Charcuterie Pizza

December 18th, 2012 · 10 Comments · Birthdays, Holidays, Celebrations, Pork and Beef

I realize I’m not going to win any awards from the American Heart Association with this statement, but you pretty much can’t go wrong when you make a pizza from a leftover charcuterie plate. You know — the cured meat and cheese platter you put together for your holiday party that you kept buying more for because you were positive you hadn’t ordered enough? That’s me every year for every party and last time it happened I kept picking at the leftovers whenever I opened the refrigerator (willpower in the face of charcuterie: not my strong suit), which left me feeling like the glutton of the century. This time, I wised up and made use of the treasure in one fell swoop: I chopped all my meat and cheese, dumped it on a pizza crust and served it for dinner with massive tangle of greens, which, naturally, canceled out any residual guilt.

What to do with Other Holiday-ish Leftovers:

Making a Ham for Christmas? Turn leftovers into World’s Best Pea Soup.
Making Andy’s World Famous Pork Ragu? If there’s any meat leftover, make 10-Minute Tortellini. (Could also do this with Short Ribs.)
Making a spaghetti dinner ? Be sure to make extra pasta, leave it unsauced, then go for the Spaghetti Omelet.
Leftover chicken of any kind? Shred it and add to Creamy Lemony Avgolemeno. OhBoyOhBoyOhBoy.
Leftover filet of beef? (Yeah right.) Steak Sandwiches with Gruyere, Caramelized Onions and Pickles.

Charcuterie Pizza
There are surely some combinations of cheese and meat that work better than others, but chances are if the cheese is firm and you have some bocconcini (little mozzarella balls) in the mix, you’ll be good to go.

Olive oil, for greasing
1 16-ounce ball homemade pizza dough (or your favorite storebought) I replaced a cup of all-purpose flour with whole wheat for the one you see above.
1 1/2 cups homemade pizza sauce (or your favorite storebought)
Leftover cured meats, such as salami or prosciutto, chopped
Leftover firm cheese such as Manchego, Parmesan (grated) and or Bocconcini balls (halved)

Preheat oven to 500°F. Using your fingers or a pastry brush, grease a 17-by-12-inch  rimmed baking sheet with the oil. Drop your pizza dough into the center of the baking sheet, and using your fingers, press out and flatten the dough so it spreads as close as possible to all four corners. This might seem difficult, but persist — the thin crust will be worth it.

Add the sauce to dough, spreading with a spoon. Sprinkle meat on top and cover with cheese. Sprinkle meat only on one half if you want to keep part of it vegetarian-friendly. Bake for 15-20 minutes until cheese is bubbly. If the crust is browning faster than the toppings are cooking, cover with foil and continue to bake.

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Date Night Pizza

March 30th, 2011 · 17 Comments · Dinner, Rituals, Vegetarian

I’m not quite sure how this happened, but last Friday night, Andy and I managed to have a nice quiet dinner at home — just the two of us — even though there were six girls under nine years old in our house as we did so. It was Dinner-and-a-Movie night — P and A were allowed to invite a few friends over for pizza, ice cream sundaes, and a screening of Despicable Me — and it was pure madness until we pressed play on the DVD player. At that point, we 2.0′ed the kids’ basic mozzarella-and-marinara pizza and made this arugula-and-ricotta version, then poured a glass of Pinot and had an actual, audible conversation.

White Pizza with Arugula

Preheat oven to 500°F. Using your fingers, flatten and “push” 1 ball of pizza dough (preferably Jim Lahey’s homemade) as thin as you can on an olive-oiled cookie sheet. Cover dough with slices of fresh mozzarella (about 1 ball) and brush exposed edge of crust with a little olive oil. Bake for 15 minutes until crust is crispy and cheese is bubbly. (If cheese starts to bubble before crust looks done, cover center of pizza with foil.) While pizza bakes, toss together a few handfuls of arugula with 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan, 1/3 cup olive oil and a generous squeeze of lemon. Top pizza with salad and dollops of fresh ricotta. Finish with a few grinds of black pepper and a few leaves of fresh oregano if you have it.

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Salad Pizza

November 9th, 2010 · 19 Comments · Dinner, Vegetarian

Was it Michael Moss’ terrifying article on cheese in Sunday’s Times? Was it the passing mention of Sal’s, my favorite pizzeria from childhood? The only place I ever ordered Dr. Pepper and the only place I had ever heard of that served cheese-less, salad pizza. Whatever the reason, salad pizza was on my brain all day yesterday — even during a fancy midtown lunch that included lobster — so that’s what was on the dinner table at 7:00. Or at least, that was what was on mom’s and dad’s plate at 7:00. The kids couldn’t make the leap, so just had their salad on the side. (more…)

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Split-Personality Pizza

April 1st, 2010 · 4 Comments · Dinner, Picky Eating, Uncategorized, Vegetarian

I called Jenny on the way home from work tonight:

“I’m running for the 6:23 train, yeah, be home by seven, work was fine, need me to pick anything up? And oh, what do you feel like for dinner.”

“I don’t know,” she said. “Let me look–hold on–Girls, turn DOWN the Michael Jackson!”

I could hear her open the freezer, rifle around. “We have some chicken.”

Nah, not feeling chicken. Sick of chicken.

“We could do pasta.” I had pasta for lunch.

“Wait,” she said, “There’s a Jim Lahey pizza crust in here!” Pizza sounded good. “Okay, what should we have on it?” she asked. For some reason, I wanted potatoes…and cheddar cheese and caramelized onions. She raised no objections. I told her I’d make it, if she would defrost the crust and slice up some potatoes.

Forty-five minutes later, I got home to a crust on a baking sheet, a bowl of sliced red potatoes (about 1/4 inch thick, skins still on), and a preheated oven. The kids were upstairs in the bath. The dog did not appear to need walking. I went to work.

We didn’t have much in the refrigerator, pizza-wise, so I grabbed some olive oil, salt, fresh thyme, chives, an onion, and Trader Joe’s Mexican blend of shredded cheese. I boiled the potatoes in salted water for about eight minutes to soften them up and sauteed a sliced onion while I got the rest of my ingredients ready. “Do you think the kids will eat this?”  I asked as I was assembling. “Probably not,” she said. The girls were now in the kitchen in their bathrobes. Hungry. “Why don’t you make them a regular cheese pizza?” We had no mozzarella, but we did have a few sticks of string cheese, which I diced up and sprinkled over some marinara. I did a half cheese, half potato, and put it in the oven for about fifteen minutes at 500°F. As usual, the pizza crust came out exactly the way it always does (perfect, and infinitely better than a storebought crust), and thirty minutes after walking in the door, dinner was ready.

The kids did try the potato version, by the way. (We sold it to them as french fry pizza.) It appears they will allow us to move it into our rotation.

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