Tag Archives: pizza

Caramelized Onion, Mushroom and Goat Cheese Pizza

3 Mar

Finished pizza! I ate it all. Don't judge.

Gina and I are global spices, and will both be traveling for the next couple of weeks (her in Spain, me in Qatar- I am very jealous of all the sangria she gets), so I thought I would write this up before I fly halfway around the world for an undetermined amount of time.  My roommate and I have become quite the pizza experts recently, and this is what I made for dinner tonight.  My main objective was to use up all of the things I have in the fridge, but this ended up being an excellent combination of flavors for a pizza or flatbread.

I read a Serious Eats article on how to quickly caramelize onions recently, and wanted to try out the technique.  It worked extremely well, and I really did have delicious onions in about 15 minutes.  If you’re into food experimenting, I recommend reading the entire article, but if not I outline the easy method below.  I added some mushrooms and goat cheese to complement the onions, and the end result was excellent. Try it sometime soon!

Caramelized Onion, Mushroom and Goat Cheese Pizza
Serves 1 hungry person, or 2 less hungry people

Equipment: Knife, sheet pan, frying pan or skillet

1/2 package pre-made pizza dough or homemade pizza dough
1/2 large yellow onion, diced finely
1 tablespoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon butter
1/4 cup water
1/2 pint white mushrooms, sliced
1/4 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
3 tablespoons goat cheese
Salt and pepper
Olive oil

Preheat oven to 450 degrees and take pizza dough out of the fridge for 20 minutes.  Heat sugar in a frying pan or skillet over medium-high heat until it has melted and turned light brown, about 3 minutes.  Add onions and coat with the sugar, then add 1/2 tablespoon of butter, 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda, 1/2 teaspoon salt and a bit of pepper.  Cook the onions, stirring in the pan occasionally, for about 5 minutes.  Add two tablespoons of water and scrape the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon.  Let the water evaporate, then add water and mix again- do this two more times (adding water 3 times in total).  When onions are deep brown, put them into a mixing bowl.

In the same pan the onions were in, add another 1/2 tablespoon of butter.  Add the mushrooms and cook for 3-5 minutes, or until they are brown and starting to crisp.

To assemble pizza, spray the sheet pan with olive oil, and stretch out the dough using your fingers or a rolling pin.  When the dough is thin, place on the baking sheet.  Spread the caramelized onion-jam onto the dough as a base, followed by the mushrooms.  Then evenly spread the mozzarella cheese over the pizza, followed by crumbles of goat cheese.  Bake in the preheated oven for 10-15 minutes, until crust is golden and cheese bubbling.


Restaurant Review: Il Canale in Georgetown

12 Feb

The calimari was way better than this terrible picture

As soon as I read a review of Il Canale on Serious Eats, I knew I had to go. It was proclaimed Georgetown’s first “Truly Neapolitan Pizza,” and though I know New York is home to lots of great Neapolitan places, this one is practically on my doorstep. So best for the area is good enough for me.
So Roxie, my friend Lily, and I met up for dinner here last Tuesday. As expected on a Tuesday, it wasn’t exactly packed, but I imagine it gets busier on weekends and I would probably make a reservation. Looking around, the pizzas looked just slightly bigger than personal size– I could probably have finished a whole one with no appetizer, but I didn’t need one to myself. So we decided to share an order of calimari and fried zucchini to start, and then went for a Margherita pizza and the Italia.
We were a little worried at first that because “foccacia” was listed on the menu, we wouldn’t get free bread. Thankfully, we were soon proven wrong, and though the bread itself was pretty standard, the roasted garlic in the olive oil that came with it was awesome. (Potatoes, bread, pasta… yes, the Spices love their carbs.)

Italia pizza!

The calimari came next, and totally blew me away. I’m not always a huge fan of calimari, because I often find it too chewy. This wasn’t chewy at all, however, and the batter was perfectly light and salty. The zucchini thrown in to the didn’t add a whole lot, but made me feel a tiny bit healthier.
Next up were the pizzas. The Margherita was your classic, marinara sauce, mozzarella and basil. I could have done with a little more basil, but I though the sauce was incredible… really bright tomato flavors. The Italia was off the white side of the menu, meaning it had no sauce. It was a good prosciutto-parmesan-arugula pizza, though the toppings didn’t blow me away. The stand out on both pizzas, to me, was the crust. Super chewy and really well flavored, it made me understand the cult of the Neapolitan pizza.
Best of all was the bill we got at the end! $15 each for a filling meal… granted we didn’t get drinks or dessert, but it is undoubtedly very well priced (and certainly rivals the other Italian eateries in Georgetown in this respect).
I would highly recommend Il Canale for a nice meal out with your friends… it is budget-friendly, good for sharing, and has excellent food.

Il Canale

Classic Marinara Sauce

23 Jan

Yay homemade sauce! So impressive.

Italy is pretty.

Italian food is one of my favorite cuisines to eat, mainly because it involves so much pasta and cheese and sauces and general deliciousness.  My aunt and uncle have a cottage in Tuscany, and up until a few years ago my cousin also had a small apartment in Siena, which is easily my favorite city in Italy, although admittedly I’m biased by all of my idyllic vacations spent walking around the city eating gelato and drinking Campari soda while sitting on the main piazza. It is pretty hard to find Italian food anywhere in the U.S. that is as simple and fresh as the rustic food you would find in Siena or the villages in Tuscany, but that certainly won’t stop me from eating as much of it as possibly.  Sadly, I’m not sure of many restaurants here that serve wild boar stew or black truffle bruschetta (at least for less than about 15 dollars a serving), but luckily there are many widely avaliable recipes for simple meat preparations and sauces. Sidenote: wild boar is seriously delicious, but not the most reassuring thing to hear sniffling around the grape vines after dark when you are sleeping in a garage-turned-bedroom 20 feet away.

Vegetable pizza. Slightly non-pizza shaped, don't judge.

This is a recipe for a classic tomato marinara sauce from Giada de Laurentiis’ cookbook Everyday Italian.  I made this the other day in preparation for making a vegetable lasagna from the same book, which I will post very soon. You need to set aside a bit of time to make this, but other than chopping the vegetables all you have to do is let the sauce reduce for a while as you go about your day (doing more productive things than I tend to on a weekend, I’m sure).  I recommend making this whole recipe, which makes 8 cups of sauce, as you can freeze half of it, and it keeps well in the fridge for a week or so.  Since this is so simple it is very versatile- you could use it just on pasta, in a lasagna, or as a pizza sauce.  It is more chunky than a traditional marinara you might find in a jar, but trust me, this makes it even better.  I’ve given recipes for the sauce, as well as a pizza I made recently using the leftovers I had in the fridge.

Marinara Sauce
From Everyday Italian by Giada de Laurentiis, makes 8 cups

Equipment: Large saucepan, knife, wooden spoon
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 small onions, finely chopped (or one large onion)
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 celery stalks, finely chopped
2 carrots, peeled and finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon sea salt, plus more to taste
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste
2 32-oz cans crushed tomatoes (or use whole tomatoes and crush them with your hands before adding)
2 dried bay leaves

In a large pot, heat the oil over a medium-high flame. Add the onions and garlic and saute until the onions are translucent, about 10 minutes. Add the celery, carrots, and 1/2 teaspoon each of salt and pepper. Saute until all the vegetables are soft, about 10 minutes. Add the tomatoes and bay leaves, and simmer uncovered over low heat until the sauce thickens, about 1 hour. Remove and discard the bay leaves. Season the sauce with more salt and pepper, to taste.

Vegetable Pizza
Serves 1-2

Equipment: Sheet pan, knife
8 oz pizza dough (this is one half a store-bought pizza dough, such as from Trader Joes)
1/2 to 1 cup marinara sauce (depending on how big the pizza turns out)
1 yellow squash or zucchini
2 oz sliced white mushrooms
About 1/4 of a 6 oz bag of baby spinach
Shredded Mozzarella cheese
Grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 450. If the dough has been in the fridge, leave it to rest at room temperature for about 20 minutes.  Chop the squash into thin rounds. Then spray the sheet pan with olive oil and stretch/roll the dough into a rectangular shape (it should be pretty thin). Lay the squash slices on the dough, followed by the mushrooms, and spread the spinach on top.  Top with a generous layer of mozzarella cheese, and grate a bit of Parmesan on top of that.  Cook at 450 for 10-15 minutes, until cheese is bubbling and crust is brown.

Grilled Chicken Pesto Pizza

24 Oct

Pizza just out of the oven. Look at all that cheesy goodness.

Who doesn’t love pizza?  I’m one of those people who will eat basically any type of pizza, ranging from the cheapest arguably-inedible frozen grocery store pizza to authentic Italian pizza from a little old man who’s family has been making it for generations.  Really though, I’m in the camp that says anything slathered in sauce and cheese will taste good.  Which is why I was very excited when I made the discovery recently that it is very easy for one to make at home, especially if you use pre-made dough, which you can get at places such as Trader Joes or Whole Foods very cheaply.  I’ve made a couple of different versions, but the one I made most recently was with pesto, mozzarella, and grilled chicken, and I used Trader Joes Garlic and Herb pizza dough as the base.   It was very yummy, and as a bonus those with tomato aversions like my old roommate Jill (Hi Greebs!) can still eat it because pesto is used as the main sauce.  I grilled a chicken breast and cut it up to add to the pizza, but it would be very delicious without, and you could of course use marinara or plain tomato sauce on this as well if you would like.  The best thing is, you can reheat this in an oven very easily the next day or two days later and it still tastes great.  Or if you are lazy and very hungry you can just eat it cold straight from the fridge.  I don’t judge.

Mostly-assembled pizza

Grilled Chicken Pesto Pizza

Equipment: Oven, grill pan/frying pan, sheet pan, knife

1 package pre-made pizza dough
1 chicken breast
2 tablespoons pesto
5 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese, sliced thinly
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon paprika
Salt and Pepper

If using pre-made pizza dough (I used the garlic and herb version from Trader Joes this time), let it sit out at room temperature for about 20 minutes so it is easier to work with.

While the dough is out, prepare your chicken. Heat a grill pan or grill and place the chicken breast between two pieces of parchment and pound until it is a uniform thickness (about 1/2 an inch thick or less). Salt and pepper both sides, and add paprika to both sides if desired. Spray pan with non-stick spray or oil, and grill for 7-10 minutes on each side or until chicken is cooked through. Remove to plate and let cool while you prepare the dough.

Preheat the oven to 475F. Drizzle some olive oil onto a sheet pan. Stretch out the dough using your hands- I usually hold it from one end and let it drop down and then keep stretching it this way until the middle parts are quite thin. When it is stretched, place on the sheet plan, you can continue to work it into the shape you like once it is on the pan. Spread the pesto over the dough first, and then evenly place the slices of mozzarella over the pesto. Slice your chicken into thin strips and place over mozzarella. Finish with a good grating of Parmesan cheese, and place pan in the oven for 12-15 minutes, or until crust is golden and cheese is bubbling but not overcooked or hard. Take out and enjoy!