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July 7, 2009

Pizza Night

Tuesday night is pretty common as pizza night at most Italian dining establishments and delivery services. You can usually get 2 for one or buy one get one for 99 cents or something similarly luring in nature. This Tuesday night we opted for our own bargain- homemade. We make our own pizzas once a week or every two weeks at least. It's easy, fun and most importantly it's delicious (or at least I think so).

We usually cheat a little and start with a frozen pizza dough. After trying the balls of dough from Giant and Whole Foods and numerous other grocery chains we finally found our favorite in the frozen pizza dough balls from Balducci's. I know, I know- Balduuuuucci's, it has such a connotation of elitism and snobbishness doesn't it? I have my own complaints about that place- ridiculously high prices and the rude old ladies that bump you with their carts in the narrow aisles and give you the evil eye as if you should've heard their sensible orthopedic shoes squeaking your way and parted the seas for them. Regardless, they have fantastic produce, meats, hard to find gourmet items and yes, the best frozen pizza dough. To sweeten the deal, it's a $1.99 so if you go only for dough, you can probably manage not to break the bank with every visit.

Moving along, we thaw out the dough, stretch and toss it until it's the shape and consistency we want then begin to top it with various fresh ingredients. We start with a good jarred sauce (keep it simple people) and always, ALWAYS go for fresh ingredients when available. I like to use a good quality mozzarella, well drained. Some other favorite toppings of mine include salami, artichoke hearts, roasted red peppers, and fresh basil leaves from the garden. We then bake on the pizza stone in the oven at 550 degrees until bubbly, remove it and season with oregano.

Tonight's toppings included sauce, mozzarella, fresh basil leaves, a mixture of fresh ricotta from, you guessed it- Balducci's, artichoke hearts, roasted red peppers, salami, parmesan and pine nuts. It was bubbly, fresh, and bursting with fresh flavors. My only complaint would be to do without the pine nuts next time- but that was actually a mistake anyway. I had pre-mixed them in a filling of artichoke hearts and ricotta for a different recipe that I didn't use. Nothing wrong with leftovers, especially when you have such great ingredients.

The entire process really only takes about 20 minutes, start to finish and completely blows Domino's out of the water (or, any regular delivery service). Go buy a pizza stone if you don't have one already. You will be grateful for the little bit of extra effort.


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