Raspberry, Goat Cheese and Prosciutto Pizza

Pizza has always been one of my favorite foods.  I’ll take it in any form: delivery to homemade, burned to undercooked, thin crust to thick, I love pizza.  However, as with any other food, I have my preferences.  Pepperoni and fresh mozzarella, chicken and pineapple and my all-time favorite: goat cheese and prosciutto with some form of fruit.

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The tangy but sweet flavor of the fruit melts so deliciously into the tart goat cheese all topped off with crispy bits of salty, smoked ham in the form of prosciutto.  The pizza I happened to make this afternoon added arugula to the mix, something green to make me feel like I’m eating more than carbs on top of carbs.

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I started by pre-baking the crust so it held up to the rest of the toppings.  In this case I used store-bought, but there are plenty of homemade pizza dough recipes online that whip up in a jiff and are usually preferable to store-bought.  I slathered it with a little olive oil and salt and pepper to give it a good base, then popped it in the oven.

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Once puffed and starting to get stiff I pulled it out, and, using a spoon, I smooshed the interior circle down to form a sort of crater (smoosh being the technical term, here).  This creates a crust around the edge that crisps up nicely while holding the toppings in place in the middle.

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Soft goat cheese is spread inside the crater, fresh arugula is sprinkled on top followed by ripped up pieces of prosciutto then dotted with raspberries and a final sprinkling of salt and pepper.

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It all goes back in the oven for fifteen minutes, or until the edges are a slightly darker brown.

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This pizza is tart, so be prepared, but once you’ve tried it I promise you’ll never go back to the standard pepperoni again.  Or at least not until it calls your name from the online delivery form.

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A couple of notes: I only used half of the pizza dough I bought from the store, so if you’re using the whole dough I’d recommend doubling the ingredients.  Also, if your dough has been sitting in the fridge make sure you leave it sitting out for about 20 minutes before trying to stretch it out, or you’ll end up with holes, both in the dough and on your head from pulling out your hair in frustration trying to roll out stiff, cold dough.

Raspberry, Goat Cheese and Prosciutto Pizza

1/2 ball of Pizza Dough, either store-bought or homemade
1 T Olive Oil
2 oz Goat Cheese
1 cup Arugula
2 slices Prosciutto (about one ounce)
1/2 cup Raspberries
salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 400°.  Roll the dough out to your desired level of thickness, then smear the tablespoon of olive oil on top of the pizza and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Bake for 10 minutes, less if your crust is thin.  Once the crust is puffed and starting to harden, take it out of the oven and, using a spoon, push down on the middle of the dough.  Venture out from the middle towards the edge, pushing down with the spoon to reduce the puffiness, but leave about a 1-inch border around the middle.  Spread the goat cheese on the middle of the dough, then sprinkle with the fresh arugula.  Tear the prosciutto into bite-sized pieces and add on top of the arugula.  Top with the raspberries then more salt and pepper.  Pop back into the oven for 10-15 minutes depending on how well-done you like your pizza.  With mine, the edges were just starting to brown and the raspberries were softened but not falling apart.  Let cool for as long as you can stand it then cut in your desired pizza shapes.  Serves 1-2 people if you’re normal, serves just one if you’re me.

Creamy Tomato Pasta and Fall in September

The high for today is 67 degrees, and it’s September in Texas.
Creamy Tomato Pasta (1)
This is one of those blissfully received cold fronts that blows in for just long enough to make you appreciate the sun when it comes back full force.  The sky is gray and the wind is blowing and every window in my apartment is open.  Gio and Ezio, my two cats, are perched permanently in front of a window on a pillow swishing their tails back and forth at the birds fluttering in the trees just outside.  Poor things.  I think if they were ever given the opportunity to catch a bird they wouldn’t even know what to do with it.
Creamy Tomato Pasta (2)
I remember once Chris and I had just moved into a new apartment and hadn’t unpacked anything but some plates and pillows.  We ordered out and had steaks on the floor in front of the gas fireplace.  Ezio happened to sneak up behind me and when I wasn’t looking ran up to my plate in order to steal the food from it.  Upon realizing how big his prey was and that there was no way for him to sink his teeth in and make a clean getaway he shook his head and ran into the bedroom.  Chris and I laughed and finished our suppers.  I’ll never be able to enjoy a steak again without remembering the look on that poor little cats face.  I doubt he’d react much differently to a steak with wings and a beak.
Creamy Tomato Pasta (3)
This pasta is adapted from Manger, an incredibly beautiful and elegant cooking and lifestyle blog written by a woman who basically lives in my idea of paradise: a small village in the wilds of the French countryside surrounded by her family and lots of adorable pups.  This pasta was posted by her husband, and I’ve made a few adjustments, but it’s one of those dishes you simply have to taste and adjust to suit your tastes as you go along.
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Creamy Tomato Pasta

Adapted from Manger

2 Tbsp Olive Oil
2 Healthy Teaspoons Minced Garlic
1 Pound Can of Good Quality, Whole, Peeled Tomatoes
6 Ounces (or one really big glass) Red Wine
1 tsp Red Pepper Flakes
1/2 tsp Onion Powder
1/2 tsp Dried Oregano
2 tsp Granulated Sugar
Couple Pinches of Cayenne Pepper
Salt and Pepper
12 Ounces Farfalle (Bow Tie) Pasta
91 g (6 1/2 Tbls) Unsalted Butter
1/4 Cup Fresh Basil, lightly shredded

100 g Shredded Parmesan Cheese

Heat the olive oil and minced garlic in a large pan over medium heat.  Once heated add the tomatoes and crush them with a large spoon. Add the wine, red pepper flakes, onion powder, dried oregano, sugar and cayenne pepper. Season with salt and pepper. Cover the saucepan, lower the heat and let it simmer for 30-40 minutes.

Once the sauce has been cooking for about 20 minutes start cooking the pasta.  Heat a large pot of water until boiling, generously salt the boiling water then add the pasta.  Stir the pasta vigorously when initially dumped into the pot, being careful not to splash the water, to ensure it doesn’t stick together, then let it cook to an al dente texture, stirring occasionally.  Once the pasta is finished cooking, drain almost all of the water and mix the pasta in with the sauce.  Add the butter, Parmesan cheese and basil, stirring gently until just combined.  Serve immediately with extra Parmesan and basil on the side.