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Thursday, May 23, 2024

CRL Recipes Series: Pizza, Four Ways

Try these four delicious pizza recipes in your Capital Region kitchen.

Over the past 50 years, pizza has become a favorite food among Americans with millions of pies eaten daily and even a month dedicated in its’ honor. Until the late 19th or early 20th century, pizza was sweet, not savory as it is served today. Ever wonder about the history of this food staple? Keep reading to learn more!

According to Wikipedia, the origins of pizza date back to ancient times. The term ‘pizza’ first appeared “in a Latin text from the southern Italian town of Gaeta in 997 AD, which claims that a tenant of certain property is to give the bishop of Gaeta ‘duodecim pizze’ (12 pizzas), every Christmas Day, and another 12 every Easter Sunday,”

It is known the Babylonians, Israelites, Egyptians and other ancient Middle Eastern cultures were eating flat, un-leaven bread that had been cooked in mud ovens. The bread was much like a pita, which is still common in Greece and the Middle East today.

The lower class of Naples, Italy, is believed to have created pizza that we’re more familiar with. In the late 1800s, an Italian baker named Raffaele Esposito was believed to have created a dish for visiting royalty – the Italian monarch King Umberto and his consort, Queen Margherita. In order to impress them and to show his patriotic fervor, Raffaele chose to top flat bread with food that would best represent the colors of Italy: red tomato, white mozzarella cheese and green basil. The king and queen were so impressed that word quickly reached the masses. The dish was so well-received that others began to duplicate it.

By the beginning of the 1900s Italian immigrants introduced pizza into the inner cities of the United States, mainly in New York and Chicago, which had large Italian populations. American soldiers further prompted the dish to become very popular at the end of World War II, having been exposed to it while serving on the Italian front.

Today, pizza has become just as American as baseball and apple pie. And we’re forever grateful!

Lemon Pizza
(the first recorded recipe for pizza)

  • Thinly slices lemons with peels (better sliced on a mandolin)
  • Smoked mozzarella
  • Basil leaves torn in pieces
  • Salt & pepper
  • Layer on crust with lemons and basil on top of the cheese.  Season with simple sea salt and pepper to taste.

Bake at 450 on bottom rack of oven or in an outside oven at 700 –800 .

Fig & Blue Cheese Pizza

  • Fig Spread from specialty food store
  • Blue cheese, crumbled
  • Spread figs on crust and top with blue cheese based on your taste.  No additional seasoning needed.

Bake at 450 on bottom rack of oven or in an outside oven at 700 –800 .

Pesto Pizza with Italian Sausage

  • 1/2 cup homemade pesto
  • 2-3 links cooked and sliced Italian sausage
  • 1/3 cup roasted red peppers sliced
  • 3/4 cup sautéed mushrooms (optional)
  • 8 oz shredded mozzarella cheese
  • Sprinkle of fresh Parmigiano Reggiano cheese.
  • Spread pesto all over pizza dough, then top with the other ingredients.

Bake at 450 on bottom rack of oven or in an outside oven at 700 –800 .

Sweet Caramelized Onion and Zucchini Pizza

  • 1 large Onion – yellow or white
  • (sliced on mandolin)
  •  small zucchini
  • Brown sugar
  • Butter
  • Olive oil
  • Crumbled goat cheese
  • Caramelize the thinly sliced onions in 1 tbls. of butter with a teaspoon of good olive oil and add 1 ½ tbls. of brown sugar. Add the thin slices zucchini during last few minutes, but do not overcook. Drain the onions/zucchini when caramelized and spread on crust.  Top with a good crumbled goat cheese.  No additional seasoning would be required.

Bake at 450 on bottom rack of oven or in an outside oven at 700 –800 .

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