Sunday, February 3, 2019


Making your own pizza dough is easy. It just takes a little time. Last week I made pizza dough with my good friend Dorita Pina. She is a fabulous home chef, but had not made pizza so we did it together. Seems to be a trend of late, which I enjoy tremendously. Cooking with friends is fun, especially when they share the same passion for food as I do...and Dorita definitely does!

Dorita punching down the first rising.
This recipe is from Giada DeLaurentis. I've made it before. Find the recipe here:
One of the things I like about pizza dough is the simplicity of ingredients: flour, yeast, water, salt, a little oil for drizzling. That's it!

This recipe makes 3 very thin pizza pies. This time I doubled the recipe, but still made only 3 pizza pies. The pizza was more like a thick-crust Chicago-style pizza. I prefer a thinner dough so next time would make 5 pizzas from the doubled recipe. Once cooked, they freeze well. The day before Dorita and her husband Rudy arrived I made a pizza sauce.
This was enough for 3 pizzas.

1 12-oz. can tomato paste
2 Tbsp. Sun-dried tomato paste (optional)
12 ounces warm water (110 degrees or warm to the touch, but not scalding)
6 Tbsp. grated Parmesan cheese
2 tsp. minced garlic
3 Tbsp. honey
1 1/2 tsp. onion powder
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
1/2 tsp. dried marjoram
1/2 tsp. dried basil
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper (or more if you like it hot)
1/8 tsp. dried red pepper flakes (ditto)
Salt to taste. I used 2 tsp.

Combine all ingredients in a saucepan. Heat until cheese starts to melt. Will keep covered in the refrigerator for up to a week.

Our appetizer was an antipasti platter featuring
the homemade Tuscan and Calabrese salami
I made with Jay Bileti and the homemade
pepperoni (top left).
Rudy and Jerry solving the world's problems.
Once your dough has risen a second time, using your hands spread it evenly over a pizza pan.
Dorita is a pro, instinctively
knowing just how to spread the dough.

I had also prepared a bunch of different toppings ahead of time so everyone could 'weigh in' on what they wanted.
Toppings included:
Pre-cooked Italian sausage
Pre-cooked Ground Beef
Green Pepper, cooked slightly
Mushrooms, cooked slightly
Roasted Red Peppers
Caramelized Onion
Raw Onion
Red Pizza sauce
Basil Pesto Sauce
Various grated cheeses: Mozzarella; Parmesan; Provolone


This is Brian Boitano's recipe. He served his
Tartufo with a caramel sauce and also cut
the Tartufo's in half exposing the cherry.
I left them whole so the cherry would be a surprise!
Tartufo is an Italian ice cream dessert originating from Calabria. It usually consists of 2 or more flavors of ice cream, fruit or fruit preserve all wrapped in a chocolate shell. The shell is either formed by molding melted chocolate or you can simply crush chocolate cookies, which is what I did. 
You could also make this dish with homemade ice cream, but I used Haagen Dazs Vanilla Bean and for the fruit...these fabulous Amerena cherries.
For the chocolate crust I mixed a whole bag of Pepperidge Farm chocolate, chocolate chip crispy cookies with 1/2 of a Ghirardelli 60% Cacao Bittersweet chocolate bar. Blend together in a mini-food processor until fine crumbs form.

Slightly soften the ice cream so it is easily scoopable. Fill the scoop and then carefully punch a hole into the scoop of ice cream using the handle of a wooden spoon and insert the cherry. Cover over with ice cream and gently roll in the chocolate crumbs. Refreeze until ready to serve.

What a fun dinner party we had! Jerry Vale was serenading us throughout the evening and we almost felt like we were in Italy.

Until next time...

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