Friday, July 31, 2009
A Laid Back Friday Night
It's Friday night, so that means it's date night. After a day of re-arranging furniture in our postage-stamp-paradise by the sea, I feel like enjoying the pleasure of a tasty meal without messing up the kitchen. So, I decided to make a Margherita pizza, paired with a tasty arugula salad with prosciutto, toasted pine nuts, parmesan and truffle vinaigrette. It turned out to be a simple and satisfying dinner!
Arugula, Prosciutto, Pine Nut Salad with Truffle Vinaigrette:
The rich aroma of truffle vinaigrette goes well with the spicy kick of arugula, and the nutty pignolias, and of course the salty, creamy Prosciutto. I could eat this salad as a main course!
Shredded red cabbage (for color & crunch!)
Good Prosciutto sliced thin
Parmesan cheese, shredded
1 Tablespoon minced shallots
1 Tablespoon white truffle oil
2 Teaspoon of dijon mustard
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
4 Tablespoons of olive oil
salt and pepper
1. Whisk together all ingredients in a bowl except for olive oil. Add olive oil in a thin stream while whisking to emulsify the vinaigrette. Set aside to let the flavors meld.
2. Toast the pine nuts in a pan until golden and the kitchen smells of pine nuts.
3. Toss the arugula and red cabbage with the truffle vinaigrette, adding salt & pepper to season. Artfully arrange the prosciutto slices on a bed of the arugula, garnish with parmesan and pine nuts.
1 Trader Joe's pizza dough (I used the herb one)
1 Trader Joe's Pizza Sauce, or 1.5 cups of homemade sauce, or another brand.
1 heirloom tomato, sliced
1 large garlic clove, minced
1/2 cup shredded lite mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese
fresh torn basil leaves
salt and pepper to taste
flour to work the dough
1. Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees
2. Slice tomatoes and mix in a bowl with garlic, olive oil, and salt and pepper. Set aside to let flavors meld.
3. Dust your hands with flour like an Olympic athlete. Dust work surface to kneed the pizza dough to get rid of any air bubbles.
4. I like to use a rectangular cookie sheet with a silicone mat for my pizza, you can use a round pan if you have it. Lightly coat the bottom of your pizza pan with olive oil. Shape dough, by sliding your two closed fists under the edge of the dough, using gravity to your advantage. You will improve this technique with practice. Once you have an even thin shape, transfer the dough to your pan. You can patch up holes, and work the dough in the pan to even out the shape, but don't over work the dough too much.
3. Using a silicone pastry brush, spread the tomato sauce evenly on the pizza, reserving a 1/2 inch border for the crust.
4. Sprinkle the mozzarella cheese first; then the parmesan all over the sauce.
5. Artfully place the fresh tomatoes on top of the cheese, and spoon the reserved garlic & tomato juices right on top of the tomatoes.
6. Spread the torn basil leaves on the pizza. I keep a basil plant on my window sill so I'll always have fresh basil. Brush the crust with olive oil.
7. Bake in the oven until the cheese is bubbly and the crust is golden brown, about 15-20 minutes.
8. If you are using a silicone mat, DO NOT use a pizza cutter or knife to cut the pizza. My favorite technique for cutting pizza is to use a clean pair of kitchen scissors. Just snip your way to easy pizza slices!