Saturday, September 02, 2006

Zucchini-roni Pizza

One of our family traditions is “make your own pizza night.” I usually make my own pizza crust, but I didn’t have time tonight, so we used Boboli crusts. The rest of my family generally goes for cheese and pepperoni on their pizzas; one son adds feta cheese, the other, olives. I usually try something more unusual.

Because I had a red pepper and several zucchini from my CSA bag (which I’ll write about another time), I decided to try a recipe from Rachael Ray’s 30 Minute Meals 2. I haven’t had a lot of success with her recipes, mostly because she has an “eyeball it” kind of approach and I’m not an “eyeball it” kind of cook. Each time I make a recipe, I make notes as to whether or not I like the recipe and what I’d change.

This recipe was called “Zucchini-Roni Pizza” because the thin rounds of zucchini are flavored to taste a little like pepperoni. It came out like most of the recipes of hers I’ve tried – pretty good but in need of tinkering. The biggest problem was that it was too heavily seasoned with red pepper flakes, which overpowered the other flavors and left a burning feeling on my lips. I did measure the red pepper flakes when she said to eyeball them – maybe my measuring spoon is more generous than her eyeball. Anyway, here’s my paraphrase and notes of her recipe.

Zucchini-Roni Pizza
Rachael Ray, with my notes and paraphrasing
Makes 1 12-inch pizza (I made an 8-inch pizza and adjusted amounts accordingly)

½ medium zucchini, very thinly sliced (She says to think of pepperoni slices. This is a problem for me because we have a variety of pepperoni slices sold around here. I cut them about 1/8” thick – thicker than a potato chip.)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil (she says a drizzle)
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (she says to eyeball it – I say to measure it, and use more like ½ teaspoon so they don’t overpower everything else)
1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning (eyeball it, she says again – I measured)
Coarse salt, to taste (I used my new gray salt and probably used a little too much – it may have a stronger flavor than Kosher salt)
2 roasted red peppers, pureed in a food processor
½ pound refrigerated pizza dough (used a Boboli shell)
1 tablespoon flour or corn meal (didn’t use)
½ pound smoked fresh mozzarella cheese, thinly sliced

Preheat oven to 400 degrees, along with a pizza stone if you have one.

Combine the zucchini, garlic, olive oil, red pepper flakes, Italian seasoning and salt in a small bowl. Use your fingers to coat the zucchini with the olive oil and spices. This, she says, is your zucchini-roni. Pause to think about how cute and clever Racheal Ray's recipe names are. Set aside.

Roll out your dough if you’re not using Boboli. Spread the red pepper puree onto the dough/Boboli. Top with slices of the smoked mozzarella. Place the desired amount of zucchini slices on the pizza; do not overlap.

Bake 10 minutes on the middle rack (Halfway through, I tipped the pan to pour off the wetness from the zucchini.) Cheese should be bubbly and golden.

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