Posts Tagged ‘Mozzarella’

We have been having a mixed bag of weather. Rain, sunshine, hail, thunder, lightning, and now snow! What could be better on a cold spring evening than a pizza? Again, this pizza does not use sauce but tomatoes in its place!

Pizza dough
Extra virgin olive oil
4 medium tomatoes, sliced thin
1 1/2 tsp basil leaves
1 1/2 tsp oregano leaves
3 cloves finely chopped fresh garlic
Mozzarella, cheddar and asiago to your liking
Hard salami
Chopped tomatoes, from the tops and bottoms of the tomatoes
black olives

Tomatoes sliced for the pizza

These tomatoes are not too bad for this time of year. Summer time tomatoes are best, but these will do!

Lay out your crust then let it rest. Turn the oven on to 425 degrees. When the oven is hot, place the pizza dough in the oven for about 8 minutes. Remove from the oven, and let it sit for about 5 minutes. Then brush on the olive oil, lay out the sliced tomatoes, and add your herbs and the garlic.

Add the herbs and garlic

Top this with 2/3 of the cheese. Follow this with the pepperoni, salami, tomatoes, mushrooms and olives.

Add the toppings

Follow this with the remainder of the cheese. Then place this in the oven,

Pizza is in the oven

and set the timer for about 10 minutes. Check the crust to see how it is doing. I had to add another five minutes to the timer.

Pizza right out of the oven!

Let the pizza sit for about 5 minutes, then slice it up!

Pizza is served!

Serve this up with a hearty red wine or an ice cold beer!

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I could live on Pizza!  It is one of my most favorite foods.  Who doesn’t love all that gooey cheese? But pizza did not start out with all that gooey cheese!

Pizza has been around for a long time, and what we call pizza today is not the pizza of the past! Pizza is actually Greek in origin. Ancient Greeks used to cover their bread with oil, herbs and cheese. The name Pizza is derived from the Latin word “pinsere” which means to press. The Romans had their version too. They called it “placenta.” This pizza was made of dough covered with cheese, honey and bay leaves.

What we eat today comes from Naples. This pizza, called a Neapolitan pie added tomatoes to the cheese about 1889. The Pizza Margherita was named after the Queen of Italy who was presented with a pizza resembling the Italian flag. This pizza was made with tomatoes for the red color in the flag, mozzarella for the white and basil for the green! This is still a popular pizza today!

Around the world everyone has their own style pizza. In Australia the pizza is made with tomato sauce, mozzarella, and bacon and eggs. Mmmm…breakfast pizza! Indian pizza includes tandori chicken and paneer. Korean pizza includes sweet potatoes, shrimp and crab. In Brazil they use bananas, pineapple and chocolate as toppings.

The best pizza I have ever had was in New York City. There is just something about New York pizza that is different from anywhere else that I have eaten pizza. In New York City you can buy pizza by the slice and then follow it up with my other favorite: Italian ice! Raspberry is my favorite flavor of that sweet dessert.

My all time favorite pizza is pepperoni, sausage, mushroom and extra cheese. What is yours? Do you make your own pizza? What do you top yours with? Please share this with me as I think making pizza will be coming as a future blog! And, one with some unusual ingredients!

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I found this recipe back in 1998 when it was published by Bon Appetit Magazine. The credit for the recipe goes to Russell Ito from San Mateo, CA. The flavors in this are quite lovely. There is the delicate flavors of the shallots, mushrooms and spinach, and the cohesiveness of the mozzarella with a kick from crushed red peppers!

3 TBS extra virgin olive oil
3/4 # Aidell’s Sun Dried Tomato Sausage, cut into thick rounds
3/4 # crimini mushrooms
3/4 cup of chopped shallots
5 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 tsp dried crushed red pepper flakes
1 10 oz. package of ready to use baby spinach leaves
1 1/4 cups of low sodium chicken broth
3/4 # cooked Penne pasta
2 cups of grated mozzarella cheese

Main ingredients

Heat the oil in a large pan over medium high heat. Add the sausages, mushrooms, shallots, garlic and red pepper flakes.

Sausage, mushrooms, shallots, garlic and red chili flakes

Saute these until the mushrooms begin to brown, about 10 minutes.

Mushrooms are browned enough to add the broth and cheese

Add the spinach

Add the spinach and broth

and the chicken broth. Toss until the spinach wilts, about 2 minutes. Then add the pasta and the cheese.

The pasta and the cheese...

Toss until the cheese melts and the sauce coats the pasta, about 3 minutes. Then season with salt and pepper to your liking. Then serve!

Dinner is served!

You can also try this with fully cooked pork sausage, or try it with a turkey sausage. I like the flavors in the sausage I use in this recipe the best!

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Last night we were having dinner with friends Gene and Betsy followed by a game of progressive rummy! So much has been going on lately that we had not had a dinner and card night for a long time! There were two challenges for the evening. The first challenge for was to come up with a vegetarian dinner; the second was to beat Betsy at cards!

Thinking about dinner I wanted to do something that I could prepare ahead, and that is pretty simple to make. So last night I hoped to win at cards and I made Manicotti!

For the stuffing:
2 Eggs
1 1/4 containers of Ricotta cheese
1 15 oz. frozen chopped spinach, thawed and the water squeezed out
2/3 cup of finely minced onion
1 tsp. garlic powder
3/4 tsp. black pepper
1 tsp. parsley flakes
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, shredded
1 cup grated Mozzarella

Manicotti Shells – uncooked
Tomato Basil Sauce – 24 oz. jar + cups of water
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
1 1/2 cups Mozzarella

Beat the eggs until well blended. Add the ricotta and mix well with the eggs until the mixture no longer has lumps. Add the spinach, the onion and the spices. Combine. Then add in the cheese.

Manicotti filling

Everything is ready to go!

Next take the Manicotti shells and with your hands stuff the shells until tightly packed. Next mix the water and the sauce together, and add one cup to a 9×13 baking pan. Shake the pan from side to side to spread it out evenly. Lay the Manicotti in the pan. Cover with the remaining sauce and then sprinkle with the remaining cheese.

Ready to cook

I got this ready ahead of time and then set it in the refrigerator until I am ready to start cooking. When ready to bake, turn the oven on to 350 degrees and bake for 45-55 minutes. Remove from the oven and let it sit for about 5 minutes before serving.

I served dinner fresh steamed asparagus, and Texas toast.

Dinner is served!

We followed this with a salad.

Spring mix salad with raw sunflower seeds

After dinner we shared a Port wine with some really excellent chocolate!

Port and chocolate for dessert

Dinner was a hit!

We played progressive rummy

Card game

and I think someone was cheating!

Someone could be cheating

Needless to say I did not win. Betsy took the game again!

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