'Za 'Za

Posted on: Thursday, October 6, 2011

Boston’s North End is undoubtedly reminiscent of Italy with its ethnic markets, specialty shops, and authentic cafes and restaurants. Walking down the narrow streets, we are overcome by the tantalizing wafts of Pizzeria Regina’s signature pizzas. The perfect mix of tangy sauce, thin crust and fresh toppings reminds us of the pizza we were both fortunate to sample in Italy. This past summer, Kara indulged in Rome’s oven-baked style, with simple toppings, and a thin layer of cheese. Marni was also fortunate to try Roman pizza when she studied in Italy in college, and experienced the regional alterations while traveling across the country.

Every week in Florence, Marni would grab a slice of pizza al taglio (by the slice), after an afternoon of studying Renaissance masters like Masaccio, Da Vinci and Michelangelo. Pizza is art. Beginning with a blank canvas (the dough), you experiment with different layers of paints and mediums (the toppings). The artist (the chef) reveals his or her style in the methodology of achieving the final product. Some create thick, chewy, deep-dish pizza with an abundance of toppings while others prefer a Margherita style approach with paper thin, crispy crust. As with art, preference is subjective and there is no limit!

Dropping into our favorite North End deli and bakery for ingredients, we decided to create two unique pizzas with two different flavor combinations:

Pear, Arugula and Fontina Pizza

1 ball pizza dough

1 T EVOO

1 c Fontina cheese (or any semi-soft melting cheese-Gruyere or Taleggio work too!)

1 large ripe Bosch pear, sliced 1/8 inch thin

1 T honey

salt and pepper throughout

2 c arugula



Vinaigrette:

1 t Dijon mustard

2 T balsamic vinegar

1/4 c EVOO

salt and pepper to taste

*this is our go-to vinaigrette recipe 


Preheat the oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. 


On a floured work surface, roll out the dough into a 1/4-inch thick shape. A standard pizza shape is round, but feel free to make yours rectangular or into any oblong shape. Transfer the dough onto an oiled baking sheet and drizzle with the T of EVOO. Sprinkle the cheese on top, leaving a 1-inch border for the crust. Assemble with pears on top, and then drizzle it with honey and salt and pepper.
 


While the pizza is cooking, whisk together the vinaigrette ingredients and toss with the arugula. Bake the pizza for approximately 15 minutes or until the crust is golden, the cheese has melted, and the bottom is cooked through. Remove the pizza from the oven and pour the arugula on top. Slice the pizza and serve.
 
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Sausage, Sun-dried Tomato and Basil Pizza

1 ball pizza dough
2 T EVOO
2 cloves grated garlic
2 T tomato sauce
1 c Mozzarella cheese
1/2 c Parmesan cheese
2 sweet sausage links
1 c chopped sun-dried tomatoes
1/2 c chopped fresh basil leaves
salt and pepper throughout

Preheat oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.
Remove the sausage from its casing and saute on medium-high heat. With a wooden spoon, break up the sausage, stirring constantly, until cooked through, about 5-7 minutes. Set aside to cool slightly. In a separate pan, saute the grated garlic in the EVOO on low heat.

On a floured work surface, roll out the dough into a 1/4- inch thick circular or rectangular shape. Transfer the dough to an oiled baking sheet and drizzle with the garlic-infused oil. Brush the tomato sauce and sprinkle the cheeses, leaving a 1-inch crust. Spoon the sausage and sun-dried tomatoes on top.
Bake the pizza for approximately 15 minutes or until the crust is golden, the cheese has melted, and the bottom is cooked through. Remove the pizza from the oven and sprinkle the basil on top. Slice the pizza and serve.

With two fresh pizzas baking, we decided to invite a few friends over to taste test. Pizza is the universal go-to dish for any informal or formal gathering. It’s so versatile and can satisfy all palettes. Who doesn’t love pizza?

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