Wednesday, April 16, 2008

The Search is Over

Pizza and me go back a long way.

When I was in junior high, maybe earlier, I turned my nose up at things like roast, mashed potatoes, fried okra, black eyed peas (actually, I don’t much care for mashed potatoes or black eyed peas to this day), and I’d roll my eyes, because life was very, very hard, and fix something else, with my own little hands, for me have for dinner. Because it was difficult to adjust to the unfair reality that the world did not, in fact, revolve around my 12-year-old self as it should.

So. Pizza. And by pizza I mean either white bread or English muffins lightly toasted, then spread with jarred pizza sauce, topped with a slice of American cheese and toasted again in the toaster oven. Gourmet, ya’ll.

If there was a brand of frozen pizza, I tried it. I pretty well lived on them in high school, when I wasn’t eating chicken nugget baskets from our local diner.

Eating out, Italian was always my preference. I was all over that wood-fired pizza trend that started, in Mississippi anyway, in the 80s.

Then in graduate school, I thought I hit upon nirvana. Caramelized onions, whatever kind of tomato-based pasta sauce that sounded interesting, and goat cheese on a Boboli crust. Well. There is no telling how many times I made that. It was my quirky version of comfort food; the onions smelled incredible while cooking and the gooey cheese melded with it and it was all good. It was one of those you-can’t-mess-this up dishes.

I don’t know that I thought it could be topped.

And I, I would be wrong.

A couple of weeks ago we bought a pre-made pizza crust and spread it with basil pesto. We topped that with sliced sun dried tomato, caramelized onion, fresh mozzarella, goat cheese, and shredded rotisserie chicken.

It was every bit as fabulous as it sounds. The only thing that could have improved it was roasted red pepper, which we learned a few days later when we made it again. From now on, they’re on the permanent ingredient list.

We've made it with smoked mozarrella, which I really liked.

The pizza was baked on a pizza stone and actually, that’s pretty important. It makes a world of difference in getting a nice, crisp crust. If you don’t have one, before you preheat the oven, slide in the pizza pan or cookie sheet or whatever you’re going to bake the pizza on and let it get good and hot with the oven. That will help.

This weekend, we're planning a picnic with sandwich wraps having roughly the same ingredients. I'll keep you posted.


Pamela said...

What a coincidence, I'm having leftover pizza for lunch. But not as yummy as this. We used to do a lot of Boboli at our house but not for years and years. This recipe looks like a good one for us. Can you do a pizza stone tutorial? I have one and I can never get anything I make off of it without a mallet and chisel and 2nd degree burns.

Camellia said...

Tillman sounds like a much better eater than you were. Maybe he'll be a chef with a ceiling fan.

Mrs. G. said...

This looks so delicious. My family is so boring when it comes to pizza-pepperoni, pepperoni, pepperoni. I might have to make myself my OWN pizza.

Joh said...

Ok, making your own pizza is definitely one of those amazing things in life. I fully recommend making your own crust next time -- it's totally worth the time and effort, PLUS you can control how thin/thick the crust is.

I give you major Kudos for being able to caramelize onions.... I'm still learning how to do it without burning everything.

Also also, as an idea, next time you might want to try Red Pepper Pesto, which makes a mean pizza with garlic cloves (they roast in the baking) and caramelized onions and big green olives. Yum-tastic!!

Kim Sue said...

thanks for the idea - made it today and I just have to say YUM!