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Oh August. Why are you here already? I think August and September are my least favorite months. I’m 100% sure it’s because summer is coming to an end and school is about to start. Even though I’ve been out of school for four years. Those 16 Augusts and Septembers have scarred me.
It’s summer and it’s hot. (At least that’s what I hear about other parts of the country. It’s a cool 70ish by the time I get home from work, so our apartment is usually nice.) Why, oh why would I post a recipe that tells you to preheat your oven to 450 degrees? Because it’s so hot out that it’s probably already 350 degrees in there. Just kidding! Because this is a great recipe that allows you to take advantage of the fresh figs that are in season. And it’s a light dish that’s perfectly suited for warm weather. If you really don’t want to be fiddling with the oven at such a high temp, use a whole pita or large tortilla and bake for 5-10 minutes, based on how crispy you want your pizza. Most of the ingredients are staples, so the only things you may have to buy are an onion, figs, pizza dough, and ricotta. If you don’t have arugula, substitute fresh baby spinach. If you don’t have ricotta, maybe you’d like to substitute mozzarella. Or make it even lighter by just sprinkling some goat cheese over the top. Play around!
caramelized onion and fig pizzas
makes 2 small pizzas
- olive oil
- 1 yellow onion
- 8 oz whole wheat pizza dough (Half a package of the kind from Trader Joe’s)
- 3 figs, sliced
- 1/4 cup fat-free ricotta cheese
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- 1 cup arugula
- 1/2 teaspoon thyme
- salt and pepper
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
Spray a large pan with olive oil. Turn heat to low and add onions. Stir frequently for about 20 minutes. The onions should first soften, then begin to turn brown as they become softer. If they start to get brown and crisp around the edges, reduce the heat. You can also spray them with a little more olive oil. This can take some time and patience, but the end product is well worth it! Obviously (and unfortunately) I haven’t perfected this (look at the sad onions in my photos).
Sprinkle some cornmeal on a baking sheet. Divide your dough into two portions, and using your hands, stretch and work the dough into a circle about 5 – 6 inches in diameter. Place it on the baking sheet. Evenly divide the ricotta amongst the two pieces of dough and spread, leaving a thin border for the crust. Lightly sprinkle with salt and pepper. Top with the caramelized onions. Bake for 15 minutes.
In the meantime, prepare the arugula by tossing with balsamic vinegar and lightly sprinkling with salt and pepper.
When the pizzas are done baking, top with the arugula. Layer the figs on, sprinkle with thyme, then pop back into the oven just for a minute or two to warm the figs.
Looking for something to do with your leftover pizza dough? How about mushroom and goat cheese bechamel pizzas?
Who doesn’t love pizza, right? But sometimes you feel guilty picking up a greasy, thick slice. Calculate the cost of delivery, along with the calories, and it’s just not worth it!
Granted, this is not your traditional pizza. This pie is loaded with roasted onions, butternut squash, potatoes, and two types of cheese. It packs a buttery, hearty flavor, with more nutritional value than a tomato-sauced pie. Not to mention it fills your home with the aroma of roasted veggies!
Roasted Winter Vegetable Pizza
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil plus more for the dough and pan
- 1 lb (about 1 small) butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and roughly cut into cubes
- 4 to 6 small red or fingerling potatoes, scrubbed and sliced thin
- 1/2 a large red onion, cut lengthwise and then into wedges
- 4 to 6 garlic cloves, peeled, smashed, and chopped
- 1 lb pizza dough (store-bought or fresh)
- 4 ounces part-skim mozzarella cheese, grated (about 1 cup)
- 3 cloves of garlic, chopped
- 1 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
- 1/2 tablespoon dried rosemary or 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary leaves
- Kosher salt and black pepper
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Toss the vegetables with 1 tablespoon olive oil, garlic, kosher salt, and pepper. Place in one layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Line the sheet with parchment paper for easier cleanup! Roast for 40 minutes or until vegetables are soft, turning occasionally.
Dust a clean surface with flour. Roll the dough out into a thin square. If you don’t have a rolling pin, work the dough out with your hands. The more you stretch it out, the more the dough will begin to take shape. You can control the thickness of your pizza crust – I like mine fairly thin. Move the dough onto a baking sheet sprinkled with corn meal or sprayed with olive oil.
Using a pastry brush (or your fingers) coat the dough with a light layer of olive oil, from edge to edge. Sprinkle half the mozzarella onto the crust. Dollop chunks of ricotta evenly on top, then layer on the roasted vegetables. Sprinkle with remaining mozzarella and the chopped garlic. Add a pinch of kosher salt, and add cracked black pepper to your liking. If using dried rosemary, rub and crush it between your fingers to release the herb’s oils and sprinkle on top of pizza. Pop it in the oven for 20 to 25 minutes, until the crust and vegetables begin to brown.
Slice into squares and enjoy!
One of my problems with some food magazines is that the recipes are too difficult. Time consuming, and utlizing expensive ingredients, often I find myself sadly drooling over the photos because that’s about as close as I’m going to get to eating what’s pictured.
Below is, finally, an exception to that scenario. This pizza uses basic ingredients and is fairly quick. Double the béchamel sauce, if you’d like, and save some of it as a quick sauce to toss with any combination of pasta and vegetables for tomorrow night’s dinner.
mushroom and goat cheese béchamel pizzas
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
- 1 1/2 cups milk
- 2 oz fresh goat cheese, thickly sliced
- Salt and black pepper
- 1 lb pizza dough
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing
- 1 garlic clove, smashed
- 1 lb assorted fresh mushrooms such as porcini, white button, or cremini, thinly sliced [I just use white button]
- 1 teaspoon thyme
Preheat oven to 500 degrees. Oil a large baking sheet. In a medium saucepan over moderate heat, melt the butter. Stir in 3 tablespoons of flour until it forms a thick paste. Gradually whisk in the milk until smooth. Bring the sauce to a simmer over moderately high heat, whisking constantly until thick, about 4 minutes. Reduce the heat to low and cook, whisking often, until there is no floury taste, about 10 minutes. Be careful not to burn the sauce. Remove from heat and stir in the goat cheese until melted. Season with a pinch of nutmeg, salt, and pepper.
Cut the pizza dough into 4 pieces. Lightly flour a clean working surface and roll each dough into a circle, about 6 inches in diameter. Dust the dough with flour and let sit for 15 minutes until slightly puffed.
In a large skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Add the garlic and cook over moderate heat until golden, 2 minutes. Add the mushrooms, cover, and cook, stirring occasionally until tender and browned, about 15 minutes. discard the garlic. Season the mushrooms with salt and pepper. Crush the dried thyme leaves between your fingers to release their oils and stir into the mushrooms.
Stretch the doughs out until they’re 9 inches in diameter and place them on a baking sheet. Brush the edges with olive oil and spread béchamel sauce in the center. Scatter mushrooms on top.
Bake for 5 minutes until the edges are crisp and the sauce is bubbling. Cut into wedges and serve!
to anyone. You don't have to know a lot about cooking or be a foodie to prepare and enjoy nutritious homecooked meals! Read more...