Archive for the ‘pizza’ Category

arugula stir fry pizza

I bought some beautiful arugula today at the Jean Talon market. It’s perfect for making pizza. So on my way home I picked up some pizza dough at the bakery.

Making pizza is quick, and even more so when you have ready-made dough.

While waiting for the flattened dough to rise a second time, I quickly stir fried a few veggies.

1 big onion chopped

all herbs from your garden (parsley, basil, chives, oregano…etc…)

2 or 3 cups of arugula (you can also use, swiss chard, spinach, or kale)

salt, pepper

parmesan cheese



Preheat oven at 475*

Stir fry onions 

Add salt and pepper

Fold in herbs and arugula 

Spread mixture over pizza dough and sprinkle with parmesan cheese

Bake for about 15 minutes or until crispy

I usually add the mozzarella 5 minutes before the pizza is ready


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cornmeal crust

I remember that cornmeal was a real staple ingredient at least in my town of Duronia, while I was growing up quite a few years ago. It was used in so many different ways. From bread to desserts and everything in betweeen. Of all the dishes that were made with this yellow flour, polenta was of course the most popular.

My mom used to make this delicious vegetable soup and would always bake a crusty cornbread to go with it . The cornbread was broken in pieces by hand, like croutons, and sprinkled over the soup. When she was in a hurry she would make the cornbread very simply, adding nothing else but a little salt and pepper, but if she had more time she would add fresh ground pork which was stir fried with onions and garlic and then would add mountains of parmesan cheese, fresh parsley and basil.

I came across a similar recipe the other day and it brought back so many memories. I made it to accompany the best version of soup that I could remember from the old days.



1 1/2 cups (course grind) cornmeal
salt / pepper
4 cups onion, chopped (about 3 medium)
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
3 cups water

1/2 lb ground pork (optional)


Preheat the oven to 350*

line bottom with parchment paper  (9 x 12-inch baking dish)

In a medium bowl combine the corn meal with 1 1/2 cups water and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Stir and set aside.

To caramelize the onions, heat a splash of olive oil in a large thick-bottomed skillet with a pinch or two of salt. Cook over high heat, stirring and scraping the pan occasionally – more often as the onions begin to get increasingly brown. Continue cooking until the onions collapse and turn deep brown in color. Remove from skillet and set aside.

Bring 1 1/2 cups water to a boil in a medium saucepan, add the water and cornmeal mixture, bring back up to a boil and stir until it is thicker than a heavy frosting – about 5 minutes.

Remove from heat and stir in the cheese and 2/3 of the onions. Spoon the mixture into the prepared pan, spreading it to an even thickness, and drizzle with about 3 tablespoons of olive oil.

Bake for about 30 minutes, or until the bottom is golden and the cornmeal begins to pull away from the sides of the pan a bit.

Serve topped with the remaining onions (and more grated cheese if you like).

If you decide to add the ground pork, stir fry it with half the onions and add it to the cornmeal at the same time as when you add the cheese.


cornmeal pizza crust


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erbazzone di bietola

Taken from Lidia’s Italy

Erbazzone is a vegetable tart traditionally from Parma (land of ham and cheese) in the Emilia-Romagna region, but versions of it can be found in a few other places in Italy, and of course all over the internet.

My sister, Micheline, sent me this beautiful picture of the erbazzone she made today. Just out of the oven, you can almost hear the crunch of the crust. She adapted this recipe from Lidia’s Italy, with minor changes. Before baking she brushed the crust with egg yolk to give it that beautiful gold color.


Dough for Erbazzone

2 cups all-purpose flour, (more for dusting)
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup olive oil
1/3 cup cold water

Put the 2 cups of flour and the salt in the food processor.  Pulse for a few seconds.

Mix the oil and cold water together.

Add liquid to the flour and process for about 30 seconds, until a soft dough forms and gathers on the blade.

If too dry add more water in small amounts, until you have a smooth, soft dough.

Turn the dough onto a lightly floured board and knead for a minute until it’s smooth and soft.

Wrap in plastic wrap and let rest at room temperature for 1/2 hour.

You can refrigerate for up to a day. Let come to room temperature before rolling.


ingredients for filling

2 pounds Swiss chard (used combination of  swiss chard, kale and arugula)

¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil

2 plump garlic cloves, peeled and chopped

1¾ teaspoon kosher salt

4 large eggs

1 cup freshly grated Grana Padano or Parmigiano-Reggiano

½ cup fine dry bread crumbs

1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary

1 batch dough for erbazzone, at room temperature

1 container of ricotta cheese

all-purpose flour

To make the filling

Cut off stems at the base of each chard leaf, and if the central rib is thick and tough, cut it out. (Save all the stems and ribs for stock – I do!) Pile up the trimmed leaves, and slice them crosswise into ribbons, about 1 inch thick. 

Bring 5 quarts of water to the boil in the big pot, heap all the chard into the pot, and stir gradually submerging the strips. When the water boils again, adjust the heat to keep it gently bubbling, and simmer the chard until tender, about 10 minutes. Drain and cool off, then squeeze the leaves by handfuls, pressing out as much vegetable water as possible. 

Pour the olive oil into the skillet, and set it over medium heat stir in the chopped garlic, and cook until sizzling and fragrant, then scatter the chard in the pan, loosening the compressed ribbons. Add 1 ¼ teaspoons salt, and stir and toss for a couple of minutes, until the chard strips are coasted with olive oil and starting to cook. Transfer them to a large bowl to cool briefly. 

Beat the eggs with the remaining ½ teaspoon salt, and stir them into the warm chard; then thoroughly blend in the grated cheese, bread crumbs, and chopped rosemary. 

When you’re ready to bake the erbazzone, set a rack in the bottom half of the oven – with a baking stone on it, if you have one – and heat the oven to 375 degrees. 

Roll out the dough on a lightly floured work surface, gradually stretching it into a rectangle that’s 5 inches longer and wider than the jelly-roll pan. Drape the sheet of dough over the pan, then gently press it flat against the bottom and rims, leaving even flaps of overhanging dough on all sides. 

Spread the filling into the dough-lined pan in an even layer over the entire bottom. Fold the dough flaps over the filling, making pleats at the corners, to form a top crust that looks like a picture frame, with the filling exposed in the middle. 

Bake in the oven (on the heated stone) about 45 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown and the filling is crisp on top. 

Cool the erbazzone on a wire rack for at least 30 minutes to set the filling before slicing. The erbazzone can be served warm or at room temperature, cut into bite-sized, appetizer, or large pieces, in any shape you like. 


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pizza dough

There are as many recipes for making pizza as there are cooks making it. If you have the basic steps for making a good pizza, then the variations are endless. Softer, crispier, thinner, thicker….all depends on how much more or less flour you use. Adding a boiled potato to the dough will lighten the dough. Also adding spices in the dough at the same time as the salt works very well.

Some recipes call for sugar  some don’t. The trick is to experiment and try different things. The pizza dough I made is very basic and works very well.


yield: enough dough for 2 small pizzas  /  my pan is 16″ by 22″  good for 1 pizza


flour          3 3/4 cups

instant dry yeast      2 1/2 tsp

water      1 1/3 cups (room temp)

olive oil      2 tbsp

salt      3/4 tsp


In a medium bowl stir together the flour, yeast , and salt
Add the water, and using a wooden spoon or your hand, mix until blended for about 60 seconds
Cover the bowl and let sit at room temperature until the dough has more than doubled in volume, about 2 hours
Place  the dough on a floured work surface
Gently form into a rough ball
Divide dough into two halves or just work with the one
Cover with a moistened kitchen towel for 30 minutes
Oil your 2 or one pizza pans
Pick up the dough and invert and stretch the dough the length of the pan, resulting in the moist side down and the floured side up
Using your palms, gently pull, press and stretch the dough to fill the entire botom of the pan
Pinch any holes together , if the dough sticks to your fingers, lightly dust with flour or coat your hands with oil
Ready to top as you like

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pizza – vegetable

Making pizza from scratch is quite simple. Maybe it takes a little long but if you work in steps it can be quite fast. If I make tomato sauce during the week, I always make more than I need and put some aside for pizza that I will make on another day. The same goes for a vegetable stir fry.

If you don’t have the extra time to make your own dough, you can always buy the pizza dough at a pastry shop or bakery. However, if you have the extra time it’s worth experimenting, especially if you have kids that can help you.



rectangle or round pizza pan

pizza dough (instructions on dough preparation see “pizza dough”)

olive oil

stir fry for topping (optional)

parmesan cheese, mozzarella cheese, oregano


After the dough has doubled in size gently spread it on a pizza pan and let it rest for another 20 minutes

Gently spread again and top with your favorite ingredients. Here I used the left over tomato sauce I made  yesterday and the stir fry you see below. Finish off with parmesan cheese and a sprinkle of mozzarella. I don’t use a lot of mozzarella because I find it takes over the other flavors

Sprinkle with drops of olive oil and some dry oregano (very small amount – strong flavor)

Place in a hot 375* oven for 15 minutes or until desired doneness 


Whenever I make a stir fry I make enough for at least 2 uses. I used a third to stuff the baked potatoes and the rest to make 2 pizzas.
ingredients for stir fry
olive oil
1 diced onion
1 diced shalllot
1 red pepper sliced
oyster mushrooms shredded by hand
three handfuls of arugula
salt, pepper, garlic, parsley,
heat oil
add onions and cook until translucent
stir in peppers and mushrooms and cook for a few minutes
stir in arugula
add all the herbs and spices
mix well 

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