delicious discourse

Posted in recipe by delicious:discourse on February 16, 2008
I hate to writing this post on Valentine’s Day (do not get me started), of all days, but it is just another day, so I will truck on. To end this very over-processed Hallmark day, M and I made very homemade, from-scratch, unprocessed pizza. Not only is my boyfriend handsome, smart, adventurous, and boy does he put up with me, the guy also is a master pizza chef—I kid you not. Just when a girl thinks she has it all, she finds she has so much more—a boyfriend who feeds her…WELL..very well.

I do have to take part of the credit here, because I was indeed the one who found the pizza dough recipe, gave M his pizza stone and peel for his 29th birthday on January 28th. But execution tonight was all about him. While lunching, we browsed through dozens of pizza recipes, but he chose the one below, which we added grilled chicken too and nixed the bacon to make it our own. The pizza was one of the best and most unique I have ever had. The dough is soft, puffy yet heavy, and chewy, just the way I like it. A combination of brie, pecorino romano, and sharp cheddar cheese, give every bite a different ratio and array of flavors and dimension. M said he could do without the parsley, however I hold it adds color and presentation to the dish. Also, keep that honey handy. M introduced me to the simple dessert of pizza crust with honey drizzled over it. Tonight could not get much sweeter.
Pizza Dough (courtesy of Giada DeLaurentiis)

  • 3/4 cup warm water (105°F to 115°F)
  • 1 envelope active dry yeast
  • 2 cups (or more) all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil

Pour 3/4 cup warm water into small bowl; stir in yeast. Let stand until yeast dissolves, about 5 minutes.

Brush large bowl lightly with olive oil. Mix 2 cups flour, sugar, and salt in processor. Add yeast mixture and 3 tablespoons oil; process until dough forms a sticky ball. Transfer to lightly floured surface. KNEAD dough until smooth, adding more flour by tablespoonfuls if dough is very sticky, about 1 minute. Transfer to prepared bowl; turn dough in bowl to coat with oil. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let dough rise in warm draft-free area until doubled in volume, about 1 hour. PUNCH down dough. DO AHEAD Can be made 1 day ahead. Store in airtight container in refrigerator. ROLL out dough according to recipe instructions. (Start in center of dough, working outward toward edges but not rolling over them.)

White Pizza

  • pizza dough
  • 10 half-inch cubes of brie (all cheese–to taste)
  • grated sharp cheddar (about 1 cup)
  • percorino romano (about a 1/2 cup)
    3 tbsp. flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 ear of grilled corn
  • 1 chicken grilled breast

Put the pizza stone in the oven and heat to 475 degrees. Gently stretch the dough to desired size of pizza, most likely just over 12-inches (it depends if you like thinner or thicker crust). Place dough on a floured pizza (can also use cornmeal) peel. Sprinkle the cheddar and brie on the dough. Spread the grilled corn, parsley leaves, and grilled chicken on top of the cheese. Scatter the grated pecorino romano on last.
Slide pizza onto hot stone in oven. Bake 6 to 8 minutes until golden. Cut into slices and serve.

Pasta! Pasta! Read All About It!

I subscribe to Daily Candy New York, even though I live in Austin, because someday I will live there and, for the meantimes, I need to be in the loop. Today’s newsletter featured a new restaurant opening in New York, Michael Psilakis’s Mia Dona, which is to serve inexpensive Italian food. The particular opening is not what caught my eye–this is, “….only he’s doing casual, inexpensive Italian here because that’s all anyone wants to eat this year”. Because that’s all anyone wants to eat this year????? How did Daily Candy know I prepared a simple, delicious, and inexpensive Italian pasta last night????? And that I have been on an Italian kick all winter, including my first dinner party where I served caprese salad, a pork roast with a fig port sauce, and risotto????? Oh they are good. They are real good.

Personally, I cannot take credit for the hearty yet light, healthy yet satisfying pasta I prepared last night. That credit would have to go to Ms. Giada de Laurentis and her Everyday Italian book, which I highly recommend by the way. Her risotto is to die for. Seriously. I got blisters making it. Anyway, the recipe calls for orecchiette, a type of pasta native to Apulia, about 3/4 of an inch in size, and resembling a small ear (orecchio is ear in Italian, how cute). However, you can use a different small shaped pasta. In this case, I chose bionaturae’s Organic 100% Whole Wheat Penne Rigate, made in Italy. The reason I picked this pasta is because it has only one ingredient listed–organic whole wheat durum wheat flour in addition to the given water and salt. Under cooking instructions, after the amount of water and time, is “The more you cook your pasta, the higher the glycemic-index rating. Please test your pasta frequently and become accustomed to eating pasta ‘al dente’, as they do in Italy”. Now, this is cool and interesting. I had never heard the glycemic index bit before, but it makes sense. As for the al dente, I love the fact bionaturae is encouraging consumers to eat their product as INTENDED, the way Italians do.

Back to the pasta recipe-

2 bunches broccoli rabe – trimmed and cut crosswise
12 oz pasta
olive oil
1 lb spicy pork sausage, removed from casing (Andouille works well)
3 garlic cloves, minced
pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 cup FRESH grated parmesean (Grate it yourself. Yes, I am making you work for it. You will thank me later.)
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper

Heat a large pot with water and salt to a boil. Add the broccolini rabe and cook until tender yet crisp (about two minutes) and strain out of the water. Using the same pot of boiling water cook the pasta for the directed amount of time and please try it al dente! While the pasta is cooking, in a large skillet heat the sausage until cooked and juice has rendered. Add garlic and a pinch on red pepper flakes. Add the broccolini to sausage and toss to coat. Combine pasta and sausage mixture, once pasta has been strained. Add parmesean and toss all together. Salt and pepper to taste. Serve.

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