Pizza Playgrounds

Pizza is a veritable playground.

Just when I think I can’t come up with another flavor combo, voila!

Sometimes I outdo myself…

Here ’tis before it became a “hot mess” (to quote a Southern phrase) — artichoke hearts, olives, toasted pine nuts, and mini-pepperoni slices. Basically, I was cleaning out my fridge, freezer, and pantry, and this is what went into the oven.

Hmmm. What sounds good together?

Better yet, what tastes good together?!

With a lil’ goat cheese for added interest atop a gluten-free crust, my taste buds were intrigued for two days. (Anyone else like leftover pizza for breakfast?) The pine nuts took it over the top… crunchy pizza… YUM.

No matter what life presents, there’s a flavor combo awaiting YOUR ingenuity.

Be creative!

Oh my, YES…

Enjoying pizza playgrounds,

~ Kim

Pizza Pie, Oh My! (and other Glorious Galettes)

(First, please pardon the blinding glare in the subsequent photos…)  Now then, let’s strike an impertinent little pose, shall we?  One that beckons hither and yon and says, “Come ‘n get me!” — in a nice way, of course.

Or, in Okie terms… pull up a chair and dig in!

Quick aside… My original plan was to make a traditional Galette des Rois with almond paste filling, but the farthest I got was blanching the almonds.  Have you ever tried to peel a blanched almond?

I enlisted The Man Of Few Words to help (ain’t he sweet?) and we sat on opposite sides of the counter with a pile between us.  It soon became a game of Tiddlywinks.  (Remember those?)  One or the other of us would accidentally “shoot” an almond airborne and I’ve never giggled so much over a mundane task.  Laughter truly is the best medicine!

But, I finally abandoned my galette-making plan for another day — I also went with a savory version.  (At that point in my “cold recovery,” I needed flavor, and lots of it.)  For a marvelous “how-to” on the traditional galette, click here.  (Thank you, Becoming Madame!)  And, for a lovely fruit and cheese variation with pears, pecans, and Gorgonzola, click here.  (Thank you, basilmomma!)

Okay, here’s my take…

Pizza Pie, Oh My!

Preheat oven to 400° F.

For the crust:

1 prepared pie crust (everybody has their favorite — use whatever works for you)

Extra virgin olive oil

For the sauce:

1/2 to 1 whole head of garlic, roasted*

1 tsp. Kosher salt

2 Tbsp. tomato paste

2 Tbsp. water

1 Tbsp. olive oil (or butter… or both)

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

* Obviously, it’s easier to roast a whole head of garlic than a half…  Cut off the top, drizzle a little olive oil over it, wrap it in foil, and roast it in a 400° oven for 15 to 20 minutes until it’s soft; set aside to cool.  Use as much as your tastebuds can handle.  (Reserve the rest for later and leave your oven on.)

For the filling:

1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

1/2 lb. Italian sausage, casings removed

1 med. sweet onion, chopped

1 roasted red pepper, chopped (I used the “jarred” kind — yes, I resort to convenience now and then…)

4 to 6 oz. Italian blend shredded cheese (yes, fresh is better, but see above)

Freshly grated Parmesan cheese (this, I will not budge on)

To prepare crust:  Roll as thinly as possible and place on a pizza pan or stone.  Brush lightly with olive oil to approximately 2″ from edges; set aside.

To prepare sauce:  Squeeze desired amount of roasted garlic onto a cutting board.  Sprinkle with salt.  Mash together with a fork to form a paste.  In a small saucepan, combine tomato paste, water, olive oil (or butter… or both) and garlic paste.  Season to taste with pepper.  (This is a very basic sauce, so as not to compete with the toppings.)  Cook over low heat until warmed; set aside.

To prepare filling:  Brown the sausage in olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  Break it into fairly good-sized chunks as it cooks.  Remove sausage to a paper-towel-lined plate.  Do not drain skillet.

Add onion to drippings; saute until translucent.  Add roasted red pepper; saute briefly.  Remove with a slotted spoon to aforementioned paper-towel-lined plate.  (It’s okay if it gets cozy with the sausage; it will eventually anyway.)

Meanwhile, spread a thin layer of sauce over the crust to within 2″ of edges.  (Is there more than one edge when it’s a circle?  Never mind.)  Sprinkle grated Parmesan over the sauce, followed by half the Italian blend cheese.

Next, scatter the sausage, onions, and peppers about at random.  (Preferrably over the sauce and crust…)  Top with remaining shredded cheese.

Now then:  Carefully (and artfully) fold crust edges over filling, leaving the middle exposed.  (The pizza, not yours…)  Crimp loosely to form a “galette.”  If desired, (which I did, but forgot), lightly sprinkle the crust with Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper.

Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until crust is golden brown.  (Hint:  Start with the middle rack in your oven.  If needed, move pan to a higher rack to sufficiently the brown the “top” crust without fricaseeing the bottom.)

Before serving, grate additional Parmesan cheese over the top.  Pizza Pie?  Oh My!

Enjoying galette gloriousness,

~ Kim