Fontina and Prosciutto Pizza with Arugula

Ahhhhrugula! I think I’ve decided that if I were going to eat one food for the rest of my life it’d be pizza. I love all sorts of crazy toppings and I have learned a thing or two.

I was partially inspired by the last pretty authentic neopolitan pizza I’ve had lately (Antico Forno) when I dreamed this one up. I also was feeling a salad-y topped pizza for a change too. It’s nicely springy and would even be a good vehicle for any leftover Easter ham you have kicking around!
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Ingredients:

pizza dough
1 tbs chopped garlic
3 tbs olive oil
2 cups shredded fontina
4-6 slices of prosciutto
3 cups arugula
drizzle of truffle oil
¼ cup with shaved Parmesan

Directions:

Pre-bake the crust for 15 minutes at 425 degrees.
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Top with cheese and garlic/olive oil mixture brushed on crust. Return to the oven until melted (about 5 minutes)
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Once out of the oven, top with slices of prosciutto
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Then top with arugula tossed with truffle oil
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It was good, and different. I liked the few quality ingredients. The prosciutto was salty and the fontina was googy and nutty. By not cooking the prosciutto, it kept it really soft and bite-able.
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I actually didn’t top the whole thing since obviously it was going to be lunch the next day. It reheated well too!

Homemade Pizza Techniques

Here’s a short bite for ya on this holiday…

As you either know, or as you can tell, I’m pizza obsessed. I don’t always order it but I love it in all forms and I’ve messed around with it a lot. It is still a work in progress but as I was adjusting to my oven, you saw this pizza go wayyy too far in the oven. Here’s my latest, greatest, tip for crunchy crust at home.

are you ready???

Prebake the dough a bit!

I put the dough onto my hot pizza stone and baked it a bit (5 minutes or so) before I topped it and put it back in! That’s how it came out looking like this:
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rather than like last time when it looked like this:
neopolitan_pizza_2_590_390 The crust didn’t crisp enough and the cheese was starting to basically disintegrate. Forget about the basil, that was toast…literally.

So, my latest greatest technique proved itself and I was psyched. It probably needed a minute less to not look like the fake-n-bake bimbo of the pizza world.

It might not be like the true neopolitan pizza of Naples, it is by far my latest success!
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I sure am thankful for this holiday today. My office’s Valentine’s Day potluck is burning a whole in my pocket!

Old Stove

Antico Forno: this restaurant named for the “old stove” warmed my heart. I love the North End in Boston and I love improptu date nights even more! We had a deal gift certificate that was on the verge of expiring and it was such a treat to have such a fun dinner on a weeknight! Mr. J had heard their pizza was pretty authentically Neopolitan and ever since the honeymoon pizza he’s been as obsessed about pizza as I always have been!

We started by sharing a salad. It was awesome and plenty to share. It had field greens, goat cheese, cherry tomatoes, grilled zucchini stuffed with goat cheese, and a crispy flat bread…kind of like flattened focaccia.
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I can take or leave goat cheese so I didn’t think the zucchini needed to be stuffed with it since it was crumbled on top too, but the salad was good. The zucchini was a great addition to make this salad a bit more special.

Then we split 2 pizzas…and took a lot home. I blame the addicting flattened focaccia for filling us up.

We got one margahrita. We had to compare it to pizzas of Italy.
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The other was called Vesuvio. This pizza had homemade mozzarella, roasted peppers, ricotta, tomatoes, and sliced prosciutto.
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Check out the good stuff under this to-die-for-pizza. The ricotta was sweet and creamy. The prosciutto was perfectly salty and not tough at all.
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We ended the evening with a race to the train. Literally. We began realizing that since we had hurried over there, we were actually ending the meal basically in time for the earlier train. The later train would mean we needed to kill some time with a drink or whatever.

Somehow we made it. We ran outside to cross the street and enthusiastically hailed a cab. Theoretically we shouldn’t have made it in time but the red lights our cab ran through became a blur and we were on our train home. Whew.

Hail Caesar

My sis was coming over for dinner and I was trying to think what would be a good idea for her first meal from my new kitchen. I thought of her love of chicken Caesar salad and decided to tweak it a bit. I made it into a pizza!
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It didn’t come out perfectly but I’m still getting acclimated to my new oven. It went from not done to quite crispy in just a minute. I made the Caesar dressing earlier in the day and marinated chicken breast pieces in some dressing.

Caesar Dressing:

Ingredients:
4 garlic cloves
2 tbs mustard
1 tbs white vinegar
2 tbs mayo
2/3 cup olive oil
1 tbs lemon juice
¼ tsp ground black pepper
1 tbs Parmesan cheese

Directions:

Combine garlic, mustard, vinegar, and mayo in a blender.
Slowly stream in olive oil and lemon juice until blended completely.
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Transfer to a jar and mix in pepper and cheese by hand.
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Refrigerate at least 2 hours before serving.

Caesar Pizza

Ingredients:
1 pizza dough ball
¼ cup pesto
1 cup mozzarella shredded
1-2 hearts of romaine
2 chicken breast (marinated in Caesar dressing), grilled and sliced
¼ cup Parmesan cheese
1 cup croutons (optional)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Stretch pizza dough out onto a greased and floured baking pan or pizza stone and top with pesto (I used sundried tomato pesto).
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Add mozzarella and grilled chicken slices.
Bake for 15 minutes, or until golden brown (not torched like mine)
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While pizza is baking, chop romaine and toss with dressing.
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Allow pizza to cool for a minute or two and top each slice with lettuce mix.
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I drizzled some dressing over the pizza since mine was overdone (and pretty dried out) before adding the lettuce.

I made some croutons just for fun by just toasting some bread cubes with olive oil and some seasonings.
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Overall, it was good and I’d probably make it again. I have since tried an alternative pizza technique to ensure I get the crust crispy without massacring everything else. Stay tuned for that one and just wait till you see what our office Valentine’s Day Potluck was!

Mashed Potato Pizza Pie

I had to! I’ve been remembering the Pizzaria Uno’s “Pizza Skins” aka deep dish pizza with mashed potatoes and all the fixings ever since I first made a sliced potato pizza last year.
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All my stars aligned when I was thinking what I could make for dinner without having to grocery shop. I live to avoid grocery shopping. I had a frozen ball of dough, a scant amount of cheddar cheese, a bag of potatoes, and of course I always have bacon!

Ingredients

1 ball of pizza dough (I used wheat here)
2 large potatoes
2 tbs butter
2 tbs cream cheese
1 cup cheddar, shredded
2 strips of bacon, cooked and crumbled

Directions

Preheat oven to 400-degrees.
Prepare mashed potatoes (I mix mine with butter and cream cheese and I left some chunks).
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Spread pizza dough into a circular cake pan or deep dish pizza pan. (I spread some jarred pesto, but it’s not crucial.)
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Layer with half the cheddar cheese and half the bacon.
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Carefully spread mashed potatoes.
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Bake for 40 minutes until edges of dough are crisping.
Immediately after removing from oven, top with remaining cheese and bacon.
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I liked this one. I thought it was fun and different with comforting flavors. I would have used more cheese if I had it. Sour cream, ranch dressing, or scallions would have been fun additions as well.

Since Mr. J and I would easily consume more bacon than our bodies neeeeeed, I freeze it in 2 strip packets (2 strips = 1 serving) and usually label it as maple, thick cut, etc. If I don’t, a lot seems to disappear between the pan and our plates. Unfortunately I hadn’t labeled my bacon so it was a gamble coming out of the freezer and turns out it was maple. That made it a tiny bit weird. Whatev…we ate it anyway.

You could make itty bitty ones in muffin tins for single size portions! These would be so cute for a tailgating party etc. You could also stretch it a lot further if you made a regular flat pizza, rather than a deep dish.
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Cost (be prepared to be amazed)

Mashed Potato Pizza

pizza dough: $1.50
2 potatoes: $1.58
1 cup shredded cheddar: $0.93
2 slices of bacon: $0.49
total = $4.50 for the pizza (=$1.12 per serving)

Yes, folks, $1.12 per serving (I assumed you had butter and cream cheese is optional). Can’t beat that Uno’s can ya?! (Ha! Theirs half the size is $9.49 near me!)

 

 

Pizza Recreation

Back when I went to the pizza class, I felt surprised so many people there don’t make pizza regularly. I’ve never had a pizza catastrophe so I wasn’t sure what the big scare was. Until now. Dun Dun Dunnnn!
neopolitan_pizza_done_590_390Mr. J and I were so excited to recreate the AMAZING Neapolitan pizza we had in Naples. Remember that? I like thick, puffy, and crispy crust (and usually I’m in a hurry) so I don’t stretch the dough out all that much. When dough is cold is does that elasticy bounce-back even when you have stretched it out. It isn’t as sticky when it’s cold. Guess what happened when I tried for thinner than I’ve ever done.
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Bahhh. I was getting frustrated so Mr. J swooped in and saved the day. That’s how badly he wanted this pizza! Our rolling pin was MIA so he used the next handiest thing. It was cold which probably helped too.
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Ingredients

pizza dough
tomato sauce (I used Pastene’s Kitchen Ready tomatoes)
fresh mozzarella, sliced
basil leaves

Directions

Preheat oven and pizza stone to 450 degrees (mine takes forever so I whipped up some fried ravioli while I was waiting!)
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Roll out dough to the thinnest you can get without holes and place onto pizza stone or pan.
Spread tomato sauce onto dough
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Layer mozzarella slices on and sprinkle basil on top.
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Bake 15 minutes or until outer crust is crunchy and cheese melts.

It was really delicious. I think because it was so think I had trouble crisping the edges without destroying the cheese. I thought maybe next time I’d pre-cook the crust for a few minutes. Or maybe I’ll cover the middle with foil and try to crisp the crusts a bit. Maybe I’ll throw the basil on when it’s almost cooked.
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Ms. C is prob in her glory with all the pizza I’ve had lately and what is still to come! But man, I just can’t compete with a 700-degree brick pizza oven!

This pizza is so simple so the ingredients are super important to shine through. I love this tomato sauce because it doesn’t have any water, just tomatoes and some tomato puree. It’s our new sauce at home now.
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Since I haven’t quite mastered the Neopolitan pizza, where do you suggest I get one in Boston/greater Boston? Any tips on making my own? Don’t be bashful now!

Birthplace of Pizza

My honeymoon was simply amazing. Beyond words. We saw some really amazing sites in Italy and Spain and definitely have memories for a lifetime. I loved Barcelona and Florence. They were my favorites. I had such high hopes for Naples and wasn’t a big fan. It’s quite smelly and loud. I just hoped to see a charming town not infiltrated with tourists where we could wander, eat, and repeat.They’ve had a trash problem. It doesn’t explain the lack of ladies hanging their laundry out windows and the guys hanging around pizzarias I was looking forward to. This image in my head wasn’t the case. I mean, this is the BIRTHPLACE OF PIZZA! I thought it had to be amazing!We did have the most delicious pizza I’ve ever tasted. I have to tell you that before I relay our crazy pizza adventure.
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We found this pizzaria called Pizzeria Pellone that Anthony Bourdain went to. The pizza is to die for, but I’m also thankful that we made it out without losing cameras, or fingers, to an intense owner. Seriously. He was very scary and did not at all appreciate us tourists in his restaurant. At all. This blog seemed to catch him on a good day?

Mr. J has serious camera equipment. Like paparazzi style with 2 bodies, multiple lenses, tripods strapped into a camera backpack which suggests he’s hiking across Europe. (Love you Mr. J!) He took the time to put one away into the bag and the other was strung across his chest before we went in. I had my camera in my purse so other than the camera bag, the guy wouldn’t have known I’m snap-happy around my food.
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This man stands guard at the front of the restaurant while his staff scurries around. We were seated in his direct view, by the door. He immediately came over and picked up Mr. J’s camera still strapped to him. This guy wasn’t having it. The other server said something in Italian and he finally backed off. Looking none to pleased. Mr. J remained calm while this guy practically manhandled his camera. Don’t mess with Mr. J’s dog or his camera.

I’m pretty sure they only answered me as to “where is the bathroom” because I asked in Italian.

We decided it best not to take any photos. It was that intense. We hadn’t even suggested that we would be taking photos. We ate the best pizza of our lives, finished our wine & beer and got out of there. Mr. J suggested we take the leftovers to go so at least we could get a photo outside. He’s always looking out for me.

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The bottom crust was so paper thin you’d never pick it up. The sauce was light and pink. It definitely didn’t have any herbs in it. The buffalo mozzarella was to-die-for. So good! Whole leafs of basil were crisped on top.

It was so filling. I don’t know how they each eat a whole one. We split one and didn’t finish it. I’ll remember the meal forever, and especially the pizza forever. I’ll try to recreate.

Easy-Peasy Pizza

This isn’t just any pizza…it is Greek pizza. I remember making this pizza back in my grocery shopping days at Trader Joe’s without a car. It wasn’t alllll that long ago, but it sure feels like a different life. My shopping modus operandi was: lightweight. Carrying bags on the subway is really not fun, especially when they are heavy. Trader Joe’s is great for random ingredients to put together. I came home with an artichoke tapande and wasn’t sure how I would use it. This time I used a sundried tomato spread that wouldn’t be great as a sauce otherwise.
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This pizza is super easy and thrown together. I whipped up these for a week of lunches while making dinner one night. My recipe makes 5 pizzas. Making little pizzas only took me about 20 minutes, including the baking time! So simple!
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Ingredients
wheat pita bread
1 cup tapenade or pesto (I used sundried tomato pesto)
1 cup shredded mozzarella
½ tsp dried oregano
½ tsp dried basil
3 cups baby spinach, chopped
1 cup fetaDirections
Preheat oven to 375 degrees
Top pitas with pesto and dried herbs & salt/pepper.
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Layer mozzarella onto the pizza
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Add chopped spinach to each pizza and top with feta.

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Bake 10 minutes.I undercooked these somewhat so I could pop one in the toaster oven at work for lunch each day. It was good! The flavor comes from the pesto and the seasoning. Feta gets even better after being baked.

My fridge only had scant amounts of mozzarella and feta leftover so next time I might use more. I used full sandwich sized pitas but think the mini pitas would turn this into a fun appetizer.
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I like the freshness and ease of these.

Pizza Class

Ms. L and I suffer through countless emails a week ALL YEAR until the “Take for 10” comes out. This one week a year is when the Boston Center for Adult Educationoffers select classes for $10…instead of the regular $140 +$75 for materials.Last year we took a great class and were kicking ourselves that we hadn’t signed up for more than one. This year we were ready. There were so many we wanted to take.Well, we missed our chance and the classes we really wanted were full. On the waiting list we went. The next day we decided to try some others. I got a spot in the Pizza & Calzone class. Ms. L got wait-listed. I can’t say she missed much.bcae_lineup_390_590
I went by myself and was psyched my former colleague was there. It was nice to see a familiar face and the group was very friendly as well. I can’t quite say as many good things about the class.

If you read often, you’ve noticed I make pizzas and calzones all the time. I didn’t really learn anything and I wasn’t impressed. It really should have been called Pizza 101 or Intro to Pizza. Notice I didn’t mention calzones in either title option…that’s because we did not once talk about calzones in the class. I did agree with her sauce choice, it was a good one.
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We each got a blob of dough to play with. I felt like a 6-year-old playing while mom made dinner. Our instructor used refrigerated dough, and preshredded cheese. I mean I do too, but this seemed basic for a class.
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She also introduced us to a pizza stone. I love mine, and I’m glad I already knew the correct care instructions since hers seemed a bit incorrect.
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We made a big pizza on a pan and one on the stone to taste the difference.
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I’ll have to be more selective next time when choosing a class. I enjoyed the class I took last year, and I took a Intro to Blogging class and was really impressed. This just wasn’t the right fit for me.

Breakfast Pizza

The last time I made pizza with bacon I ended up wishing I’d done it breakfast-style. No time like the present! I broke out the pizza stone and got to work. Only after proclaiming my love for the pizza stone, of course.
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Ingredients

1 ball of dough
1/4 cup marinara sauce
4 strips of bacon, cooked & crumbled
1 cup shredded mozzarella
1 cup shredded cheddar
3 green onions, chopped

Directions

1) Preheat pizza stone to 375 degrees.
2) Top dough with sauce and shredded cheese making four divots for eggs.
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3) Sprinkle with bacon and green onions.
4) Crack eggs into divots and bake immediately.
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5) Bake for 35 minutes until crisp and egg fully cooked.

I loved this pizza! It wasn’t the greatest reheated…but I’m sure you can guess I ate it anyway. The egg got funky but hey, if it meant I didn’t have to grocery shop or find something else, then I’d eat almost anything.

I think I would also like to try a scrambled egg-type of pizza. Like this. Or this. I’m trying to think up fun and exciting new pizza themes for my next one. Maybe I’ll have to give a thin crust a whirl. Any suggestions for toppings?
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The pizza stone has changed my life and my pizza. It’s such a difference. If you have one, you’ll agree. If you don’t, you should go get one.  The dough is fluffy and puffy, which I love.