Rainy Weekend Special – Pizza Party

I’m not sure if I can put a bright face on it.

Today may be the first day of fall (normally my favorite time of year) but rain, rain and more rain is in the forecast. Not a cold rain that makes you want to cozy up by the fire with a good book and a cup of tea. Nope. It’s going to be a steamy summer rain. That’s the kind of weather that’s been known to make me act a bit peevish.

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In spite of the tropical weather, I think I might stay in and get organized. The weather will turn soon so it might be a good idea to pull out the turtlenecks and put away the shorts. Then again, a trip to New Hampshire Historical Society Museum, a stroll through a Currier Museum would be a lot more interesting! Too highbrow? Brad Pitt has a new movie out this weekend and I still haven’t seen The Help.

And cooking?!? What to make when the calendar says it’s time for soup and apple crisp … but the thermometer is suggesting salad and gelato! Okay, it’s not that hot … so why not have a pizza party?

To start: Think local. It won’t be long before fresh corn is a delicious summer memory. It could be a good weekend for one last batch of my Grilled Corn Salsa. If you don’t feel like standing around in the rain grilling corn, then how about some Roasted Red Pepper Dip or White Bean Dip.

The Main Event: Everyone likes pizza! You can try my favorite Greek Pizza or take advantage of the last of the summer’s bounty with White Pizza with Fresh Tomatoes & Arugula. It won’t be long before the first frost puts an end to fresh, local veggies.

For a Sweet Finish: Weather making you feel grumpy? Cupcakes are sure to cheer you up. My favorite little gems are Carrot Cupcakes. What about your? Chocolate Chip? Chocolate? Or maybe Lemon?

Have a great weekend! Bon Appétit!

White Pizza with Fresh Tomatoes & Arugula
Serves 4

16-20 ounces pizza dough (your favorite recipe, store-bought or from your favorite pizzeria)
Garlic & Shallot Infused Olive Oil
About 2 ounces Fontina cheese, shredded
About 2 ounce fresh mozzarella, shredded
About 2 cups seeded and chopped tomatoes
About 1 ounce Parmigiano-Reggiano, grated
About 1 ounce Pecorino-Romano, grated
Coarse sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Balsamic or red wine vinegar
About 4 ounces baby arugula

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.

Cut the pizza dough into 4 pieces. Stretch each piece into a round or roll out with a rolling pin. Drizzle each dough round with Garlic & Shallot Infused Olive Oil and sprinkle with the cheeses.

Transfer the pizzas to lightly oiled baking sheets or a preheated pizza stone. Bake the pizza for 12-15 minutes if you use a baking sheet and 8-12 minutes if you use a pizza stone or until the cheese is bubbly and crust is crisp.

Meanwhile, put 2-3 tablespoons of Garlic & Shallot Infused Olive Oil in the bottom of a large bowl, add 1/2 – 1 tablespoon of vinegar or to taste and whisk to combine. Check for seasoning, add salt and pepper to taste and whisk again. Add the tomatoes and arugula but don’t toss until the pizzas come out of the oven.

When the pizzas are ready, remove them from the oven, toss the arugula and tomatoes in the oil and vinegar. Top each pizza with arugula and tomatoes, cut into wedges and serve.

Garlic & Shallot Infused Olive Oil
Makes about 1/2 cup

3-4 cloves garlic, peeled, trimmed and quartered
1 shallot, peeled and roughly chopped
1/2 teaspoon dry thyme
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper

Put the garlic, shallot thyme, red pepper flakes and olive oil in a small saucepan, season with salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer over very low heat. Cook for about 15-20 minutes, making sure the garlic and shallot doesn’t burn. Let the oil cool, strain and set aside.

Store any extra oil in the refrigerator.

What’s cooking in your kitchen this dreary weekend? I’d love to hear from you! Let’s get a conversation going. To make a comment, just click on Comments below.

Want more? Click here for more seasonal menus! In addition, I hope that you will take a minute to learn about my philanthropic project Eat Well-Do Good. © Susan W. Nye, 2011

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