Spinach Artichoke Chicken & Bacon Flatbread Pizza

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Pizza-hero2

If there was one last thing I could eat before my last day on earth yes, it would be pizza. Italian food is one of my favorite things to eat and cook – in fact my Techniques of Italian Cooking course at the Institute of Culinary Education got me hooked on making homemade pizza and pasta from scratch.

Pizza Hero 3


But sometimes making pizza dough at home is time-consuming and labor intensive and all I want to do is eat pizza. Sure, I live in NYC and it’s easy enough to walk downstairs and get a slice or two at the local pizza shop. But when I want pizza but don’t really feel like paying $6 a slice or $25 for a whole pie, I make my own. And, I’m absolutely in love with thin crust pizza and honestly, it’s the toppings and flavor combinations that are so much fun to experiment with. It’s also Summer and beach days are calling, so using up all my carbs and calories with one slice of pizza is no fun. Alas, I discovered FlatOut flat breads. They’re thin and light and bake up into a crispy shell in minutes and are the perfect base for any pizza. And they’re only 130 calories and 2 g of fat in each one. And that’s pretty awesome.

Pizza-hero1

So today I made a Spinach Artichoke, Chicken and Bacon flatbread pizza on one of these cuties. And it’s absolutely delicious. And not too filling. And I don’t feel so guilty eating it that I want to hide under the covers and never put on a bathing suit again. Or fall asleep on my laptop after eating while writing this. I used the Honey Wheat thin flat breads which are perfect for one person, but you could also try another flavor (plain, whole wheat, spinach) or try one of their pizza flat breads which are a little longer and bigger if you’re feeding a crowd.

Spinach Artichoke Dip base

This flavor bomb pizza has a layer of spinach and artichoke dip on the base of the flatbread which I baked for a couple of minutes on the oven rack to get it crispy and lightly browned before adding the dip as a base for the other ingredients.

Onions-Bacon-base

Then I topped it with some crispy bacon, sauteed onions and mozzarella cheese..

Add Chicken

some cooked chicken breast (seasoned with Old Honey Barn Kentucky Seasoning that I bought in Louisville KY),

Top with Grated Cheese

and a touch of garlic powder and a healthy dose of grated parmesan cheese.

Baked Pizza

I popped it in the oven for about 5 minutes until the cheese melted, then topped it off with some chile flakes, green onions and more parmesan cheese as a garnish, and a few cracks of freshly ground black pepper. OMG> so delicious and so easy.

PizzaHero4

I’m thinking this will be my new thing for Summer and I’ve already thought of a million pizza combinations and ideas I’m planning to make. In fact, you could use the same ingredients to make a kick butt quesadilla on the stove or a healthy chicken wrap. Sayonara gut bomb thick crust pizza, hello thin and crispy skinny pizza.

You’ve made my life. ;)

Spinach Artichoke Chicken & Bacon Flatbread Pizza

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 30 minutes

Yield: Makes 2 flatbread pizzas.

Serving Size: 1/2 flatbread pizza

This flavor bomb pizza has a layer of spinach and artichoke dip on the base of the flatbread (I had some leftover from last night but you can certainly make your own) which I baked for a couple of minutes on the oven rack to get it crispy and lightly browned. Then I topped it with some sautéed onions, crispy bacon, seasoned cooked chicken breast, and parmesan cheese. I popped it in the oven for about 5 minutes until the cheese was melted and then topped it off with some chile flakes, green onions and more parmesan cheese as a garnish, and a few cracks of freshly ground black pepper. OMG> so delicious and so easy.

Ingredients

  • 2 FlatOut 100% Whole Wheat flatbreads
  • 1 cup Spinach and Artichoke Dip (homemade or store bought)
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • ½ large onion, chopped
  • Seasoned salt or Kentucky Chicken seasoning
  • 1 pound thin chicken cutlets (or breasts pounded thin)
  • 4 slices of bacon, cooked and crumbled
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ cup grated parmesan cheese, plus extra for garnish
  • Dash of red chile flakes
  • ½ cup green onions, sliced
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Place two FlatOut flatbreads on a cookie sheet (or directly on oven rack for crispier crust). Bake crust for two minutes. You can also grill the flatbread with a little olive oil in a grill pan or on the grill for a couple of minutes.
  2. Remove flatbreads from the oven and spread the spinach and artichoke dip onto the flatbread and sprinkle with half of the mozzarella cheese.
  3. Cook the onions in some olive oil over medium heat and remove from sauté pan. Add the additional tablespoon of oil into the pan and season the chicken breast. Cook chicken for about 5-6 minutes until cooked through, cut into strips or large chunks. Meanwhile, fry the bacon until crisp, then drain and crumble, and set all ingredients aside.
  4. To make the pizzas, sprinkle the cooked onions, chicken and bacon on top of the cheese. Sprinkle with garlic powder, parmesan cheese, more mozzarella cheese and chili flakes.
  5. Bake for 5 minutes until cheese is melted. Remove flatbread from the oven, and top with sliced green onions, red chile flakes, freshly ground black pepper, and additional grated parmesan, to taste.

Notes

You can substitute any flatbread you like for this pizza or even use real pizza dough if made super thin.

Feel free to experiment with the toppings too - the sky is the limit!

http://www.theartfulgourmet.com/2017/06/02/spinach-artichoke-chicken-bacon-flatbread-pizza/

Pizza Hero 5

Favorite Game Day Recipes for the Super Bowl!

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superbowl 2016

So the big day is right around the corner..Super Bowl, yay! I’m not really partial to either team and am not even a huge football fan, but i LOVE LOVE LOVE the Super Bowl simply because of the fun parties, the commercials, and the food and drinks, of course.

So in spirit of the football party season, I’ve rounded up some of my favorite game day recipes that are perfect for a crowd. Finger foods, appetizers, dips and spreads and small bites to party in style! Stay tuned later this week for some fun cocktail ideas for the big game too..may the best team win! #gopanthers #gobroncos


#FOOTBALL #FOOD!

Sloppy Joes

Devishly Good Sriracha Jalapeño Honey Sloppy Joes

Amazing Macaroni and Cheese

Amazing Macaroni and Cheese

Parmesan-Garlic-Artichoke-Dip

Parmesan Garlic Artichoke Dip

Taco Pizza

Seriously Delish Taco Pizza

Spicy Cajun Chili

Spicy Cajun Chili

Beef Enchilada Tortilla Casserole

Beef Enchilada Tortilla Casserole

Meatball Madness!

Meatball Madness!

Homemade Rustic Pizzas

Homemade Rustic Pizza

Chili Rub Slow Cooker Pulled Pork

Chili Rub Slow Cooker Pulled Pork

Mini Tarts

Sweet and Savory Mini Tarts

Chic Thumbprint Cookies

Chocolate Thumbprint Cookies

Chocolate Orange Tart

Glazed Chocolate Orange Tart

Click here to find some more great celebrity chef #recipes to celebrate the Super Bowl on NFL.com

And some more game day recipe ideas on Food Network!

The Most Popular Posts of 2015 :: Happy New Year 2016!

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2015 Happy New Year

So here it is, the last day of the year 2015..oh how time flies, and so much has happened! I’m so thankful for all the wonderful opportunities that have come into my life and the lessons learned along the way.  Here are some of my Top / Most Popular posts from The Artful Gourmet blog this year — and wishing everyone a safe and Happy New Year 2016!

Neapolitan Pizza


The Secrets to Making Neapolitan Pizza like a Master Pizzaiolo –http://www.theartfulgourmet.com/2013/08/11/neapolitan-pizza-making-with-the-pros/

Crab Salad

Refreshingly Light Get in My Bikini Salad – http://www.theartfulgourmet.com/2012/05/21/refreshingly-light-get-in-my-bikini-crab-salad/

Beef Stroganoff

Beef Stroganoff – http://www.theartfulgourmet.com/2011/11/02/classic-comfort-food-beef-stroganoff/

Homemade Rustic Pizzas

Homemade Rustic Pizzas: Chicken, Spinach, Garlic & Sundried Tomato Pizza & Pepperoni, Ham & Sautéed Veggies Pizza – http://www.theartfulgourmet.com/2013/10/02/homemade-rustic-pizzas-chicken-spinach-garlic-sundried-tomato-pizza-pepperoni-ham-sauteed-veggie-pizza/

holiday dinner menu

An Intimate Gathering Holiday Dinner Party Menu: http://www.theartfulgourmet.com/2010/11/28/an-intimate-gathering-holiday-dinner-party-menu/

Chicken French & Lemon Broccolini

Rochester-Style Chicken French & Lemon Broccolini – http://www.theartfulgourmet.com/2013/03/17/rochester-style-chicken-french-lemon-broccolini/

Mario Lopez & Avocados from Mexico

Food Styling for Mario Lopez and Avocados from Mexico – http://www.theartfulgourmet.com/2013/12/17/food-styling-mario-lopez-avocados-mexico-nbc-live-bethenny-shows/

pasta fagioli soup

Big Pot O’Goodness: Pasta Fagioli – http://www.theartfulgourmet.com/2011/12/11/big-pot-o-goodness-pasta-fagioli/

Truffle-Pancetta-3Cheese-Pasta

Truffled 3-Cheese Pasta with Pancetta and Garlic – http://www.theartfulgourmet.com/2011/10/25/crazy-good-truffle-oil-pancetta-three-cheese-pasta/

BDTChowder

Black Dog Tavern’s Quahog Chowderhttp://www.theartfulgourmet.com/2011/09/24/a-taste-of-marthas-vineyard-the-black-dog-taverns-quahog-chowder/

Asparagus-Garlic-3-Cheese Tart

Baby Asparagus, Garlic & Three Cheese Tart – http://www.theartfulgourmet.com/2013/11/24/asparagus-three-cheese-tart/

Spicy Cajun Chili
Spicy Cajun Chilihttp://www.theartfulgourmet.com/2013/11/09/spicy-cajun-chili/

Shrimp Scampi Pasta

Shrimp Scampi Pasta with Lemon Butter Sauce – http://www.theartfulgourmet.com/2012/05/13/shrimp-scampi-pasta/

Spinach Artichoke Pizza with Cauliflower Crust

Spinach Artichoke Pizza with Cauliflower Crusthttp://www.theartfulgourmet.com/2013/06/03/spinach-artichoke-ricotta-pizza-with-parmesan-garlic-cauliflower-crust/

Recipes Worth Sharing Cookbook

Recipes Worth Sharing: A Collection of Favorite Regional Recipes – http://www.theartfulgourmet.com/2012/03/21/recipes-worth-sharing-a-collection-of-favorite-regional-recipes/

Sun Noodle Ramen Lab

Top Ten {Things I Love} :: Spring 2013 – http://www.theartfulgourmet.com/2013/04/07/top-ten-things-i-love-spring-2013/

Southern Feast

A Dose of Southern Comfort & Down-Home Recipes – Part 1 – http://www.theartfulgourmet.com/2012/05/08/a-dose-of-southern-comfort-down-home-recipes-part-1/

spicy fish tacos and wine

Cool off with some Spicy Fish Tacos & Summer Wine Pairings – http://www.theartfulgourmet.com/2012/06/01/cool-off-with-some-spicy-fish-tacos-summer-wine-pairings/

Hope you enjoyed these posts and looking forward to sharing more fun stories with you in the New Year!

Rustic Pizza with Ham, Grapes, Shallots, Honey & Thyme

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Rustic Pizza with Grapes, Shallots, Ham & Thyme

So it’s Friday. And a lovely Spring day. I was in the mood to make something lovely to eat, preferably with a sweet and savory twist. I’ve also been on a baking kick lately, not sure why but I’m loving experimenting with different flavors and textures of pizzas and tarts and pies.

Rustic Pizza with Grapes, Shallots, Ham & Thyme


I decided to make a delicious rustic pizza made with some red grapes, shallots, sharp white cheddar and mozzarella cheese, and some thin cut Italian ham. I simply rolled out some refrigerated pizza dough and then topped it off with some olive oil, all the pizza ingredients, and some fresh thyme.

Rustic Pizza with Grapes, Shallots, Ham & Thyme

I popped it into a 450 degree oven for about 20 minutes until all the cheese and crust was bubbly and golden brown, then finished this beauty off with some sea salt, freshly cracked black pepper, some fresh basil and drizzles of honey.

Rustic Pizza with Grapes, Shallots, Ham & Thyme

This is the best thing I have ever tasted in my life. Seriously. The contrast of the sweet grapes, shallots and honey with the sharp and tangy cheddar cheese and salty, crispy ham are like a true love affair…in Paris.

I’m thinking the only thing better than this would be an actual trip to Paris..on the top of the Eiffel Tower at sunset. With a chocolate croissant and cafe au lait in hand. With a really cute French guy. Ooh La La.

Aaah – a girl can dream, can’t she? (Happy Friday!)

Rustic Pizza with Grapes, Shallots, Ham & Thyme

Rustic Pizza with Ham, Grapes, Shallots, Cheese, Honey & Thyme

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 10 minutes

Yield: 6-8

Serving Size: 1 slice/wedge

Ingredients

  • 1 package of refrigerated pizza dough (or homemade if you prefer)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 shallot, sliced thin
  • 1/2 cup shredded Gruyere or Mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 cup shredded extra sharp White Cheddar cheese
  • 4-6 thin slices Italian ham or prosciutto
  • 1/2 cup red seedless grapes, cut in half
  • Red pepper flakes (optional)
  • Fresh thyme
  • Fresh basil leaves
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • Honey for drizzling

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.
  2. Spray a pizza sheet with oil and stretch out pizza dough to the edges making a thin crust.
  3. Drizzle the dough with olive oil and sprinkle with the shredded Mozzarella cheese. Add the sliced shallots, ham, grapes and White cheddar cheese on to the dough evenly. Top with some fresh thyme leaves and red pepper flakes.
  4. Bake for about 20 minutes until cheese is bubbly and the crust is golden brown.
  5. Top with fresh basil, sea salt, freshly cracked black pepper and drizzle with honey.
  6. Cut into wedges and serve immediately.

Notes

You can also substitute prosciutto or bacon for the ham, and top with some fresh ricotta cheese if desired.

http://www.theartfulgourmet.com/2015/04/17/rustic-pizza-with-ham-grapes-shallots-cheese-honey-thyme/

 

Seriously Delicious Taco Pizza

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Taco Pizza

I’ve been on a spicy food kick lately. Maybe it’s the pseudo-Spring weather. Or maybe I’m just addicted. I decided to make a fun twist on pizza and make a seriously delicious Taco Pizza. Yes, TACOS. And PIZZA. All baked into a bubbling pile of goodness. This Taco Pizza is the easiest thing to make, and the best tasting thing on the planet. Like a fiesta in your mouth.

Taco Pizza 2


I had a bunch of Pillsbury Crescent Dough in the fridge, as well as a ton of fresh ingredients I wanted to use up. Yes, I could have made Nachos. Or Burritos. Or Enchiladas. Or even a Taco Salad. But why not make a Taco Pizza? It was Friday after all. And Fridays are made for FUN FOOD, arent’ they?

Taco Pizza_OH 2

The crust is super buttery and flaky and a delicious canvas for this Taco Monster creation.

Toppings 1

The pizza is topped with all the goodies you would make tacos with – salsa, ground beef, taco seasoning, black beans and onions,

Toppings 2

with a layer of fresh veggies like black olives, tomatoes, jalapenos; and of course plenty of shredded cheddar cheese.

Taco Pizza 3

Just layer all the goods on the dough, pop it in a 375 degree oven and bake for about 13-16 minutes until the crust is golden and the cheese is melty-ooey-gooey.

Taco Pizza 5

Then, top it with some chopped cilantro, a few dabs of sour cream and some wavy corn chips for extra crunch.

Serious YUM. And perfect for a Friday afternoon. With a margarita or two, of course. 🙂

Seriously Delicious Taco Pizza

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 30 minutes

Yield: 1-2 slices/squares

A seriously delicious Taco Pizza made with ground beef, tomatoes, jalapenos, olives, black beans and cheese, topped with sour cream, cilantro and crunchy corn chips baked on a crescent dough crust.

Ingredients

  • 2 cans (8 ounce) Pillsbury crescent dough
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 small onion, chopped (or 1 tablespoon minced dried onion)
  • 1 package taco seasoning
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/2 cup black beans, rinsed
  • 1 cup chunky salsa
  • 10-12 cherry or plum tomatoes, halved
  • 1 jalapeno, sliced
  • 1/2 cup black olives, sliced
  • 2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup wavy corn chips, for garnish
  • 1/2 cup cilantro, chopped, for garnish
  • 1/2 cup sour cream, for garnish

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Separate dough into 2 long rectangles and place on ungreased cookie sheet. Press perforations to seal into one large rectangle of dough. Repeat for second pizza.
  3. In a large skillet, saute ground beef, onions and black beans until cooked through and meat is no longer pink. Drain grease, and add taco seasoning and 1/4 cup of water, mix together well and keep warm, covered.
  4. Prep the veggies and pizza topping ingredients.
  5. Layer the dough with the salsa, 1/2 cup for each pizza.
  6. Top dough with the taco beef and bean mixture, olives, tomatoes, jalapenos and shredded cheese on both sheets.
  7. Bake for 13-16 minutes until cheese is bubbly and crust is golden brown.
  8. Garnish pizzas with corn chips, sour cream and fresh cilantro.
  9. Cut each pizza into 6 squares and serve hot.

Notes

You can also substitute shredded chicken, ground chicken or turkey or pulled pork for the ground beef. A regular pizza dough crust can also be used in place of the crescent dough.

http://www.theartfulgourmet.com/2015/03/28/seriously-delicious-taco-pizza/

All recipes, photographs, copy and content on this post and website are copyrighted © 2010-2015 by Kristen Hess/The Artful Gourmet. Please do not use, share or distribute this content in any way without expressed permission from me first.

Homemade Rustic Pizzas: Chicken, Garlic, Spinach & Sundried Tomatoes :: Pepperoni, Ham, & Sauteed Veggies

Rustic Pizza
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Rustic Pizza

Pizza is probably one of my most favorite things on the planet. Seriously. Who can resist that crispy crunchy crust topped with melted gooey cheese and fresh, savory baked toppings? A pizza is a creative endeavor that is only limited to your imagination. The pizza dough is like a blank canvas just waiting for the artist to paint a masterpiece on.

Speaking of dough, you can certainly take a stab at making your own – here is a basic pizza dough recipe that’s easy enough to make. If you don’t want to bother making your own and want to save time, you can use pre-made refrigerated pizza dough from the grocery store (I get mine from Fairway stores, or you can try Pillsbury pizza dough which is inexpensive and easy to use. They even have Artisan, thin and gluten-free crusts now which is kinda cool.)


I made these rustic pizzas the other day in an attempt to use up some fresh veggies, pizza dough and ingredients from my kids cooking show I taped last week – we made all kinds of fun pizza on set but i couldn’t bear to waste the leftovers!

So here’s how easy these babies are to make…I divided the pizza dough and patted out the dough on to pizza pans to make four rustic pizzas – one of them topped with sauteed garlic, spinach, olive oil, savory chicken,  sun dried tomatoes and plenty of mozzarella gooey cheese. The other one I made with sauteed bell peppers in different colors, broccoli, pepperoni, ham, tomato sauce and two gooey cheeses – mozzarella and muenster, great for melting. The trick to a great pizza in my experience is to saute your veggies in some olive oil and garlic BEFORE you put them on the pizza (the chicken too!). This gives them a deeper flavor and keeps them from drying out in the oven when you bake the pizzas. Throw them in a preheated oven on 400 degrees for about 15-17 minutes, let them cool on a baking rack for about 5 minutes, and then top them with some fresh torn basil, some extra parmesan cheese and pepper flakes and you’ve got some serious deliciousness going on.

Sauteed Chicken, Garlic, Spinach & Sundried Tomato Pizza

Chicken, Spinach, Garlic and Sundried Tomato Pizza

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 30 minutes

Yield: 2-4

This is a tasty and healthy pizza made with sauteed garlic and spinach, red pepper flakes, sauteed chicken breast, sundried tomatoes and Parmesan and Mozzarella cheese.

Ingredients

  • 1 package refrigerated pizza dough (or handmade)
  • 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tablespoon garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 package fresh spinach, chopped
  • 6-8 thin chicken cutlets, cut into 1" chunks
  • 1 tablespoon seasoned salt or poultry seasoning
  • Fresh ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1/4 cup sundried tomatoes, julienned (thin strips)
  • 1 cup shredded Mozzarella cheese

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Divide pizza dough in half and shape into two oval or rectangular pizzas on a greased pizza pan.
  3. Drizzle 1 tablespoon of olive oil and 1/4 cup of Parmesan cheese on to the base of each pizza dough.
  4. Heat an additional tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat in a large saute pan and saute minced garlic and red pepper flakes for about a minute.
  5. Add chopped spinach and stir. Saute together for another 3-4 minutes until spinach starts to wilt.
  6. Remove spinach garlic mixture from pan and set aside in a mixing bowl.
  7. Heat additional 2 tablespoons olive oil in the same pan, add seasonings and saute the chicken for approximately 8 minutes until golden brown. Remove pan from heat.
  8. Top pizza crusts with spinach-pepper-garlic mixture, sundried tomatoes and sauteed chicken (divided into equal portions for both pizzas).
  9. Top both pizzas with shredded mozzarella cheese and place pizza pan in oven.
  10. Bake for 15-17 minutes until cheese starts to get bubbly and golden brown.
http://www.theartfulgourmet.com/2013/10/02/homemade-rustic-pizzas-chicken-spinach-garlic-sundried-tomato-pizza-pepperoni-ham-sauteed-veggie-pizza/

Pepperoni, Ham & Sauteed Veggie Pizza

Pepperoni, Ham, & Sauteed Veggie Pizza

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 30 minutes

Yield: 2-4

This is a healthy and hearty version of classic pizza made with sauteed garlic, bell peppers and broccoli with diced ham and pepperoni topped with gooey mozzarella and muenster cheese.

Ingredients

  • 1 package refrigerated pizza dough (or handmade)
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 tablespoon garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup red bell pepper, diced
  • 1/4 cup orange bell pepper, diced
  • 1/4 cup yellow pepper, diced
  • 1/4 cup green bell pepper, diced
  • 1/2 cup broccoli florets, chopped
  • Sea salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 cup tomato sauce or puree
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 1/4 cup pepperoni, chopped
  • 1/4 cup ham, chopped
  • 1 cup shredded Mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 cup Muenster cheese, torn into pieces
  • 1 tablespoon garlic salt

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Divide pizza dough in half and shape into two oval or rectangular pizzas on a greased pizza pan.
  3. Heat olive oil over medium heat in a large saute pan and saute minced garlic for about a minute.
  4. Add diced bell peppers, chopped broccoli, salt and pepper and stir. Saute together for 5-7 minutes until vegetables get tender and soft.
  5. Remove pan from heat.
  6. In a small mixing bowl, mix together tomato sauce, tomato paste, Italian seasoning and garlic salt to make tomato sauce for pizzas.
  7. Top pizza crusts with tomato sauce, pepperoni, ham and sauteed vegetables (divided into equal portions for both pizzas).
  8. Top both pizzas with shredded mozzarella and muenster cheeses, sprinkle with garlic salt and place pizza pan in oven.
  9. Bake for 15-17 minutes until cheese starts to get bubbly and golden brown.
http://www.theartfulgourmet.com/2013/10/02/homemade-rustic-pizzas-chicken-spinach-garlic-sundried-tomato-pizza-pepperoni-ham-sauteed-veggie-pizza/

***Stay tuned for my new cooking show – Cooking with Color 4 Kids© airs live on Oct 26th at 9:30 am EST on cable TV in NYC!!

Cooking with Color 4 Kids© by Kristen Hess

Channels: Time Warner 34/ Cablevision 67/ RCN 82/ Verizon 42 and the Internet: Channel 1
BCAT TV Network cablecasts in all five boroughs of NYC on Verizon FIOS cable.

If you don’t live in NYC and want to watch the show live online on 10/26, please use this link and watch Channel 1:
http://bricartsmedia.org/community-media/watch-brooklyn-public-network

CLICK HERE TO SEE ALL THE PHOTOS FROM THE PILOT TV COOKING SHOW TAPING

Secrets to making a true Neapolitan Pizza like a Master Pizzaiolo

NeapolitanPizza_hero
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Neapolitan Pizza
Handmade Neapolitan Pizza – by yours truly!

I recently took a really fun and cool pizza making class to learn the secrets of making a true Neapolitan Pizza (Vera Napoletana) with the Food Bloggers NYC Meetup Group sponsored by Vimbly.com.

Culinary Bad Boy & Nicole Garguilo
Culinary Bad Boy & Nicole Garguilo

The class was held at 180 Neapolitan Eatery in Little Italy and taught by Culinary Event host Nicole Garguilo and Food Network Star “Culinary Bad Boy” Chef Chris Nirschel.

Class having a blast making dough
Class having a blast making dough
NYC Food Bloggers Meetup Group
NYC Food Bloggers Meetup Group

We sat around a big table in a private room upstairs and learned the techniques, traditions and passions behind producing a perfectly thin crispy Neapolitan pizza while sipping on Italian wines and making new friends.

Making Pizza Dough
Making Pizza Dough

We learned the intricacies behind making and kneading our own dough accustom to the Neapolitan style by making wells of flour filled with yeast water and the patient process of kneading using only 2 fingers as the dough slowly came together by kneading, mixing and adding more flour and water.

Chef Chris throwing dough
Chef Chris throwing dough

We watched Chef Chris toss pizza dough in the air and even tried it ourselves (too fun!).

Chef Chris demonstrating how to sauce the pizza
Chef Chris demonstrating how to sauce the pizza

We then made our own Margherita sauce made with San Marzano tomatoes from Italy, and topped off the pizzas with cubes of fresh cow’s milk Mozzarella and fresh basil before our pizzas were thrown delicately into a 900 degree oven on a pizza peel to reveal a perfectly crispy gorgeous pizza of bubbly cheesy goodness.

Prepping our Pizzas
Prepping our Pizzas

Layer the dough with sauce…

San Marzano Tomato Sauce, Fresh Mozzarella & Basil
San Marzano Tomato Sauce, Fresh Mozzarella & Basil

Add some delicious Fresh Cow’s Milk Mozzarella and Basil…

Good Times constructing our pizzas
Good Times constructing our pizzas

Patiently waiting for the oven…

Pizzas ready for the Wood-fired oven
Pizzas ready for the Wood-fired oven
Look. At. This. Masterpiece. Creation.
Look. At. This. Masterpiece. Creation.

And let the deliciousness devouring begin.

Good Times
Good Times

The story behind Neapolitan pizza goes like this: In June 1889, a Neapolitan tavern owner Raffaele Esposito served the Queen of Italy, Margherita of Savoy, a special dish named in her honor. The wood-fired Flatbread was topped with Melted Mozzarella, Tomato Sauce and Basil leaves, symbolizing the colors of the Italian Flag. The Queen was so pleased with her meal that she had a wood-fired “flat-bread oven” built into the palace. And history was made.

Pizzaiolo at 180
Pizzaiolo at 180

The art behind making a perfect, true Neapolitan pizza has become a standard practice with strict rules of approval. The Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana is a non-profit official governing association in Italy that maintains the standards and regulations of all Pizzaioli and Establshments serving Vera Napoletana Pizza. It was founded in Naples in 1984 by the oldest and well-known Neapolitan pizzaioli, and according to the “rules” proposed by them, there are specific ingredients and techniques that must be used to pass the official Italian seal of approval.

The Perfect Neapolitan Pizza
The Perfect Neapolitan Pizza

So just what are the secrets behind making that crispy crust with gooey cheese and succulent sauce? Here’s a few secrets from Restaurateur/Chef and native New Yorker, Nick Accardi of Tavola in Hell’s Kitchen:

  1. Measure by weight rather than volume to get the perfect water to flour ratio for your crust. Many elements can change the density of ingredients such as age, storage temperature, or environmental climate. Measuring by weight assures the perfect hydration ratio.
  2. Use double zero (type 00) flour which is a highly refined flour that has been milled to a standard “00” and completely free of bran or germ.
  3. Use natural Neapolitan yeast or brewer’s yeast, sea salt and water. (New York City tap water is the BEST secret ingredient in making the perfect pizza dough!)
  4. Keep yeast refrigerated and check the expiration date on the package to make sure it’s fresh.
  5. The dough must be kneaded by hand or with a low-speed mixer.
  6. Allow the dough to rise for 24 hours at room temperature. The bare minimum standard is 6 hours (after mixing let the dough rise for 2 hours, then hand cut and roll into small balls, let rise for 4 more hours).
  7. After the rising process, the dough must be formed by hand without the help of a rolling pin or other machine, and may be no more than 3 millimeters (0.12 in) thick. Use your hands to gently work the dough from the center outward.
  8. Use San Marzano tomatoes, which grow on the volcanic plains to the south of Mount Vesuvius, for the pizza sauce like a bona fide pro (easy to find in grocery stores or Italian markets).
  9. Vera Napoletana Pizza must be made using only fresh, all-natural, non-processed ingredients including Fior di Latte (Cow’s Milk) or Bufala Mozzarella, fresh basil and drizzled with real Extra Virgin Olive Oil. You can find Genuine imported EVOO also at Italian markets such as Eataly or Tavola in NYC.
  10. Less is More: Don’t drown a pizza in sauce and toppings. The most delicious pies use smaller portions of the highest quality of fresh ingredients.
  11. A thin crust is the signature trait of Neapolitan pizza. While having a wood fired oven at home is not common these days, making your crust as thin as possible will allow for fast cooking time, which intensifies and seals in the flavors of each ingredient. Note: The Associazione Vera Pizza Napoletana requires the thickness of the crust to be 1-2 cm.
  12. The pizza must be baked for 60-90 seconds in a 905°F stone oven with an oak-wood fire. When cooked, it should be crispy, tender and fragrant.
  13. There are three official variants to Neapolitan pizza: Pizza Marinara, which is made with tomato, garlic, oregano and extra virgin olive oil, Pizza Margherita, made with tomato, sliced mozzarella, basil and extra-virgin olive oil, and Pizza Margherita Extra made with tomato, mozzarella from Campania in fillets, basil and extra virgin olive oil.
Neapolitan Pizza being devoured
Neapolitan Pizza being devoured

Neapolitan Pizza (Vera Napoletana) Recipe

Prep Time: 6 hours

Cook Time: 7 minutes

Total Time: 6 hours, 7 minutes

Yield: 2-4

A great home kitchen version of authentic Neapolitan pizza

Ingredients

  • For the dough:
  • 1/4 teaspoon active dry yeast
  • 1 1/4 cups warm water 100-110 degrees
  • 17 ounces (4 cups) unbleached “00” flour (see note) or unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons fine sea salt
  • 1-2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil (for greasing bowl)
  • For the topping:
  • 1 (28-ounce) can whole San Marzano tomatoes, passed with juices through a food mill
  • 12 ounces Mozzarella di Bufala (see note) or mozzarella fior di latte cheese, cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices
  • 4 large or 8 small basil leaves
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Medium coarse sea salt
  • Special equipment: a pizza stone and peel

Instructions

  1. Make the dough: Sprinkle yeast over water; let stand until yeast is creamy, 5 to 10 minutes. (If yeast does not become creamy, discard and start over with new yeast.)
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together flour and salt; form a well in center. Add yeast mixture and warm water; stir until dough just comes together. Turn out dough onto a lightly floured work surface and knead vigorously, for 10 minutes. Cover with a damp dish towel and let rest for 10 minutes, then knead vigorously for 10 minutes more. Lightly oil a large bowl. Form dough into a ball, transfer to bowl and turn to lightly coat with oil. Cover bowl tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
  3. Punch down dough with your fist (dough will be stiff), then fold sides over one another, turn dough, tightly cover bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 4 hours or up to 24 hours.
  4. Divide dough into 4 pieces; shape pieces into balls and place on a lightly floured work surface, leaving a few inches between balls. Loosely cover with a damp dish towel (not terry cloth) and let rise at warm room temperature until doubled, about 2 hours; time may vary depending on room temperature and freshness of yeast. If skin forms on dough while rising, lightly spray surface with water.
  5. Heat Stone While Dough Rises: Position rack in lower third of oven. Place pizza stone on rack. At least 45 minutes before baking pizza, heat oven to maximum temperature (500 to 550 degrees).
  6. Assemble Pizza: On a lightly floured work surface, press 1 dough ball with your fingers to begin to shape into a round. Use your fist and hands to gently stretch dough to a 10-inch round. (A floured rolling pin can be used to help roll out dough.) Transfer dough to a lightly floured peel; gently shake peel to make sure dough does not stick.
  7. Working fairly quickly, spread a 1/3 cup sauce over dough, leaving about a 1/2 -inch border. Tear 3 ounces cheese into pieces and arrange on top of sauce. Tear 1 or 2 basil leaves into small pieces and arrange on top. Drizzle very lightly with oil and sprinkle with salt. Slide pizza onto stone. Bake until cheese is melted and bubbling in spots and edge of dough is crisp and golden, about 7 minutes. Using the peel and a large spatula or pair of tongs, transfer pizza to a plate and serve. Repeat with remaining ingredients.

Notes

Note: Soft “00” flour produces a pliable, easy-to-work-with pizza dough and a tender yet sturdy crust with a crisp yet not too dry edge. Mozzarella fior di latte has a firmer texture than Mozzarella di Bufala, which falls apart when cut, though both cheeses are creamy when melted. You can find “00” flour, San Marzano tomatoes, mozzarella di bufala, mozzarella fior di latte at Italian markets, specialty stores, and online.

Recipe by La Cucina Italiana Magazine

http://www.theartfulgourmet.com/2013/08/11/neapolitan-pizza-making-with-the-pros/

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• Check out more cool fun food events on Vimbly and the NYC Food Blogger’s group on Meetup.com

• Italian Resources and Specialty Products:

Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana: http://www.pizzanapoletana.org

Tavola’s Hell’s Kitchen: www.tavolashellskitchen.com

Teitel Brother’s: http://www.teitelbros.com

Eataly NYC: http://www.eataly.com

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