Puff Pastry Pizza

Dinner, Quick and easy

Pastry and cheese. And cured meats. And cheese. And shrimps and cheese. These are a few of my favourite things.

 As part of this new blog endeavor of mine, I needed quite a bit of help.  I’m not so good with the inter-webs, nor am I artistically inclined at all.  So I solicited the help of a friend of mine who is both internetally savvy and a beautiful designer.  In return for his help, I provided a thank-you in the only way that feels right to me –food (and wine.)

So listen, I’m all about eating right – fueling your body with the nutrition it needs to stay healthy and active and blah blah.  But I refuse to deprive myself (as will become abundantly clear if you continue to follow this blog) and I always reward myself for a hard day’s work with food (and wine.)

This is the first time I’ve replaced the standard pizza dough or flat bread with puff pastry and let me tell you….it won’t be the last.  It was such a delicious and surprising treat.  I was worried it wouldn’t feel as substantial as a cheesy piece of pizza but I was wrong.  It was light, and fluffy, but still had the chew and the gooeyness of a piece-a-pie.  Choose whatever toppings make you happy and off you go.  Here’s how I made mine. Oh, and one quick thing: I’m not usually a recipe follower.  Or a recipe maker.  So bear with me. This is foreign to me. 

 

Ingredients:
1 package of store bought puff pastry sheets (unless you are a kitchen magician and make your own puff pastry in which case you are on the wrong blog)

1 tbsp olive oil

½ cup of buffalo mozzarella – sliced

7-8 big fat basil leaves – roughly chopped

About 1 cup of an assortment of your favourite Italian antipasti from the deli counter.  I used artichokes, roasted red peppers and sundried tomatoes

9 large cooked shrimps – halved.  (you can substitute for roasted chicken if you’re not insane about shrimp like I am)

 

How to do it:

1)      Preheat oven to 375

2)      Roll out your puff pastry so it’s about the size of a baking sheet.  Drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

3)      Bake for about 25 minutes in the nude.  As in, the pastry just on its own.  If you’d like to do it in the nude too, I say go for it.  Anyways,you want to give that pastry a chance to fluff up before you put the good stuff on it, otherwise it will be a big dried out mess.  Tasty. But dry.

4)      Once it’s starting to brown on the corners, take it out of the oven.  Don’t let it cool too much. Like maybe wait 30 seconds (a couple sips of wine)

5)       Take your shrimps and your antipasti and scatter in whatever way feels right to you.  Try to get to all the corners.  It’s going to look really pretty.  Just wait.

6)      Toss it back in the oven.  Just kidding- place it carefully back in the oven.

7)      Wait another 20 minutes. A few more glasses sips of wine.

8)      Remove from the oven and place the sliced cheese and chopped basil on top.

9)      Toss it back in the oven.

10)   Give it another 5 minutes until the cheese is melty (but not too melty – or it will get that stringy plasticky texture. Barf)

11)   Remove from the oven and let it cool for about five minutes before you slice it.   FUN LITTLE TIP: Use scissors instead of a knife.  It’s way easier.  This applies to regular pizza too.

12)   EAT!

 

I also did a version with goat’s cheese, thinly sliced pear and prosciutto.  The sweet and the savoury is something that really speaks to me.   Do it exactly the way you would the first, but leave the cheese in for closer to 10 minutes because it gets this toasty brown thing going on that gives it a delightful little crust that’s quite special.  Enjoy!

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Creamy Spinach and Mushroom Linguine

Dinner, Pasta

So I’ve been going through this pasta phase for about….28 years now. (True story: my first word was Noodle.)  I’d eat it 3 times a day, 7 days a week if it was socially acceptable and had no waist-line/blood sugar/overall health implications.   Alas, I try to keep it to about once a week which is really (REALLY) difficult for me.   I love pasta in all forms but there’s something particularly wonderful about a cream sauce.  I think it’s the joy that comes from indulging in something a little sinful. Side note: I don’t believe in ‘low fat’ versions of decadent things – if you’re going to go for it, GO FOR IT.  Just don’t eat a lot of it. I guess.  I don’t generally follow a recipe for pasta, but just go with the flavour combinations that I know and love.  This is one of my all-time faves. And to be honest, anything involving bacon is going to be one of my all-time faves.


Ingredients:
1 tsp butter

2 cups chopped portabello mushrooms.  It will seem like a lot but those little suckers cook down a ton

2 cups chopped baby spinach.  Same note as above

1 shallot, finely chopped

1/3 cup of chopped cooked bacon.  You can also use pancetta or any other salty fatty pork delight.

1 tsp minced garlic (fresh or from a jar – this is a judgment free zone)

½ cup of cream.  I wouldn’t recommend anything less than 18%.  Whipping cream (35%) will be the best but I understand if you’re all “omg! the fat, the fat!”  You’re not using that much.  Go crazy.

¼ cup of chicken stock

½ cup grated parmesan cheese

1 500g package of fresh pasta.  I recommend something twirly like linguine because it goes really well with a cream sauce but the choice is yours.

 

How to do it:

1) get a pot of salted water on to boil.  Always salt your water – I can’t stress this enough.  It makes all the difference in the world. THE WORLD.

2) Heat a pan over medium heat.  Give it about 6-7 minutes to get nice and toasty. But not too hot or the butter will burn and that’s not delicious

3) Drop your butter in and swirl it around.

4) Drop in your shallots and bacon and let them sizzle up and get to know each other for about 6 minutes until the shallots turn translucent.

5) throw in your mushrooms and give everything a stir.  Let this sautee for 10 minutes or until everything starts to look a bit toasted.

6) Add your chicken stock.  Let everything come up to a little bubble and then reduce the heat a tiny bit and let all that good stuff happen for about another 6 minutes

7) Add your spinach.  Stir that around a bit.

7) This should also be the time that you throw in your pasta.   The timing should work out just perfectly. Like a well-oiled machine.

8) When your pasta is cooked, DON’T DRAIN IT.  Simply use a pair of tongs to pull it out of the water and straight into your pan of mushroom spinach garlic delight.  The starchiness that’s on the pasta is going to tie the sauce to the noodle in perfect harmony.  Don’t jeopardize the harmony.

9) add your cream and parmesan cheese and start to stir it all together.  If it’s looking too thick, add a splash of your pasta water.  If it’s not looking thick enough, give it time.  The noodles will absorb some more liquid and all will be right in the world.

10) Grab a serving spoon, serve up a bowl and get those creamy carbs (with a good balance of nutritious vegetables) into your mouth.

 Happy eating!