On the menu: Pizza night

A few months ago, I wrote about my love for menu planning and how I can’t function without it. You can read about it here, but I basically sit down with our family calendar and school lunch calendars and plan out the month ahead. One of the ways I make it easy on myself is to plan at least one meal a week that is fast and easy. For me that’s to make one night… PIZZA NIGHT!

When Carlo and I got married, we started this tradition of having pizza and movie night. It was our stay in date night. As the years went  by and we moved, our tradition continued and my pizza making skills improved. Then Miss V was born, and pizza night got more complicated because “We can’t wake the baby!” Almost 10 years and 3 kids later, we still do Pizza night. Movie night however, got thrown out the window.

I’ve had my fair share of pizza and I can tell you that nothing beats a homemade pizza. You get to control the quality of ingredients therefore you know exactly what’s in it.

The shock of an American style pizza …

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She was not amused. If I remember correctly, she only ate the crust.

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Let’s be honest, pizza in Italy is just amazing and if you know where to go, you’ll never have a bad slice. I’m still dreaming about this one from Naples…

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One of my cooking inspirations is Carlo’s aunt Rosalia. She lives in the province of Naples and is an amazing home cook. She raised three sons and two of them became professional chefs, so this woman knows her stuff. I should mention that on this trip, Miss V was introduced to table food and refused all of her baby food from that point on. On the train ride home, she only wanted Zia Rosalia’s pizza.

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Which was fine with me because that meant I could chow down on this potato pizza. Her potato pizza was the first I ever tried and it’s now one of my go-to flavors when I’m out and need a quick bite. 

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potato foccacia- photo cred: Mika Whiterock

If you’ve never had a “white pizza”, I highly recommend you try one. Depending on your toppings of choice it can be as light or as heavy as you like. For example: this one below has cheese, fresh cherry tomatoes, arugula, walnuts and shavings of parmigiano.

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This one is cheese, cherry tomatoes, sliced onions and you top it with a few slices of Bresaola. (one of my favorite types of cured meats)

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To make your own awesome pizza you just need to start with a great pizza dough. I usually use my MIL’s recipe but I also highly recommend using one from TurinMamma. It’s actually a recipe for Stovetop pan-baked flatbreads but it also perfect for making a delicious crust.(For my pizza crust, I used half bread flour and half all purpose flour.) 

Carlo went through a white pizza phase this past summer and we recreated some of our favorites like Potato, Zucchini, and Onions. The possibilities are endless.

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potato and mozzarella

You can try a more adventure approach and replace your tomato sauce for something different… like Pesto sauce! If you’re one who loves Garlic bread then you’ll definitely want to give this one a try. Using a homemade pesto sauce, mozzarella and fresh cherry tomatoes and you’ve got yourself a party!

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Pesto pizza

Perhaps you want to keep it classy and simple. The key to a simple Pizza Margherita is in the sauce. You don’t want to fancy it up. Keep away from the “Italian seasoned” sauce and stick with plain ol’ tomato sauce and season it with salt. Fresh mozzarella, basil leaves and a drizzle of Olive oil.  PERFECTION.

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Pizza Margherita

Once you get your pizza makin’ groove going, you’ll be a pro in no-time.  It’s also a great time to get the kiddos involved. Let them add their own toppings like hot dog or even french fries. (yes.. that is a thing here!)

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clockwise: farinata, pesto, margherita, prosciutto, potato, zucchini & tomato

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little helpers making daddy’s pizza

What are your favorite toppings? Did you try one of these? Leave a comment and let me know!

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3 thoughts on “On the menu: Pizza night

  1. Diana says:

    Yum…! Looking at these at lunchtime = bad idea. These look great! I love making focaccia and putting all sorts of toppings on it. I wonder how the dough and rising time differs from pizza? Perhaps one is just rolled out much thinner (and uses much less olive oil) when they’re homemade?

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