Saturday, February 6, 2010

Pizza Passion

Admittedly my pizza stone does not look this pristine any more ...see what I mean?
It's well loved, not just for pizza but for baking breads and even resting sheets of cookies during the baking process for lovely even baking that crisps without burning.

A few weeks ago my daughter lent me her favorite pizza book that I had to write about - James McNair's New Pizza and we made this awesome Caramelized Onion & Italian Sausage Pizza.
The actual pizza dough recipe is now my standard and when you try it, you'll know what I mean. So it's no surprise that my son-in-law suggested that we do another pizza night. How could I possibly refuse!

Yes, we had the same delicious caramelized onion and sausage pizza...why mess with success, but we added a second one based on suggestions from another great Italian book I've written about- The Southern Italian Table.

This Potato, Rosemary & Cured Italian Sausage Pizza was a hit. Initially my Honey turned his nose without tomato sauce? with potatoes? What was I thinking? That was until he tasted it. Now he's a convert.

The coolest thing about pizzas is how versatile they actually are. The Southern Italian Table actually has two pages with sixteen topping ideas and that's even before his actual pizza recipes! Prosciutto and Arugula, Bianca (thin layer of ricotta dotted with small cubes of mozzarella, sprinkled with salt and pepper and drizzled with olive oil), speck, arugula & Parmesan shavings)...that was just to tempt you to start thinking of your own favorite combinations.

And my questions to you....

1. Is tomato sauce as a base a must in your house?

2. Vegetarian or meat?

3. Most important - what is your favorite combination?


Jacqueline said...

If I am having a tomato sauce on pizza, I like to have lots. I like veggie pizzas and my fav is mushrooms, onion, tomatoes, feta cheese and rocket. Yum!

Ruth Daniels said...

Great choice Jacqueline - perhaps that will be our next option - light on the tomato sauce though. Thanks for dropping by.

Goody said...

Red sauce is a rarity here, and the toppings are meatless. Mushrooms in wine sauce are a favourite.

The best/strangest topping I ever had on a pizza was leftover baked macaroni and cheese. It was at a small take-away place in Boston, and we still marvel at it all these years later.

Psychgrad said...

I really need to find a pizza stone. They can double for bread baking too, right?

Ruth Daniels said...

Goodie, much as I love mac 'n cheese, I'm shaking my head at it as a pizza topping.

Psychgrad - pizza stones are awesome. If there's a Stokes near you, or something of that ilk, you're in luck. I got mine for $10 and it comes with a stand if you want to actually serve right from the stone.

Anne Chisholm said...

I make a very simple pomodoro sauce in quantity and keep it in the freezer. Use it for pizza, pasta, etc. My husband even heated some for lunch yesterday - he said it made great soup :)

Ruth Daniels said...

I make a simple tomato sauce myself. Never thought of soup though. Great idea, thanks for sharing.

ejm said...

Our round pizza stone looks pretty much like yours (except ours is even more stained). And I love that it fits so easily into our barbecue so we can easily barbecue pizzas.

Now to answer your questions:

1.) Tomato sauce base - always. (But we have made one that starts with a caramelized onion base - fabulous and another that starts with a base of basil pesto - also fabulous) But now, if we make pizza without the tomato sauce, we call it "foccaccia".

2.) Vegetarian or meat works for me. But my husband prefers to add meat (sausage or bacon)

3.) My favourite combination is spicy tomato sauce, crushed basil, spicy sausage slices, mushrooms, capers, thinly sliced onion, spinach (salted and squeezed out before adding it to the pizza) and mozzarella

Lately we've been having trouble finding reasonably priced good mozzarella though. Any idea where we should go to get it? (I gather it is possible to make it ourselves but I'm not sure I'm ready for that step.)


Ruth Daniels said...

Elizabeth, I do envy you the BBQ. Somehow a BBQ in my living room is not acceptable.

As to good Mozzarella, if there's an Italian market where you live they will probably have some. As for reasonably priced, I find our Sobeys & Loblaws/Superstores have some that's quite tasty and similar in price to the packaged kind.

ejm said...

We used to get decent Mozzarella at the Loblaws nearby but sadly, whoever is making it has started to cut corners and when it's melted, it melts like cheddar cheese rather than Mozzarella (ie: no stringiness).

I envy us our barbecue right now too. No barbecuing when it's cold. We'll have to wait til at least April before we're barbecuing pizza. In the meantime, the oven works awfully well.


Yvonne said...

Tomato sauce is loved but not a need. Sometimes, just fresh mozzarella (which can't be bought in much of the US, I think), fresh arugula, garlic, some kind of meat like chicken or sausage with oil and spices is lovely.

Btw, do you keep your stone in the oven at all times?

Ruth Daniels said...

Yvonne, all good choices. As to the stone, I don't keep it in my oven all the time because it takes longer to heat the oven. I do use it whenever I bake breads.