Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Cooking with Linda: Sicilian-style Pizza with Bell Peppers

Everyone here is happy when it's homemade pizza night! I grew up with homemade pizza on Fridays as well as homemade sauce (with one bay leaf and parsley from my father's backyard garden), meatballs and sometimes gnocchi on Sundays. 

Pizza made at home is a big step above the pies that are delivered.  Follow this easy recipe, and I bet your family will enjoy it very much, too.

Always helpful, our 3-year-old sprinkles
the part-skim shredded mozzerella.
Brush a light coating of extra-virgin olive oil along surface of a baking sheet. For us, this is Sicilian style because the pizza is rectangular, served in squares, and the dough is fluffy. Spread the two balls of pizza dough evenly, leaving generous amounts of dough in the corners and around the edges of the baking sheet.  This allows the tomatoes and toppings to stay in and allows for a substantial crust to hold.

Bake the pizza dough, only, for about 5-7 minutes until it rises and becomes fluffy. Remove baking sheet from oven. I have made homemade pizza dough in the past (seasoned with fresh rosemary) but I find that the dough I purchase at local pizzerias and Italian bakeries is just as tasty. I leave it out, room temperature, for about 45 minutes until I'm ready to use it.

On top the partially-baked and lightly golden pizza dough, evenly spread 3/4 can of crushed tomatos; sprinkle a generous portion of part-skim, shredded mozzarella cheese, touch of garlic salt and black pepper. Add crushed red pepper (optional).

Like his big brothers, our sweet Little Guy enjoys
occasional food prep in our kitchen!
Wash a yellow and green bell pepper; slice thinly and steam on top of the stove for about five minutes until they are tender. Without this step, the peppers may not cook enough in the oven.

Bake at 425 degrees for about 15-20 minutes or until mozzarella is bubbly and light golden brown. Let the pizza cool a bit before cutting.  Although I own a large and easy-to-use Pampered Chef rolling pizza cutter, I prefer to also use kitchen scissors to cut Sicilian-style slices.

Sicilian-style Pizza topped with Yellow & Green Bell Peppers
Serve with baby arugala salad, Pellegrino with fresh lemon, and dinner is ready. Pronto!

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