White Focaccia Pizza with Zucchini

White Focaccia Pizza with Zucchini

A pizza recipe with a delicious little twist on tradition. If you’re looking for something a little different for pizza night, like I was, then this is just the thing. Instead of pizza dough this uses focaccia, skips the red sauce and uses three different types of cheese. And the topping? Zucchini. (You may have some hiding out in your fridge right now.) Cut up into matchstick pieces so small they don’t have a chance to get soggy.

The focaccia crust is softer and more bread-like than pizza dough. There’s a layering of flavors that starts by first brushing the dough with a garlic and olive oil infusion followed by ricotta cheese and herbs, mozzarella and last of all zucchini and red onion. Fresh out of the oven, Parmesan cheese is sprinkled over top along with a smattering of fresh herbs to finish it off.

I couldn’t of put together a better combination of flavors. Zucchini is such a mild, bland vegetable that it soaks up whatever flavors you pair it with just like a sponge. The zucchini doesn’t stand out as much as I initially thought it might. What you taste is this incredibly creamy topping with a pop of garlic and herbs over a soft and chewy crust. Incredibly and surprisingly delicious! Whether you’re a zucchini lover or not.

This is announcement is for those of you who have been following along with my Side Dish Showdown and most recently my Side Dish Saturdays event. I’m sorry to say that I have to put the event on hold for the time being. With the next few months being very busy for me it would be a struggle to keep it going. I hope to start it up again sometime in the future but right now that is up in the air too. I thank you all for helping make it such a success! I have a new found respect for side dishes and have learned to give them the careful attention they deserve so they shine as brightly, if not brighter than the main attraction.

White Focaccia PIzza with Zucchini

White Focaccia Pizza with Zucchini
(by Reeni)

Foccacia dough (recipe to follow)
6 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup olive oil, plus more for greasing pan
Sea Salt
Cornmeal, for dusting the pan
15 ounces part-skim ricotta cheese
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon thyme
12 ounces part-skim mozzarella cheese, shredded
1 large zucchini, julienned (cut into matchstick pieces)
1/2 large red onion, chopped
1/3 cup Parmesan, fresh grated
Fresh thyme or basil, chopped, for finishing, optional

1. To make a 16-inch pizza remove a 1/4 of the dough* and set aside unless you want a fairly thick pizza, in that case use it all. Oil a pizza pan and sprinkle lightly with cornmeal. Press and stretch the dough out to fit the pan. Set aside to rise for 15 minutes.

2. In a small skillet heat the oil over medium-low heat. Turn heat down to low and add garlic with a pinch or two of salt. Allow to cook over low heat for three-four minutes. If it begins to turn brown remove from heat immediately.

3. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Allow the oil to cool and pour over top of the pizza dough, use a pastry brush or a spoon to spread it evenly across the dough. Spread the ricotta evenly over top and sprinkle with oregano and thyme. Sprinkle mozzarella over top, then zucchini and onion.

4. Bake for 24-28 minutes. Remove from oven and sprinkle top with Parmesan and herbs. Let set for 5-10 minutes before cutting.

*With the little bit of extra dough you can make a separate small pizza/focaccia.

Julienned Zucchini with my bad-ass Guy Fieri knife.
Thank you Brad for the cool Guy Fieri knife!

(adapted from Tyler Florence)

2 teaspoons rapid-rising dry yeast
1 cup warm water
2 tablespoons sugar
3 1/2 to 4 cups flour
2 teaspoons sea or coarse salt
1/4 cup olive oil
Cornmeal, for dusting
toppings, optional

1. In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with a dough hook, proof the yeast by combining it with the warm water and sugar. Stir gently to dissolve. Let stand 3 minutes until foam appears. Turn mixer on low and slowly add the flour to the bowl. Dissolve salt in 2 tablespoons of water and add it to the mixture. Pour in 1/4 cup olive oil. When the dough starts to come together, increase the speed to medium. Stop the machine periodically to scrape the dough off the hook. Mix until the dough is smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes, adding flour as necessary.

2. Turn the dough out onto a work surface and fold over itself a few times. Form the dough into a round and place in an oiled bowl, turn to coat the entire ball with oil so it doesn’t form a skin. Cover with plastic wrap or damp towel and let rise over a gas pilot light on the stovetop or other warm place until doubled in size, about 45 minutes. If making pizza proceed from here with the pizza instructions.

3. Coat a sheet pan with a little olive oil and corn meal. Once the dough is doubled and domed, turn it out onto the counter. Roll and stretch the dough out to an oblong shape about 1/2-inch thick. Lay the flattened dough on the pan and cover with plastic wrap. Let rest for 15 minutes.

4. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Uncover the dough and dimple with your fingertips. Brush the surface with more olive oil and add toppings if desired like caramelized onions, garlic, olives, cheese, salt, pepper, and rosemary or other fresh herbs. Bake on the bottom rack for 15 to 20 minutes.

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White Foccacia Pizza with  Zucchini


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Chorizo and Potato Pan Pizza Recipe

Chorizo and Potato Pan Pizza

This robust pizza is packed with chorizo sausage, potato and mozzarella cheese piled high on a thick anchor of dough with a generous amount of sauce and baked in a cast-iron skillet. If you don’t have a cast-iron skillet you can use a cake pan, although the flavor and crispiness that well-seasoned cast-iron imparts on the crust can’t be beat.

I heart any and all kinds of pizza! And the proof is in the fact that I eat lots of it, especially the thin, foldable style that NY is notoriously known for. Once in a while I hunger for something different. Something non-traditional. Something exactly opposite the NY-style I favor. This fits the bill with an exceptionally thick, sturdy crust and heavy toppings. I was extremely satisfied with how this turned out; aside from the fact that I overcooked it by about 5 minutes…I already have plans for a repeat, next time with hot Italian sausage and peppers.

Chorizo and Potato Pan Pizza

 The amount of pizza you can make with this dough recipe depends on how thick the crust is and the size of your pan(s). I made a 10-inch and a 6-inch. The dough requires two long rises so you want to start 3 to 4 hours ahead of time. But don’t be put off by the time involved, it’s effortless, and you can use your Kitchen Aid or Bread Machine to do the work. There are also instructions for making the dough in advance and refrigerating it on the King Arthur Flour website.

I really liked working with this dough, it was easy to stretch out and had good flavor and texture. I’ve eaten pizza with crust that tasted as well as looked like cardboard. Nothing can ruin a pizza faster than an unsavoury crust…and this is anything but that.

Chorizo and Potato Pan Pizza

Chorizo and Potato Pan Pizza
(dough recipe adapted from King Arthur Flour)

2 teaspoons Active Dry Yeast or Instant Yeast
Pinch of Sugar
7/8 to 1 1/8 cups lukewarm water*
2 tablespoons Olive Oil
3 cups All-Purpose Flour
1 1/4 teaspoons salt

3-4 Fresh Chorizo Sausage links, thinly sliced length-wise into rounds
2 medium Potatoes, peeled, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
Canola Oil
1 teaspoon Oregano
Sea Salt and Fresh Black Pepper
1/2 Yellow Onion, thinly sliced
4 cloves Garlic, minced

Also Need:
1 jar of Pizza Sauce or Marinara Sauce (like Barila)
12 ounces of Mozzarella Cheese, shredded (more or less according to your preference)
1 teaspoon Italian Seasoning
Basil, fresh, chopped, for garnish
Parmesan Cheese, for serving
Red Pepper Flakes, for serving

1. Dissolve yeast with a pinch of sugar in 2 tablespoons of the lukewarm water. Allow the mixture to sit at room temperature for 15 minutes until the mixture has bubbled and expanded.

2. Combine the yeast mixture with the remainder of the ingredients. Mix and knead everything together—by hand, mixer or bread machine set on the dough cycle—till you’ve made a soft, smooth dough. If you’re kneading in a stand mixer, it should take 4 to 5 minutes at second speed, and the dough should barely clean the sides of the bowl, perhaps sticking a bit at the bottom. Don’t over-knead the dough; it should hold together, but can still look fairly rough on the surface.

4. Put the dough in a lightly greased bowl, cover and allow it to rise until it’s real puffy about 90 minutes. I put mine in the oven with the light on or with a pan of hot water.

5. Decide what size, shape, and thickness of pizza you want to make. This recipe will make one of the following choices:

-One 1” thick 12” pizza and one personal size (These are the sizes I made.)

You can also make:

-Two 1/2″-thick 14″ round pizzas
- Two 3/4″-thick 12″ round pizzas
-One 3/4″ to 1″-thick 13″ x 18″ rectangular
-One 1 1/2″-thick 9″ x 13″ rectangular pizza
-One 1″-thick 14″ round pizza

7. To make a 10-inch and 6-inch visually divide the dough into thirds and then cut it into two: one piece being 2/3 and the other 1/3. Divide it in half for two equal size pizzas or leave whole for one big one.

8. For round pizzas shape the dough into a rough circle. For rectangular shape the dough into a rough oval. Don’t pat it flat; just stretch it briefly into shape. Allow the dough to rest, covered with an overturned bowl or lightly greased plastic wrap for 15 minutes.

9. Use vegetable oil pan spray to lightly grease the pan(s) of your choice. Drizzle olive oil into the bottom of the pan(s). Sprinkle lightly with cornmeal.

10. Press the dough over the bottom of the pan(s) stretching it towards the edges. If the dough shrink backs let it sit for 10 to 15 minutes. Be sure to cover the dough so it doesn’t dry out.

11. Pat the dough closer to the corners of the pan, repeat the rest and dough-stretch one more time, if necessary.

12. Cover the dough and allow it to rise until it’s noticeably puffy, about 90 minutes. About 45 minutes into this rise start preparing the toppings. And towards the end of the rise preheat oven to 450°F.

13. To make the the topping: in a large, lightly greased skillet over medium-low heat cook the chorizo slices turning often until cooked through. Remove and set aside. In the chorizo grease cook the potatoes with the onion and oregano, season with salt and pepper. Add canola oil if needed, there should be a thin, even layer of grease over bottom. Cook potatoes until soft in middle and browned on all sides. Add sausage back to pan and remove from heat. Toss well.

13. Bake the pizza on the lower oven rack till it looks and feels set on top, and is just beginning to brown around the edge of the crust, but is still pale on top. This will take about 8 minutes for thinner crust pizza; about 10 to 12 minutes for medium thickness; and 12 to 14 minutes for thick-crust pizza. If you’re baking two pizzas, reverse them in the oven (top to bottom, bottom to top) midway through the baking period.

14. Remove pizza(s) from the oven. Carefully, so as not to get burnt place a generous amount of sauce evenly over top, sprinkle with Italian Seasoning, follow it with as much cheese as you want, followed by the Chorizo and Potato mixture spread evenly over top. Return to the oven, and bake on the upper oven rack for an additional 10 to 15 minutes, until the crust is nicely browned, both top and bottom, and the cheese is melted. Check it midway through, and move it to the bottom rack if the top is browning too much, or the bottom not enough.

15. Remove the pizza from the oven and let sit for 10 minutes before serving. For easiest serving cut with a pair of kitchen scissors. Garnish with basil. Serve with Parmesan and red pepper flakes.

*Use the lesser amount in summer (or in a humid environment), the greater amount in winter (or in a dry climate), and somewhere in between the rest of the year, or if your house is climate controlled.

**Easier to slice if semi-frozen.

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Chorizo and Potato Pan Pizza

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Crunchy Pizza Dough Croutons

Crunchy Pizza Dough Croutons with Caesar Salad

I’m bringing you a simple recipe for croutons that are made by pan-frying little pieces of pizza dough and tossing them in Parmesan cheese. While the method is simple the outcome is not. I taste tested one three before adding them to my salad and was quite tempted to eat them all straight away – one right after the other. The heck with the salad! These are extremely addicting! Make extra!

The recipe comes from one of the newer shows on Food Network called Five Ingredient Fix. As soon as I saw what the host, Clarie Robinson was up to I knew these were in my very near future. Cheesy little bites of lightly fried dough? Who can resist? And why would you want to? Claire served hers in a salad dressed lightly with lemon and olive oil that she calls Caesar salad. Where she is limited to five ingredients I am not. I served mine with my Mock Caesar Salad; a knock-off of the traditional dressing using mayo in place of egg and Worcestershire or fish sauce in place of anchovies.

Crunchy Pizza Dough Croutons with Caesar Salad

I didn’t give set amounts because you can really make as little or as many as you’d like. This is more of a method than a recipe. I broke off a small piece of dough while making pizza and saved it to make these another night. I do suggest that you have the salad ready before frying up the croutons. They are best served warm. And if the salad isn’t ready when the croutons are there may not be any croutons left! I’m pretty sure these would be good with any type of salad or dressing. They also make a great appetizer or snack. And are very versatile. I will be playing around with seasonings and different cheese(s).

These really add a little something extra to an everyday salad. I loved them warm with the contrast of the cold salad. They truly are little puffy bites of heaven that melt-in-your mouth. Salty, crusty and totally delicious. Make some today.

Crusty Pizza Dough Croutons & Caesar Salad

Pizza Dough Croutons
(adapted from Food Network)

Pizza Dough
Fresh Parmesan, grated*
Vegetable/Canola oil
3 or 4 garlic cloves, whole,peeled

1. Cut the pizza dough into little rectangles or roll into balls. They will puff up bigger as they cook so cut them a little smaller than you want them to be. Add the Parmesan cheese to a medium size bowl.

2. In a large, heavy-bottomed skillet add about 1/4-inch of oil. Heat on medium-low heat, add garlic cloves and saute.

3. Test oil by frying one piece of dough – the oil should get bubbly around the dough. If not turn heat up to medium. Fry the dough turning until all sides are browned. Drain on paper towels and then add to bowl with Parmesan while still warm. Serve with your favorite salad.

*I used a 1/4 cup for 15 croutons. 

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Mock Caesar Salad Dressing
(by Reeni)

1 tablespoon Mayonnaise
1 tablespoon fresh squeezed Lemon juice
2 teaspoons Worcestershire or Fish Sauce
2 Garlic cloves, finely minced
1 teaspoon Dijon Mustard
1/2 cup Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated, plus more for shaving/sprinkling over top
Sea/Kosher salt and fresh Pepper
Pizza Dough Croutons

By Hand:
1. In a small mixing bowl whisk together the Mayonnaise, Lemon Juice, Worcestershire, Garlic, and Mustard until well combined.

2. Stream in the oil while whisking and continue whisking for a minute or two.

3. Stir in Parmesan. Taste and adjust to suit your own taste by adding more Garlic, Lemon Juice, Worcestershire, or Mayonnaise for a creamier finish. Season with salt and pepper.

4. Toss with Romaine hearts, additional Parmesan, Croutons, and slices of Parmesan Chicken.

In a Food Processor:
1. To the bowl of a food processor add the Mayonnaise, Lemon Juice, Worcestershire, Garlic, and Mustard. Pulse until well creamy and well combined.

2. Stream in the oil while pulsing. Pulse until well emulsified.

3. Taste and adjust to your own tastes by adding more Garlic, Lemon Juice, Worcestershire or Mayonnaise for a creamier finish.

4. Stir in Parmesan cheese, taste and season with salt and pepper.

5. Toss with Romaine hearts, additional Parmesan, croutons, and slices of Parmesan Chicken.

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Crunchy Pizza Dough Croutons with Caesar Salad

I’m taking your side dishes for the Showdown! Add your links to the bottom of the post HERE.

Do you love burgers? Join us and rate Katie Lee’s Award Winning Logan County ‘Grilled Cheese’ Burger. Find out the details/ get the recipe and add your link to the bottom of the post HERE.

I also want to tell you about a new site to visit called Foodierama.

Foodierama is a homepage for foodies based on the idea of serendipity. It’s designed as a portal front page containing teasers to the latest posts of a list of hundreds of the best food blogs. Whenever users enter the page they discover something new and exciting: a new blog, a new recipe or cooking technique etc. In addition, users get a panoramic view of what’s going on in the food blog-sphere all on one graphic page.” -Dave, co-founder of Foodierama

I’m linking this to Chaya of My Sweet and Savory for her Meatless Monday round-up.

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White Pizza with Tomatoes and Onions

White Pizza

We eat pizza at least once a week in my house. A few weeks ago we stepped away from our usual pizza and tried a new type of pizza at a new pizzeria. It was white pizza. While I’m not debating that it was delicious, I knew I could recreate one just as good if not better using my own two hands. A white pizza has ricotta cheese in place of the sauce.The pizzeria pizza had garlic and paper-thin sliced tomatoes sparsely dotting the top. I wanted more of the topping so when the pizza craving hit again I made my own.

The Ricotta melts lovingly into a soft, creamy, mess with the perfect amount of stringy Mozzarella over the top. The tomato is just enough that I didn’t miss the sauce and gives it a little pop of acidity that livens the flavors up. And garlic is a must. As for the new pizzeria? My pizza standards are so high that I’m sticking with the old standby. When I want something different I’ll make it at home.

Pizza Fixin's

White Pizza with Tomatoes and Onions
(by Reeni)

Olive Oil
1 recipe Pizza dough
1 and 1/2 cups Ricotta Cheese
12 ounces Mozzarella, sliced*
3 medium vine-ripened tomatoes, sliced thin
1 small red onion, sliced thin
5 cloves garlic, minced
Sea salt and fresh cracked pepper

Preheat oven to 500 degrees.

Oil and sprinkle cornmeal over a 15″ pizza pan.

Use your hands/fist to stretch the dough to fit your pizza pan or a rolling pin.

Spread the Ricotta in an even layer across the top. Sprinkle the minced garlic
over top.

Cover with mozzarella slices, then onion rings. Drizzle a tablespoon of Olive Oil over the top and season with salt and pepper.

Cook for 12 minutes on 500 degrees. Lower temperature to 450 degrees and
continue cooking for 7-10 more minutes. Keeping a close eye on it the last few minutes.

Remove and let sit for five minutes before cutting.

*Slicing it instead of shredding allows the top to cook slower and gives the crust more time to cook.

Raw White Pizza

Pizza Dough

2 and ½ cups unbleached all-purpose flour
2 and ½ teaspoons active dry yeast or one package
1 cup warm water
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoons sugar

Dissolve the yeast in ½ cup water and then add sugar. Place in a warm spot for a few minutes then check to make sure the yeast is active. It should have bubbled up. If it is bubbling leave it until it has doubled in size about ten minutes.

In a large bowl add the flour and make a well in the middle for the yeast
mixture and water. Add the other ½ cup of warm water, the yeast mixture and the salt. Stir until everything is incorporated and then start working the dough using your hands. Knead the dough on a floured board until smooth and elastic about three minutes.

Place the dough in a floured bowl and cover with saran wrap or a thin kitchen towel.

Set in a warm place to rise about 1 and ½ hours or until dough is doubled in size.

Punch down and knead the dough again for a few minutes on a floured board.

Use your hands/fist to stretch the dough to fit your pizza pan or use a rolling pin.

Printable Recipe

White Pizza