Monday, January 6, 2014

Double Italian Pizza

I love making pizza. It's not just one of the Nation's favorite foods, it's a dish that makes me feel smart and savvy. I have grown in my knowledge of pizza since starting the Woman's Day project: you don't have to use just tomato sauce as a base (you can use just olive oil or other sauces like BBQ or Alfredo), you don't have to use traditional toppings (potatoes or kale, for instance), and maybe best of all, it's not hard to make your own crust--and it's cheap.

Here are my recipes for regular crust (with photos) and wheat/gluten-free crusts (with pictures).

(wheat version)

I was pressed for time to make this particular lasagna pizza, plus Erik doesn't care for ricotta cheese (which I can't understand--it's sweet--must be a texture issue) so I bought prepackaged gluten-free crusts from Kroger by a company called Kinnikinnick for about $8 for 4 in a  package, which is obviously about $2 each. Still cheaper than Domino's Pizza, who offers a gluten-free pizza with just cheese for $11.02 if you carry-out. But they are offering %50 off orders through the web through January 19th, so you might want to take advantage of the offer while you can.

Lasgna pizza is simple and so delicious:


  •  Cornmeal, for the baking sheet
  •  Flour, for shaping
  • 1 pound(s) pizza dough, thawed, if frozen
  • 3/4 cup(s) part-skim ricotta cheese
  • 2 clove(s) garlic, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup(s) grated Parmesan
  •  Kosher salt and pepper
  • 1/2 cup(s) chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1/2 cup(s) chopped fresh basil leaves
  • 3 ounce(s) part-skim mozzarella, grated
  • 3/4 cup(s) marinara sauce


  1. Heat oven to 425 degrees F. Dust a baking sheet with cornmeal. On a lightly floured surface, shape the dough into a 14- to 16-inch oval, circle, or rectangle and place on the prepared baking sheet.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine the ricotta, garlic, Parmesan, and 1/2 teaspoon each salt and pepper. Fold in the parsley, basil, and 1/4 cup mozzarella. Spread the sauce over the dough and dollop the ricotta mixture over the top.
  3. Sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup mozzarella and bake until the crust is golden brown and crisp, 20 to 25 minutes.

Waste Not, Want Not

I used the leftover ricotta by adding vanilla extract and bananas to make a dessert. Ricotta cheese with any extract and a little sugar or artificial sweetener makes a low-calorie treat for a low carb diet. Fresh basil leaves--and really, this goes for any fresh spice you buy for a recipe--will go to waste if you don't create a plan for waste-not, want-not. I used it to make fresh pesto a few nights afterward. Don't bind yourself to a particular recipe either. Pesto is just basil leaves, olive oil, garlic, Parmesan, lemon, and pine nuts blended together in a food processor (or blenders work-don't by a special machine just to crush up food--we use the blender to grind coffee beans too). I didn't have pine nuts on the fly (who does?) so I used macadamia nuts. Just as good, if not better.

Because Woman's Day offers a printed list for grocery shopping throughout the month, we also had an excess of gluten-free pasta so having a meal for the pesto was no issue.

(wheat-free version)


This cost is better if you make your own crust and grow your own basil. Instead of marinara sauce, we used olive oil  and a bit of leftover homemade salsa, which we already had, and of course, we always have garlic on hand which is about $0.50 each.

We enjoyed local beer with our pizza on this evening, since the local brewery, Apocalypse, is near the Kroger and they offer impeccable customer service and fantastic beer. There guests that evening, Blue Mountain Brewery, offer my favorite local beers, including Evil 8--a welcome pairing to our double Italian pie.

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