Wednesday, October 20, 2010

tuesday - pizza with prosciutto, mushrooms, and artichokes; butternut squash and white bean soup

Pizza is one of my favorite foods, and I really like making it at home so that I can have a bit more control over the ingredients. Last night, I used a whole wheat crust and topped it with prosciutto, sautéed mushrooms, artichoke hearts, and fresh mozzarella. I made a sauce based on this recipe from Tyler Florence at foodnetwork.com. Based on his recommendation, I used canned San Marzano tomatoes. They're more expensive than regular canned tomatoes, but I really could taste a significant difference. They were fresh and flavorful in a way that most store-bought canned tomatoes aren't.




I also made a butternut squash soup based on this recipe from jamieoliver.com. I added cannellini beans that I made recently and stored in the freezer, and I used my pressure cooker to speed up the cooking process. I skipped the Parmesan croutons, but I did add the sage leaves--I wouldn't go out and buy sage just for the garnish, but if you have some in an herb garden it was a lovely touch. This was a good soup, but a tiny bit boring--I thought that garnishing it with a crumble of blue cheese would have been perfect. It made tons and tons, so I'll definitely put some away in the freezer for a future meal.





Pizza with Prosciutto, Mushrooms, and Artichokes

1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon fresh basil leaves, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh oregano leaves, chopped
1 28-ounce can whole peeled tomatoes (preferably San Marzano), drained and hand crushed
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
8 ounces white mushrooms, sliced
1 ball fresh pizza dough, preferably whole wheat
3 thin slices of prosciutto
1/2 cup canned artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
1 8-ounce ball fresh mozzarella, drained

Preheat the oven to 450°F. Put a pizza stone or a half sheet pan in the oven.

In a large sauté pan over medium heat, add 1 tablespoon olive oil, garlic, basil, and oregano. Cook until just fragrant, then add tomatoes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Reduce heat, and simmer for 7 to 8 minutes.

In a medium skillet, heat the remaining 1/2 tablespoon olive oil over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms, and cook until soft, stirring frequently, about 5 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Remove from heat and set aside.

Remove the preheated pizza stone from the oven. Roll or stretch out pizza dough, and place on the hot pizza stone. Spread tomato sauce over dough. Lay the prosciutto slices over the sauce. Evenly spread the mushrooms and artichoke hearts over the prosciutto. Tear mozzarella into small pieces and scatter evenly over the toppings. Bake until golden and bubbly, about 12 to 15 minutes. Remove from oven, and cut into 8 slices.

Makes 4 servings.
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Butternut Squash and White Bean Soup

1 tablespoon olive oil
16 fresh sage leaves
2 onions, peeled and chopped
2 stalks of celery, trimmed and chopped
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
4 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
2 sprigs of fresh rosemary, leaves picked and chopped
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper, to taste
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 pound butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into chunks
2 quarts chicken or vegetable stock
1 1/2 cups cooked or 1 15-ounce can cannellini beans or other white beans, rinsed

Heat olive oil in a large stock pot over medium heat. Add the sage leaves and fry for 30 seconds or until dark green and crisp. Quickly remove them with a slotted spoon to a bowl lined with paper towels; set aside.

To the oil remaining in the pot, add the onion, celery, carrot, garlic, rosemary leaves, crushed red pepper, salt, and pepper. Cook gently for about 10 minutes until the vegetables are sweet and soft. Add the squash and the stock to the pan, bring to a boil, and simmer for about 30 minutes. (Alternatively, using a pressure cooker, bring to high pressure for 5 minutes, then quick-release the pressure.) When the squash is soft and cooked through, remove from heat and stir in the cannellini beans. Puree the soup using an immersion blender or, working in batches, using a regular blender. Adjust seasoning, and reheat if needed. Divide the soup between bowls. Sprinkle with a few of the crispy sage leaves.

Makes 8 servings.
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