Figured I would start 2012 with a bang and do a triple post, but not just any kind of triple post, non non. This, my friends, is a TRIPLE PIZZA POST. Mmmmm pizza. Best way to start the new year if you ask me! This past week was very relaxing and exciting. I’ve been at my parents’ house in Oregon since the 23rd and have spent my time here with my friends and family, and I also tried on wedding dresses for the first time with my Mom and Aunt Jan which was completely wonderful. I narrowed it down to two dresses, but they are just so different I feel like I should keep looking to try and find a happy medium between the two. I also looked at a couple different wedding locations and, even though the weather forecasters predicted snow for the day, me and my brother decided to drive over and take a look at a few places, and found one by Mt. Hood that was absolutely perfect. It dropped 10 degrees during the hour we were there, though, so we knew our luck with the rain was running out and gunned it back down to the valley before the snowfall started. Whew! Also, yesterday was my parents’ last day at their restaurant, Foti’s Greek Deli. They are finally retiring after 33 years of business. I worked there on the last day, it seemed fitting since I had spent so many summers and school breaks working behind the counter while I was growing up. Seeing my Mom and Dad closing up shop for the last time was exciting, because now they’ll have time to visit me and spend more time with the family, but also sad because I felt like I was saying goodbye to a large part of my childhood. Very bittersweet. I am really looking forward to the New Year, though. Wedding planning will hopefully continue to be a blast and *fingers crossed* things on the job front should continue to improve on my end.

But back to the pizza; while I was home I wanted to make a nice dinner for my parents, and since my Dad loves Italian food, I figured pizza would be a great bet. But, wanting to try something new and fun, I decided to make the pizzas more….”interesting” than regular pizzas. The first was a Smoked Gouda Pizza with Italian Sausage, the second a Pesto Pizza with Coppa and Roma Tomatoes (Coppa is a cured meat, salami makes an easy substitute if there isn’t any Coppa at your grocery store), and the third was a Blue Cheese Pizza with Caramelized Onions, Bacon, and Honeyed Pears. The overall favorite was the blue cheese pizza, but they all tasted great, and I’d highly recommend making any of them for a crowd-pleasing dinner. A bit of a forewarning, the pesto recipe in the pesto pizza makes about 3/4 cup of pesto, and you only really need 1/4 cup for the pizza so you will have some left over to spread on bagels or do whatever you’d like with. I also bought ready-made pizza dough from the bakers at the local organic grocery store, New Seasons, so in the ingredients I just listed the amount of pizza dough you need in ounces since I didn’t make mine from scratch.

Smoked Gouda Pizza with Italian Sausage

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes

Ingredients

  • 12 Ounces Pizza Dough
  • 1/3 lb Smoked Gouda Cheese grated
  • 1/3 lb Italian Sausage not in sausage casing
  • 1/2 of a Small Red Onion cut into slices
  • 8 Ounces Plain Canned Tomato Sauce
  • 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
  • 1 Teaspoon Oregano
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Pepper
  • 1 Teaspoon Fresh Basil finely chopped
  • Salt to taste

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Heat the Italian sausage in a pan until just cooked, breaking it into pieces with a spatula as it is cooking. Set aside. Heat the tomato sauce, olive oil, oregano, pepper, and basil in a saucepan until hot but not boiling, stirring every couple minutes. Taste and add salt if necessary.
  2. Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface to your desired thickness and shape. Transfer the dough to a baking pan. Evenly spread the tomato sauce on the dough, leaving a 3/4 inch border on the dough for the crust.
  3. Sprinkle 3/4 of the Gouda cheese over the sauce, then evenly disperse the sausage and onions on top of the Gouda. Sprinkle the remaining Gouda over the pizza. Place the pan in the oven and bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the crust begins to turn golden brown.

Pesto Pizza with Coppa and Roma Tomatoes

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Author Eva Kosmas Flores

Ingredients

  • 12 Ounces Pizza Dough
  • 1/3 lb. Mozzarella Cheese cut into 1 cm thick slices
  • 1 Small Roma Tomato cut into 1 cm thick slices
  • 6 Slices Dry Coppa or any other cured meat such as salami
  • 2 Ounces Fresh Basil Leaves
  • 1 Garlic Clove
  • 4 Tablespoons Parmesan Cheese finely grated
  • 1 Tablespoon Pine Nuts
  • 1/4 Cup Walnuts
  • 1/4 Cup Olive Oil
  • Salt to taste

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Place the basil, olive oil, walnuts, pine nuts, garlic, and 2 tablespoons of the Parmesan cheese in a food processor or blender and blend until a smooth puree forms. If you want the pesto to be thinner you can add more olive oil. Set aside.
  2. Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface to your desired thickness and shape. Transfer the dough to a baking pan. Evenly spread your desired amount of pesto sauce (about 1/4 cup) on the dough, leaving a 3/4 inch border on the dough for the crust. Save any remaining pesto for your own enjoyment.
  3. Evenly disperse the mozzarella slices on top of the sauce, then put the Coppa slices on the mozzarella, and the tomato slices on top of the Coppa. Sprinkle the remaining 2 tablespoons of Parmesan cheese over the pizza. Place the pan in the oven and bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the crust begins to turn golden brown.

Blue Chese Pizza with Bacon, Caramelized Onions, and Honeyed Pears

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 20 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 40 minutes
Author Eva Kosmas Flores

Ingredients

  • 12 Ounces Pizza Dough
  • 1/3 lb Auvergne Blue Cheese or some other creamy and mild blue cheese
  • 1 D'Anjou Pear peeled, cored, and cut into slices no thicker than 1/2 an inch
  • 2 Thick Slices of Bacon
  • 1/4 Cup Honey
  • 1 Yellow Onion cut into slices
  • 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 1 Tablespoon Butter
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Sugar
  • Pinch of Salt

Instructions

  1. Fry the bacon in a pan until just cooked. Remove from heat and dice into 1/2-inch squares. Set aside. Heat the honey and pear slices in a flat pan over medium heat. When the honey begins to boil, bring the heat down to low and allow it to continue to cook for 15 minutes, stirring every few minutes. Then remove the pan from the heat and set aside.
  2. Heat the onions and the olive oil in a large pan over medium heat until the onions soften and turn slightly transparent, about 10 minutes, stirring every couple minutes. Add the sugar, butter, and salt and stir. Lower the heat and allow to cook for about 30 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes. If the onions begin to crisp and dry out, add a tablespoon or two of water to keep them soft. Be prepared though, when you add the water the pan will hiss and spatter. The onions are finished caramelizing when they turn a rich deep golden brown. Set them aside.
  3. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface to your desired thickness and shape. Transfer the dough to a baking pan. Evenly disperse the honeyed pear sauce over the dough, leaving a 3/4 inch border on the dough for the crust. Spread 3/4 of the blue cheese crumbles on top of the pear sauce, then spread the bacon and caramelized onions on top of the cheese, and then sprinkle the remaining blue cheese crumbles over the bacon and onions.
  4. Place the pan in the oven and bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the crust begins to turn golden brown.
Smoked Gouda Pizza with Italian Sausage
Pesto Pizza with Coppa and Roma Tomatoes
Blue Cheese Pizza with Caramelized Onions, Bacon, and Honeyed Pears
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