 Tablespoon to the top. Cover with plastic wrap and let triple in volume – approximately 2-2 ½ hours.

While dough is resting, prepare tomato sauce. In a sauce pot, heat olive oil for 1 minute. Add garlic and cook until fragrant. Add chili flakes and heat for an additional minute. Add the entire can of tomatoes with liquids to the pot. Let simmer for 2-3 minutes. With the back of a wooden spoon (or potato masher), break down and crush the tomatoes. Add oregano and fennel and simmer on low for an additional 5 minutes. Remove from heat. In a food processor or blender, carefully puree the tomato mixture. Leave thick so that it spreads well over the dough. Salt and pepper to taste.

Cover a baking pan with 2 Tablespoons of Olive Oil. Sprinkle corn meal evenly across the pan and turn dough into pan. Lightly and gently spread dough across pan. If the dough does not hold shape and snaps back, let rest for an additional 5 minutes. Once the dough has been spread onto the pan, let it sit on countertop for another 5-10 minutes until it gets good and bubbly.

Dock the dough 30-40 times and parbake for about 15 minutes. It should be lightly brown on the top. Pull from oven and spread the Tomato sauce to cover.  Add roasted sliced tomatoes, cheese, and bacon. Put back into the oven for about 5-10 minutes until cheese is lightly brown. Add fresh basil and continue cooking for an additional 5 minutes.

Remove from oven and let cool in pan for a few minutes before transferring to a cutting board. Cut with a Pizza Slicer (or bread knife) and Enjoy!