Pizzas

Summer Squash Blossom Skillet Pizza

Summer Squash Blossom Pizza
I was at the Hillcrest Farmers Market last weekend and beautiful squash blossoms were in almost every produce stall.

I was PUMPED!!!

I love squash blossoms. They remind me of growing up in Minnesota when my grandparents had a big garden in the backyard and my grandpa tended to his gorgeous dahlias in the front of the house.

Summer Squash Blossom Pizza

Oddly enough, out of all the edible things they grew, I remember the elephant ear stalks and squashes the most.

Elephant ear stalks, or bạc hà in Vietnamese, are often used in our stir-fry dishes and sour-tamarind soups (canh chua). And if you’re wondering how the heck they managed to grow plants in Minnesota that are indigenous to tropical climates—-I can’t help you there.

Seriously. I have no clue how my grandparents and parents coaxed them out of the frigid ground. But they did.

OG hustlers.

Squash Blossom
As for the squashes, I remember them most because….I hated them.

Yup. Hated them.

As in, when they showed up at the dinner table, I was guaranteed to be the last one there because I would just stare at my bowl piled high with pureed squash. UGH!  I would sit there for what seemed like centuries, refusing to eat it. That is, until my grandparents had pity on me and coerced my parents to letting me off the hook.

Did I mention I was the baby of the family?

Oh…and it was probably more like 10 minutes than a hundred years but when you’re eight, 5 minutes could feel like FOH-EVAH!!

Summer Squash Blossom Pizza

But as much as squash was my mortal enemy, I used to love looking at their bright and colorful blossoms. I may have also been caught plucking a few off the vine from time to time. Hey–a kid had to keep herself entertained while her older sibbies ditched her for their friends.

Yes, that’s me unabashedly trying to elicit sympathy. Did it work?

Summer Squash Blossom Pizza
Fast forward to 2017 and I’m still not a fan of most squashes. I do like zucchinis but will most definitely pass on butternut squash, pumpkins, acorn squash, kabochas…..

Hey–just consider it more for you all to enjoy.

But I still love squash blossoms. They have a mild zucchini flavor and are just so darn pretty. I usually have them as fritto misto or stuffed. But my favorite way to have them is on top of a pizza.

Summer Squash Blossom Pizza
The first time I had squash blossom pizza was at Pizzeria Mozza and I was hooked! It’s a simple preparation of their awesome pizza crust with a light red sauce, tons of blossoms and then topped with fresh burrata when out of the oven. And I’m a sucker for burrata!

Armed with a bundle of fresh summer zucchini blossoms from the market, I went home and whipped up a quick batch of dough (1 yeast envelope. 1/4 tsp. sugar, 1 1/4 cups warm water, 1 Tbs. olive oil, 3 cups AP flour & 1 tsp salt) and turned to my favorite cast iron skillet method to make some pizza.

Summer Squash Blossom Pizza

These days, I lean towards pizzas without red sauce and prefer to use fresh tomato slices (or halves) instead. I brushed the dough with a garlic-herb oil, topped it with lots of fresh mozzarella, blossoms and grape tomatoes before quickly cooking it off. Once out of the oven, the pie was sprinkled with parmesan cheese and chopped chives.

Verdict?

Summerifically delish! But if you’re feeling into it, top it with some fresh burrata like Mozza does or a quenelle or three of ricotta.

Allora!   <<< Just threw that in for my Master of None peeps. ❤

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Summer Squash Blossom Skillet Pizza
Serves 2

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon minced garlic
½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
1-teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
5 ounces fresh pizza dough, rested and at room temperature
all purpose flour
1 teaspoon ground corn meal
kosher salt
¼ pound thinly sliced fresh mozzarella cheese
6 large zucchini squash blossoms, stamens removed
10 grape tomatoes, halved
1 tablespoon chopped chives
1 tablespoon grated parmesan cheese

In a small pan, add the olive oil, garlic, pepper flakes and thyme. Heat over medium-low for 5 minutes to allow the oil to infuse. Set aside.

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 cutting board.

Brush the infused olive oil over the dough and sprinkle salt all over the dough. Top with mozzarella cheese and place the blossoms, fanned out in a circle. Place the halved tomatoes on top.

Once the skillet has heated for the appropriate length of time, quickly and CAREFULLY slide the pizza into the skillet. Place the skillet on a burner over medium heat and allow it to begin cooking for 2 minutes. Move the skillet back to the oven so it sits directly underneath the broiler.

Close the oven door and allow the pizza to cook for about 60-90 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 5 minutes. Sprinkle the top with chives and parmesan cheese. Transfer the pizza to a cutting board, slice up and enjoy!

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Pizzas · Vegetables/Vegetarian

Ratatouille Pizza

Ratatouille Pizza
You may not know this about me but I’m a Disney freak.

For years my movie library was primarily filled with the clam-shell VHS cases of animated Disney films. Yes, you read correctly — VHS.

I can recite entire movies without effort, enthusiastically sing (albeit, in a tone deaf pitch) every song, and have a rather impressive “who’s-its and what’s-its galore” collection of Disney chotskies.

So it should be no surprise that my inspiration dish for National Pizza Month came while watching Disney’s Ratatouille the other week. The movie is now near 10 years old but if you haven’t seen it yet—drop everything and watch it!!

Oh that Remy……

Ratatouille Pizza
Ratatouille is a French Provençal dish that features veggies in a slow cooked stew. It was while Remy was layering the veggies for his remake of Ratatouille that I thought –HOT DAMN! Those flavors would be fantastic on a pizza! Eggplant, squashes, peppers, tomatoes, basil — perfect!!!

With those flavors in mind, I took to my beloved cast iron skillet method to fix up a gorgeous pizza. I smothered a generous layer of my homemade marinara that mimicked the stewed tomatoes of Ratatouille with its onions, garlic, oregano, and fennel. Next came a shingled layer of roasted eggplant, roasted zucchini and few slices of red bell pepper that I chose not to roast so that it could hold a bit of its crunch through the short cooking process. After the whole pizza broiled, I placed torn pieces of burrata on top because burrata makes everything better! And right before serving, I sprinkled the the whole thing with some sea salt, fresh cracked pepper, chili flakes and ribbons of fresh basil.

What do ya think? Isn’t it a beauty? And it tasted even better than it looked!

Remy would be proud.

HAPPY NATIONAL PIZZA MONTH!!!

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Ratatouille Pizza
Serves 2

Ingredients:

12-15 ¼-inch slices eggplant
12-15 ¼-inch slices zucchini or summer squash
olive oil, divided
kosher salt
5 ounces fresh pizza dough, rested and at room temperature
all purpose flour
1 teaspoon ground corn meal
¾ cup marinara
1 teaspoon minced garlic
leaves from 2 sprigs fresh thyme
10-12 thin slices red bell pepper
3 ounces fresh burrata cheese, torn into pieces
sea salt
fresh cracked black pepper
¼ teaspoon red chili flakes
2-3 large fresh basil leaves chiffonade

Preheat oven to 475 degrees F. Place the eggplant and zucchini on a baking sheet. Brush each slice with olive oil and sprinkle with kosher salt. Roast the vegetables in the oven for 10-15 minutes until they are soft and become golden. Remove the sheet and allow to cool.

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 (12-14 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 heats, 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 olive oil over the dough.

Once the skillet has heated for the appropriate length of time, quickly and CAREFULLY remove the skillet from the oven. Slide the dough into the skillet. Quickly spread the marinara over the dough and sprinkle the minced garlic and thyme leaves over. Layer with the slices of eggplant, zucchini and bell pepper. Carefully replace the skillet in the oven so it sits directly underneath the broiler. Close the oven door and allow the pizza to cook for about 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 and bell peppers are slightly charred, CAREFULLY remove the skillet from the oven and place it on a cooling rack for 3-4 minutes. While the pizza rests, top with burrata cheese and allow the heat to melt it.

After the pizza has fully rested, sprinkle the tops with sea salt, freshly cracked black pepper and red pepper flakes. Sprinkle the basil over the pizza and transfer to a cutting board, slice up and enjoy!

*If you don’t want to use the cast iron skillet method, assemble the entire pizza (with the exception of the basil and cheese) on a baking sheet. Bake in a 500 degree F oven for about 15-20 minutes until the crust becomes golden brown. Remove the sheet from the oven and follow the remaining steps of the above recipe.

Pizzas

Burrata Caprese & Prosciutto Skillet Pizza

Burrata Caprese Skillet Pizza

It’s Monday y’all….

And yes, my struggle is real today…. yawn……

So to cope with those Monday blues, I’ve got something that will wake you up and help kick start your week – Burrata Caprese & Prosciutto Skillet Pizza.

Hellooooooo Beautiful!

Burrata Caprese Skillet Pizza

It’s the final installment to my summer ode to Burrata Caprese while using my favorite way to make pizzas at home–in a cast iron skillet! The cast iron allows the pizza dough to puff up and get wonderfully crisp and slightly charred—mimicking a pizza oven. And it cooks the pizza in just a couple of minutes —WINNING!

As for the Burrata Caprese — you know how much I adore it. My other two posts featuring the combo highlighted the burrata in its fresh form. This time, I opted to add it to the pizza dough before broiling it so that it became ooey-gooey melted and creamy.

Trust me, it was the best decision I ever made! Or at the very least, the best decision I made that day. ❤

 

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Burrata Caprese & Prosciutto Skillet Pizza
Serves 2

Ingredients:

1 heaping cup diced tomatoes
2 garlic cloves minced, divided
2-3 pinches kosher salt
2-3 pinches black pepper
¼ teaspoon red chili flakes
extra virgin olive oil, divided
5 large fresh basil leaves, julienned – more to garnish
5 ounces fresh pizza dough, rested and at room temperature
all purpose flour
1 teaspoon ground corn meal
3 ounces fresh burrata cheese, torn into pieces
½ tablespoon grated parmesan cheese
1 slice prosciutto, torn into pieces

In a small bowl, mix together the tomatoes, half of the garlic, kosher salt, black pepper, red chili flakes, ½ tablespoon olive oil, and julienne basil. Set aside.

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 remaining garlic over it. Quickly top with burrata cheese. 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 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 3-4 minutes. Sprinkle the top with parmesan cheese, prosciutto, tomato mixture and remaining basil leaves. Transfer the pizza to a cutting board, slice up and enjoy!

Pizzas

Alsatian Pizza …. Sorta.

"Kinda" Alsatian Pizza

If I see an Alsatian Pizza on a menu, I’ve got to order it.

Because if I don’t do it—I won’t stop thinking about it and will have regrets for the rest of my life!! MY ENTIRE LIFE!!

Too Much?

Sorry–I haven’t had my Diet Coke today. Anyway…..

Alsatian Pizzas are pure and uncomplicated but oh-so-lovely. Typically it consists of a perfect pizza dough, fromage blanc –or crème fraîche, onions and bacon. How easy is that?!

But don’t let the few ingredients fool you because they’re wonderfully paired. The creamy, slightly sharp and piquant crème fraîche is tamed by the sweet onions and salty bacon.

Heaven.

As in—I’m praying they serve Alsatian Pizzas in Heaven.

"Kinda" Alsatian Pizza2
But you all know me and I can never leave things alone. So I decided to up the ante and add shredded gruyere, sliced mushrooms, and use BOTH caramelized and raw red onions. Why the heck not—LET’S GET CRAZY TODAY!!!

Because it is National Wine Day, which incidentally, goes perfect with my “sorta” Alsatian Pizza. ❤

Cheers!!
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Alsatian Pizza….Sorta.
Serves 2

Ingredients:

4 slices thick cut bacon, thinly cross sliced
¾ cup sliced red onions, divided
6 ounces fresh pizza dough, rested and at room temperature
all purpose flour
½ cup crème fraîche
1 cup shredded gruyere cheese
1 cup sliced crimini mushrooms
2 sprigs fresh thyme
kosher salt
black pepper
extra virgin olive oil
½ tablespoon corn meal
¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 tablespoons chopped parsley

Preheat oven to 500 degrees F.

While the oven preheats, cook the bacon in a skillet over medium-low heat until the fat has rendered and the bacon begins to get crispy. Do not over-brown the bacon, as it will continue to crisp in the oven. Use a slotted spoon and transfer the bacon bits to a plate covered with paper towels. Sauté ½ cup onions over medium heat in the bacon drippings until they become golden brown. Set aside

Take the pizza dough and flatten it with your hands on a floured surface. Use a floured rolling pin to gently roll the crust to about ¼ of an inch thickness. Transfer the rolled out dough to a pizza paddle or lightly floured cutting board. Spread the crème fraîche evenly over the dough. Scatter the caramelized onions, gruyere, bacon, crimini and fresh thyme leaves on top. Season the entire pizza with salt and pepper and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil.

If you have a baking steel/stone in the oven, gently slide the pizza on top. Otherwise, sprinkle a baking sheet with corn meal and slide the pizza on top of it. Bake the pizza for 12-15 minutes until the crust becomes golden brown.

Remove the pizza from the oven. Sprinkle the remaining sliced red onions, red chili pepper flakes and parsley over the top. Slice the pizza and serve warm