About this Blog

As I go into my second year blogging about cooking and eating locally, I am thinking more and more about my own heritage. Why is cooking and eating locally sourced food important to me? What values am I honoring by doing this and how were these values instilled in me.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Pizza Night

Friday night pizza night is a tradition that reaches all the way back into my childhood when my mother would bring home Pizza Hut pizza, root beer and ice cream on my father's payday.  This was a true treat as we NEVER had soda in the house and take-out pizza was a real splurge.

My husband and I continued the tradition as a way to wind down after a busy work week when it was just the two of us and we still honor this tradition with our son. 

PJ's favorite pizza is Antonio's pizza which is made right across the street from our house.  Antonio's pizza fits loosely into my definition of eating locally.  I don't know that Antonio obtains his ingredients from local sources; however, there is no chain of Antonio's pizza restaurants, just Antonio and his family making pizza and subs for people in our neighborhood.

I can't eat pizza very often.  It is one of the foods that upsets my stomach and gives me heartburn, so over the years I have experimented with making homemade pizza that is a little easier on my stomach.  Pictured above is a deep dish pizza I made last night using Bob's Redmill Gluten Free Pizza Crust.  The toppings are inspired by my favorite Antonio's specialty pizza -- the Greek Pizza which is topped with sliced tomatoes, spinach, black olives and feta cheese.  I was out of black olives, but I had a container of marinated feta cheese which we received in our winter CSA share.  We had also gotten a pound of sweet Italian sausage. Part of the sausage I planned to in Pasta e Fiagioli for Saturday night's dinner.  I had a jar of diced tomatoes that I had put up from our summer share as well as spinach that I had blanched, froze and vacuum sealed early least summer.  So these, along with a shallot became the topping for my pizza. 

I sauteed the sausage in a skillet and when it was close to being fully cooked through, I added diced shallots and the frozen spinach which was still bright green and tender (I will definitely try putting up more spinach using this method this coming spring and summer.)

I sauteed the pizza topping while the pizza dough was prepping in the oven. 

The cheeses I used to top the pizza were:  Maple Brook Farm Mozzarrella , marinated feta cheese from West River Creamery, and freshly grated pecorino romano. 

Now if you are looking for a quick meal for a week day night what I did to make this pizza would not work for you.  The pizza pictured took me an hour and a half in total time to make.  However, there are things you can make ahead so that this could be a very quick and easy weeknight or weekend meal. 

Let's start with the crust. 

Based on the recipe on the bag, the total time to prepare the crust for pizza toppings is about a half an hour to forty minutes.  The dough can be made up and refrigerated the night before.  Or you could prepare the first step, which is to partially bake the dough in the pizza pan and then refrigerate the pizza for use the following day.  I find this dough only works for deep dish as it is very sticky and I have not had much luck rolling it out.  You could try regrigerating the dough to see if it dries it out enough for rolling and shaping into a regular dough, but I have not bothered with this.  I have added additional ingredients like flax seeds or whole grain millet.

As I mentioned, while the dough was prepping in the oven, I sauteed my ingredients:  Sweet Italian Sausage, a shallot, and then finally the spinach.  You could put the spinach leaves on the pizza without sauteeing them with the Italian sausage...just use fewer leaves as too many will make your pizza wet.

Once the dough comes out of the oven, I add a layer of diced tomatoes.  On top of the tomatoes I add the pizza topping and then the cheese.  Per the directions on the package, I cook the pizza for 15 minutes at 425 degrees and then serve. 

The great thing about pizza is that it is very versatile.  You can often buy ready made pizza dough in your local grocery store.  Toppings can be anything you can imagine and are a great way to use leftovers.  Kids like helping out with toppings as well. 

Well, not my kid.  He has often told me he doesn't like homemade pizza.  He only likes Antonio's.  So, for now, I make a homemade pizza for me and Peter and then I support a local business owner by buying a small cheese pizza for PJ.  The point is to keep it simple and make it a treat!


  1. I remember pizza night at your house! I had forgotten about the soda part. :) This home-made pizza sounds wonderful. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Laura,

    I should have written in my blog that one of the best things about pizza night is sleepovers!

    Wish you were here for pizza night this week. :-)

  3. Its funny I was just thinking today that it is about time for a blog post from you and I was so excited to see it tonight! I have tried time and time again to make pizza and it just does not seem to work out for me. Even the store bought pizza dough, I seem to struggle with. Its great when food brings back memories like what the pizza does for you.