Tag Archives: anchovies

Quick & Easy Pizza

I know many people have posted pizza recipes lately. Mine is just the plain and simple ordinary kind. No fuss no muss. I used to make pizzas all the time but stopped for some reason. Then I decided to give the ole dough boy another go. No I do NOT make my own crust. Don’t have time or the patience. So I do the next best thing. I buy the Pillsbury pizza crust in the tube. I like crispy crust so we get the one for thin crust. Fewer calories than the thick one too. I won’t be calling this a diet dish because of the crust but it’s not so bad.

I use my own sauce which I add garlic powder and oregano to. Add some red pepper flakes for more kick if you want. The pizza I made the other day is just a plain pepperoni/sausage cheese pizza. I have one of those stoneware baking pans from Pampered Chef and I used that. When I precooked the crust I sprayed it with a little olive oil cooking spray and sprinkled sesame seeds all along the edges. Came out so tasty and crispy! Not doughy at all. I usually buy the shredded mozzarella cheese but this time I had a coupon for the block so I grated it myself. Much better actually, the cheese was creamier and seemed to have more flavor. I did use part-skim mozzarella of course.

The pepperoni I used was the regular kind and I also used 2 chicken sausages. I peeled the casing off the sausage and cut them into big chunks and put them in the food processor. This way I had ‘ground’ sausage to spread over the pie! Came out awesome. I used the al fresco brand sun-dried tomato chicken sausage. I always stock up on those when they are BOGO in the stores. They freeze wonderfully. Oh and on one half of the pie (my half) I added 4 anchovies as well.  So here is the recipe.


INGREDIENTS:

1 tube of Pillsbury pizza crust

½ cup or so of your favorite tomato sauce/pizza sauce

garlic powder

pepperoni

2 chicken sausages ground up (any Italian flavor is good)

1 cup or so grated part-skim mozzarella cheese

sesame seeds

anchovies if you want

DIRECTIONS:

1. Follow directions on package for oven and pre-cooking the crust. When you have the crust on your baking sheet sprinkle sesame seeds all along the edges. Use as much as you wish.

2. When crust is ready spread the tomato/pizza sauce all over and up to the edges. Sprinkle the ground sausage evenly over the pizza. If you add anchovies place them on evenly through the pie. Spread the cheese evenly on top of that and then top with pepperoni.

3. Bake according to directions on package. I actually put the oven up to 450ºF. I think it calls for 375ºF. I like it more well done. Just keep an eye on it so it doesn’t burn. Check on it after the time is up to make sure the cheese is all melted and bubbly.

Serve it up!


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The Italian Kitchen (Part 3)

Today’s post is all about what should be in an Italian Pantry.  By stocking your kitchen with a few basic ingredients you’ll be ready to prepare most Italian and Tuscan recipes. Our supermarkets are much better at carrying the ingredients than they used to be. But if there’s still something you can’t find, there’s always the “pork store.” You know the place, it always smells so good when you walk by. Basically any Italian specialty store will have anything you need. Remember, using high-quality ingredients at the best price you can get them at is crucial. The better the olive oil, tomatoes and cheese, the better the simple dishes will taste!

This list is just a basic list of what is found in most good Italian kitchens.

Olive Oil: An essential in Italian cooking. Stick with extra-virgin olive oil for most recipes.

Dried Pasta: Use pasta imported from Italy such as Barilla and DeCecco. For the most part any imported pasta products made from semolina flour are good choices. For egg pasta, stay away from the so-called “fresh” pasta sold in refrigerated cases. They aren’t so “fresh” as they would have you believe. Either use homemade or buy the dried noodles packaged in nests.

Tomatoes: When fresh, ripe tomatoes are not available, use good canned tomatoes (unless recipe specifically calls for fresh). Choose whole, peeled tomatoes rather than chopped or crushed. Imported Italian San Marzano tomatoes are the best if you can find them.

Onions and Garlic: Generally, white or yellow onions for cooking and red onions for salads and dishes that do not need cooking because they are milder. Garlic should not be an overwhelming presence.

Parmigiano-Reggiano Cheese: Expensive but worth it. Excellent grating cheese as well as a table cheese. Drizzle a little balsamic vinegar and olive oil over it and have it with some crusty Italian bread.

Cheeses: Cheeses are very important for Italian dishes. The basics like Parmigiano-Reggiano, Pecorino Romano, mozzarella, ricotta, and provolone are a good choice to have around.

Legumes (beans): Dried cannelini beans, lentils and ceci (Garbanzo/chick peas) are always good to have on hand. Canned beans work just as well especially if you’re in a rush.

Cornmeal: Use a medium textured cornmeal for polenta. Keep it in a tightly closed container and it will last for months. It’s also good for dusting the pan when making pizza.

Rice: Arborio is the most common in making risotto but others are used as well.

Balsamic Vinegar: There are many different balsamic vinegars. Depending on its age, it can be very expensive. You can use the inexpensive  one for salads as long as the quality is good.

Anchovies: (I love these salty little buggers!)It’s good to keep a jar of these in the fridge to add a special zip to certain dishes. You can also find anchovy paste in a tube, which is milder in taste and very convenient to have. (I use the tube)

Dried Porcini Mushrooms: Look for packages that have slices of whole mushrooms. They can be a little expensive but a little goes a long way. Keep it in an airtight container and they’ll keep for a long time. If you rehydrate them, keep the water, strain it and use it to add some flavor and depth to soups, sauces and stews.

Capers: (My husband’s favorite) You can find two kinds of capers. The smaller ones that are pickled in vinegar, and the larger ones that come packed in salt. The larger ones are very flavorful and need rinsing of the salt before using. They are also harder to find. A few chopped capers can add a nice flavor addition to dishes that seem to need just a little something.

Olives: Both black and green varieties are good. If they are packed in brine and imported from Italy, even better. We like the stuffed ones. Stuffed with bleu cheese, anchovies, garlic, peppers…

Herbs and Seasonings: For the most part fresh herbs are preferred in everyday cooking, but this is hard to do and they are generally more expensive and can go bad quickly if not used. So always keep on hand dried herbs and seasonings. Keep dried oregano, rosemary, thyme, and sage. I also always keep garlic powder on hand. Whole black pepper to be ground at the moment of use, sea salt and red pepper flakes are also important to have in your pantry.

Flour: All-purpose flour is good to use for making pasta and pizza dough. Bread flour for cakes and semolina flour for pasta is also very useful.


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