pizza – The Culinary Chase http://theculinarychase.com support local Tue, 13 Jun 2017 19:52:49 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.8 fresh mozzarella, sweet cherry peppers and arugula pie http://theculinarychase.com/2017/04/fresh-mozzarella-sweet-cherry-peppers-and-arugula-pie/ Thu, 20 Apr 2017 20:20:19 +0000 http://theculinarychase.com/?p=13557 Flatbreads have been consumed by the ancient Egyptians, Romans and Greeks.  The humble pizza/pie (an expanded version of a flatbread), became popular in the USA in the mid-1900s when the Neapolitans came over for factory jobs.  According to history.com, the first documented pizzeria was Lombardi’s in Manhattan, licensed to sell pizza in 1905 and is […]

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pizza made with no-knead doughFlatbreads have been consumed by the ancient Egyptians, Romans and Greeks.  The humble pizza/pie (an expanded version of a flatbread), became popular in the USA in the mid-1900s when the Neapolitans came over for factory jobs.  According to history.com, the first documented pizzeria was Lombardi’s in Manhattan, licensed to sell pizza in 1905 and is still in operation.  Loads of people love pizza but making your own can be tricky.  The dough is key and can make it a wonderful or just so-so eating experience.

The no-knead dough recipe is from Jim Leahey.  Since buying his book back in 2012, it’s the only recipe I use and it works every time.  Once the dough portions are shaped, they’re like tiny pillows – so light, soft, and airy.  The toppings are whatever you fancy.  The base can be plain with a bit of extra-virgin olive oil, covered with a bechamel, or the traditional tomato sauce.  When we were in San Francisco last month, we stopped at The Market and had pizza and prosecco.  The ingredients are similar to the one shown here with the exception of no tomato sauce. Their pizza included marinated peppadew chiles and I enjoyed the slightly sweet piquant pepper with the creamy burrata.

makes 4 balls of dough
(500g) 3 3/4  cups flour
1/4 teaspoon active dry yeast
2 teaspoons fine sea salt
1 1/2 cups water

In a bowl blend flour, yeast and salt. Add water and mix thoroughly with your hands or a spoon. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and allow to rise at room temperature for 18 hours.  On a work surface lightly dust with flour and remove dough from bowl. Cut into 4 pieces and shape: take right side of dough and pull it toward the center, then left, then top, then bottom. Shape each portion into a round and turn seam side down on work surface. If sticky dust with flour.  To shape the dough, watch the video of Jim.  It’s easier for you to watch than for me to write it out.

For the pizza to be airy and chewy, the oven needs to be at 500f (260c).  My oven goes as high as 550f and that’s what I cook it at.  If you have a pizza stone, place it in the oven on a rack about 4-inches from the top element while it’s heating up.  If not, use a heavy-based pan or something that won’t warp.  Jim recommends the oven be heated at this temperature for 30 minutes before adding pizza.  Turn off oven and switch on broiler for 10 minutes.

toppings
buffalo mozzarella or burrata
2 to 3 prosciutto slices, pan-fried
sweet cherry peppers, sliced in half
arugula, lightly dressed in extra-virgin olive oil
Parmesan, thinly sliced

notice the pockets of air bubbles in the dough - light and airy

notice the pockets of air bubbles in the dough – light and airy

Arrange dough on a lightly floured board or on a pizza paddle (if you have one).  Lightly drizzle olive oil over base.  Open oven door and slide dough onto pizza stone.  Bake 3 to 4 minutes.  It’ll have some charred areas but that just adds to the look and taste.  Remove and finish dressing the pie with arugula, crumbled prosciutto, cherry peppers, Parmesan and place a torn apart mozzarella ball in the middle.  Drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil and serve immediately.

The Culinary Chase’s Note:  The sweet cherry peppers are an absolute delight.  Enjoy!

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pita bread pizza http://theculinarychase.com/2016/08/pita-bread-pizza/ Wed, 03 Aug 2016 20:04:46 +0000 http://theculinarychase.com/?p=12879 Summer allows us to use our barbeque nearly every day.  It also saves me from using the oven or stove top especially when it’s hot outside.  One staple I like to have on hand is pita bread.  This ancient flatbread has been around since 2500 BC and its uses are numerous.  I love it in […]

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pita bread pizzaSummer allows us to use our barbeque nearly every day.  It also saves me from using the oven or stove top especially when it’s hot outside.  One staple I like to have on hand is pita bread.  This ancient flatbread has been around since 2500 BC and its uses are numerous.  I love it in a fattoush salad, stuffed with meat, crisped up to use in a dip or simply grill and then splash olive oil over it and sprinkle with dukkah.  But my all-time favourite is making a pizza with pita bread.

Pizza toppings are limitless so use whatever suits your fancy.  I spotted a bag of cipollini onions at the grocery store and instead of roasting I wanted to grill them.  These onions are sweet and perfect to smear over a pizza base.  Grilled garlic is another delicious ingredient to add; grilling or roasting lessens the pungent aroma and taste.  Add at least 6 cloves.  The cheese can be mozzarella but goats cheese or feta works well, too.  I enjoy the tangy taste of feta and it gives a nice contrast to the sweet flavour of the grilled cipollini.  And, the good news?  This meal is done without dirtying a pot or pan!

Serves 2
1 to 2 pita bread
cheese
sliced tomatoes
grilled or roasted cipollini
grilled garlic cloves
3 crisp prosciutto slices (use the bbq, too, for this)
olive oil
fresh dill
balsamic vinegar

grilled cipollini onionsPreheat grill to 350f (180c). Build your pizza and then place on grill. Close cover and heat up for 2 minutes – longer if you want a crispier bottom. Remove and drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil, balsamic vinegar and scatter fresh dill over.

pita bread pizza slicesThe Culinary Chase’s Note:  Take a sheet of tin foil and add prosciutto slices.  Cook on the bbq grill until slightly crisp.  Enjoy!

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pizza smoked mozzarella and lemon slices http://theculinarychase.com/2016/04/pizza-smoked-mozzarella-lemon/ Wed, 13 Apr 2016 17:19:45 +0000 http://theculinarychase.com/?p=12348 If I were to take a poll to find out what toppings people like to see on their pizza, I’ll bet tomato sauce, cheese, and some sort of meat would be at the top of the list.  Pizza is a centuries old snack although 2,000 years ago it looked more like a flatbread with olive […]

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pizza with smoked mozzarella and lemon slicesIf I were to take a poll to find out what toppings people like to see on their pizza, I’ll bet tomato sauce, cheese, and some sort of meat would be at the top of the list.  Pizza is a centuries old snack although 2,000 years ago it looked more like a flatbread with olive oil and cheese.  Hard to believe, though, that tomatoes introduced to Europe from the Americas in the 1600’s were considered poisonous by the locals.  It wasn’t until the 1700’s when the Napolese added tomatoes to their flatbread; the birthplace of pizza.

If you’re like me and experiment with different toppings, you open up a whole new pizza world.  If you’re Italian, the thought of placing fruit on a pizza is sacrilege but hear me out.  I’m not proposing ham and pineapple which, by the way, I enjoyed in my younger days.  However, taste buds do mature and the thought of that combination makes me shudder.  Rather, what I am suggesting is to keep an open mind to toppings that may seem like strange bedfellows.  Consider, for example, how nicely pear and blue cheese go together.  These two toppings are lovely on a pizza.  Or how about a Turkish meat pizza (aka pide or lahmacun) with minced lamb, eggplant and red pepper.  A cracked egg in the middle of a quattro stagioni pizza is another delicious topping before it heads to the oven.  The key to making a scrumptious pizza, is to not overpower the base with many toppings.  This will result in a soggy middle.  Also keep in mind that the base does not always need to be smothered in a tomato sauce.  Some of my most memorable pizzas did not include it.

pizza smoked mozzarella and lemon slices
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Pizza is a centuries old meal although 2,000 years ago it looked more like a flatbread with olive oil and cheese. Hard to believe, though, that tomatoes introduced to Europe from the Americas in the 1600’s were considered poisonous by the locals. It wasn’t until the 1700’s when the Napolese added tomatoes to their flatbread; the birthplace of pizza.
Author:
Cuisine: Italian
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • commercial pizza dough or homemade
  • 4 lemon slices (thinly cut)
  • 1 to 2 cloves garlic, thickly sliced
  • handful or 2 mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 generous handfuls of rocket (arugula)
  • extra-virgin olive oil
  • smoked mozzarella, sliced
  • 4 slices of prosciutto
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 520f or hottest setting. In a frying pan over moderate heat add a splash of olive oil and sauté mushrooms until cooked. Add sliced garlic and sauté until golden on both sides. Move to the side of the pan and add lemon slices. Simmer and allow heat to gently soften the lemon slices and flip over. Remove from heat. In a medium bowl, dress rocket with extra-virgin olive oil and a sprinkling of sea salt; toss to combine.
  2. Roll pizza dough out onto a large cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. The paper will help the dough from shrinking back and easier to clean up afterwards. Drizzle extra-virgin olive oil over dough and use your fingers to smear the oil out. Place mushroom and garlic slices on top. Cut lemon slices in half and arrange on dough. Add mozzarella to any bald spots. Place in oven and cook 5 minutes or until bubbly.
  3. Remove from oven and top with dressed rocket and prosciutto slices. Add a splash of EVOO if needed and a light sprinkling of sea salt.

 

mushroom, garlic, lemon slicespizza baseThe Culinary Chase’s Note:  Allow oven to sit at highest temperature for at least 15 minutes.  A hot oven will produce a nice bubbly result.  Enjoy!

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puff pastry pizza tart http://theculinarychase.com/2015/06/puff-pastry-pizza-tart/ Wed, 17 Jun 2015 18:25:44 +0000 http://theculinarychase.com/?p=10806 Pizza can be an easy midweek meal to make and it’s one where you can get the family involved.  Make individual pizzas to cater for the fussy eaters in your family or have them build their own.  I like making my own pizza dough but sometimes, to save time, it’s just as easy to buy […]

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pizza tart by The Culinary ChasePizza can be an easy midweek meal to make and it’s one where you can get the family involved.  Make individual pizzas to cater for the fussy eaters in your family or have them build their own.  I like making my own pizza dough but sometimes, to save time, it’s just as easy to buy the dough from the grocery store.  Puff pastry is so versatile and is another alternative I like to use as a pizza base.  It’s so airy and light.

I prefer all-butter pastry to the vegetable shortening variety and look for companies who sell it already pre-rolled.  Thaw the pastry overnight in the refrigerator and only bring it out when you are ready to use it.  If you let it sit out at room temperature for any length of time, the pastry becomes limp, stretches easily, and makes it difficult to handle.  But don’t worry, if the pastry gets too soft while you’re rolling or cutting it, simply return it to the fridge or freezer to firm it up. Puff pastry is delicate, so be careful not to weigh it down with too many toppings…it’ll make the pastry soggy.  If you want to make the crust shine, brush the pastry with an egg glaze before baking.

Serves 2
1 sheet (pre-rolled) puff pastry, thawed
feta cheese
extra-virgin olive oil
tomatoes, sliced
fresh thyme or other favorite herb
pea shoots, for garnish

Preheat oven to 420f.  Cut puff pastry (use a sharp knife or pizza wheel) in half and place on a baking sheet. Slightly roll the edges inward about a quarter of an inch and prick dough all over using a fork.  Place tomatoes slices and crumbled feta over the dough.  Add fresh thyme sprigs.  Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until golden and puffed.  Remove from oven, drizzle olive oil over the tarts, and garnish with fresh pea shoots or rocket/arugula.  Serve immediately.

The Culinary Chase’s Note:  For easy finger food servings, cut into triangles or squares.  Enjoy!

puff pastry pizza tart
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
An easy week night meal to make.
Author:
Recipe type: pizza
Serves: 2
Ingredients
  • 1 sheet (pre-rolled) puff pastry, thawed
  • feta cheese
  • extra-virgin olive oil
  • tomatoes, sliced
  • fresh thyme or other favorite herb
  • pea shoots, for garnish
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 420f. Cut puff pastry (use a sharp knife or pizza wheel) in half and place on a baking sheet. Slightly roll the edges inward about a quarter of an inch and prick dough all over using a fork. Place tomatoes slices and crumbled feta over the dough. Add fresh thyme sprigs. Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until golden and puffed. Remove from oven, drizzle olive oil over the tarts, and garnish with fresh pea shoots or rocket/arugula. Serve immediately.
Notes
The Culinary Chase’s Note: For easy finger food servings, cut into triangles or squares. Enjoy!

 

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Pear and Blue Cheese Pizza http://theculinarychase.com/2014/11/pear-blue-cheese-pizza/ Fri, 28 Nov 2014 21:30:18 +0000 http://theculinarychase.com/?p=9016 What to do with overly ripe pears? A few things come to mind: fruit leather, smoothie, crumble, juice. But it’s Friday night and I’m looking to make pizza so why not incorporate pear and blue cheese.  I’m into the culinary balancing act of sweet and salty and pear is magical with blue cheese.  Creating your […]

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Pear & Blue Cheese PizzaWhat to do with overly ripe pears? A few things come to mind: fruit leather, smoothie, crumble, juice. But it’s Friday night and I’m looking to make pizza so why not incorporate pear and blue cheese.  I’m into the culinary balancing act of sweet and salty and pear is magical with blue cheese.  Creating your own pizza has unlimited options and easily tailored to meet whatever your dietary needs are.  Is it time to raid the refrigerator and see what needs to be used before going off?  Sometimes I find the most interesting concoctions for my pizzas hidden at the back of the fridge or in the crisper.  Here are some other combinations to contemplate or perhaps inspire you to create your own:  spinach and artichoke, asparagus and sun-dried tomato, lemon slices with smoked mozzarella, grilled veggies and caramelized onions and so on.  The idea, though, is not to load too many items onto the pizza base making it harder for the base to cook evenly.  No one likes a soggy middle and dry edges.

Serves 4
pizza dough, room temperature
1 to 2 ripe pears, sliced
2 tablespoons pesto
blue cheese, crumbled or sliced
olive oil, for drizzling

blue cheese & pear pizza ingredientsPreheat oven to 510f (or the highest temperature setting) and allow at least 20 minutes before adding the pizza.  Place rack in the middle of the oven or if you have a baking stone, place it in the lower middle of your oven.  Shape pizza dough and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Smear pesto over base, add pear slices and blue cheese.  Cook 8 to 10 minutes or until puffy and golden brown.

The Culinary Chase’s Note:  A super easy meal to make in under 20 minutes.  Pair with a glass of wine and the weekend is off to a great start.  Enjoy!

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Scanway Catering & Pastry (a review) http://theculinarychase.com/2014/09/scanway-catering-pastry-review/ http://theculinarychase.com/2014/09/scanway-catering-pastry-review/#comments Mon, 08 Sep 2014 15:12:15 +0000 http://theculinarychase.com/?p=8218 For such a small city (slightly under 400,000), we are blessed to have attracted a slew of quality restauranteurs where the owners and chefs happily promote locally grown produce. Many highlight Nova Scotian wineries which have garnered international acclaim.  There seems to be a mini explosion of late with new restaurants popping up all over […]

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Scanway Catering & CafeFor such a small city (slightly under 400,000), we are blessed to have attracted a slew of quality restauranteurs where the owners and chefs happily promote locally grown produce. Many highlight Nova Scotian wineries which have garnered international acclaim.  There seems to be a mini explosion of late with new restaurants popping up all over the city.  Last month I was invited by Laura Oakley to attend a blogger and media VIP open house hosted by Scanway Catering & Café.   They had just opened their new café.  Scanway isn’t new to the food scene in Halifax.  It opened its catering doors back in 1981 in Unni Simenson’s kitchen where she prepared food for small parties and afternoon teas.  Her Norwegian roots brought an European flare to Halifax and 33 years later Scanway is still thrilling its customers with their creations.  Geir Simenson, co-owner and Unni’s son, has been working for Scanway since he was a teenager.  Geir and Ray Bear teamed up to open Scanway Catering Bakery and Café – a place to grab a sandwich, cappuccino and homemade sweets in the heart of downtown Halifax.  The café seats 16 and their rooftop patio accommodates 60.

“This new space will be more than a pastry shop,” says Simensen. “We’re excited to be offering excellent coffee, artisanal breads and a modest cafe menu featuring creative sandwiches.”

The first batch of food to arrive was a pizza dressed with Thai-style homemade sausage, cilantro, and a mild curry sauce – verdict?  Crispy pizza base and delicious flavors (I liked this one).
Thai-style sausge pizza
Salmon pastrami with sumac ricotta, avocado, cilantro and arugula – I enjoyed the flavors but felt the choice of bread could have been more along the lines of rye rather than a baguette.  While I like a good crust, I felt this interfered with the delicate nature of the salmon and the other ingredients.  It might even be a good contender for an open-face sandwich.

salmonpastrami
Stromboli with salami, pancetta, fresh mozzarella and Gouda – holy smokes!  Served warm so the cheese is gooey good.  This was one of my favorite sandwiches; I got hooked on these when we lived in NY.

Stromboli
Chicken Mango Nachos – hello, I’m in nacho heaven!  I have to admit that nachos aren’t an item I’d go out of my way to order, but after one bite this delicious snack had me.  The nachos tasted as though they were homemade…so light and crispy.  House-made salsa and guacamole – need I say more?

chickenmangonachos
Nova Scotia Lobster Roll – chunks of lobster, fresh dill, light cream sauce.  Not too heavy on the sauce or condiments allowing the lobster to shine.

Nova Scotia lobster roll
Roasted Mushroom Pizza
with local Urban Harbour blue cheese – crispy pizza base, homemade tomato sauce and roasted mushrooms topped with blue cheese.  Mushrooms and blue cheese…perfect together.  I especially enjoyed this one.

roasted mushroom & blue cheese pizza
Muffuletta with smoked pork loin, Montreal smoked meat, applewood smoked cheddar, Dijon on housemade garlic rosemary bread – while I enjoyed the meat combinations and smoked cheddar, I did find there wasn’t enough spread or an olive oil dressing.  Typically a muffuletta has layers of meat with generous amounts of an olive spread or olive oil dressing.  The longer the olive spread and cold cuts can mingle with the bread, the better your muffuletta will be.

muffuletta
The Culinary Chase’s Note:  Having eaten in many parts of the world, the food scene in Halifax never ceases to amaze me.  Its younger chefs focus on plates with flavor, showcasing local ingredients from the downtown farmers’ markets and nearby farms, and a surprisingly diverse population who bring with them their piece of foodie heaven.  All have allowed our taste buds to be tantalized and our senses stimulated.

Scanway

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Zucchini Tomato Pizzas http://theculinarychase.com/2014/05/zucchini-tomato-pizzas/ Mon, 19 May 2014 18:35:54 +0000 http://theculinarychase.com/?p=6702 I had pizza on the brain the other day but wasn’t in the mood to make the dough and prep the toppings.  While I was at the grocery store trying to figure out how I could satisfy my pizza craving without doing too much work, I spotted a lovely display of zucchinis.  And there was […]

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zucchini & tomato pizzaI had pizza on the brain the other day but wasn’t in the mood to make the dough and prep the toppings.  While I was at the grocery store trying to figure out how I could satisfy my pizza craving without doing too much work, I spotted a lovely display of zucchinis.  And there was the answer!   It occurred to me that I could use the zucchini as a base.   Inspiration for cooking comes from the most interesting or the least expected places.  What inspires you?  These zucchini tomato pizzas are a cinch to make.  I ended up making these as an appetizer followed by grilled veggies and a quinoa salad.  Zucchini is part of the summer squash family and is full of nutrients and vitamins.   It helps lower cholesterol and blood pressure, and is anti-inflammatory.

zucchini, sliced into 1/2-inch rounds
oven roasted cherry or plum tomatoes
grated Parmesan
dried basil or oregano

Preheat oven to 375f (190c).
zucchini collageArrange zucchini slices on a greased baking tray. Lightly sprinkle dried basil over the slices.

zucchini & tomato pizza roundsAdd a pinch of Parmesan to each zucchini round and top with roasted tomato.

zucchini tomato pizza roundsBake in the oven 10 to 15 minutes or until cheese has melted.

The Culinary Chase’s Note:
Allow the zucchini pizzas to cool slightly before serving.  Use sliced fresh cherry tomatoes if you don’t have roasted and for added flavor, try a small sprinkling of truffle sea salt on top of the tomato. Enjoy!

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The Cookery’s DoughNation http://theculinarychase.com/2013/07/the-cookerys-doughnation/ Fri, 19 Jul 2013 21:49:47 +0000 http://theculinarychase.com/?p=3810 Food trucks have been around since the mid 1800’s although back then they were called chuckwagons.  Food trucks of today have evolved and now offer gourmet food at take-away prices.  These mobile kitchens are growing in numbers and the ones that really entice me to stop by and sample are those using a variety of […]

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The Cookery's DoughNationFood trucks have been around since the mid 1800’s although back then they were called chuckwagons.  Food trucks of today have evolved and now offer gourmet food at take-away prices.  These mobile kitchens are growing in numbers and the ones that really entice me to stop by and sample are those using a variety of fresh and local ingredients.  The Cookery’s DoughNation is a hand-crafted mobile pizza oven where it sits on top of a trailer.   I was at Dobbs Ferry last Friday and watched them set up.

It was a hot and humid morning.

DoughNation set up Food prep started shortly after I arrived.  The sound of wood crackling in the oven meant it was building up heat and soon the local peppers were popped into the oven.  The oven heat ranges from 800 degrees to 900 degrees…a hot job.

wood

sign

DoughNation offers five pizzas and one market pizza.  I couldn’t decide on the fresh lemon or shaved broccoli.  I asked Mike and he said if this is your first time, try the fresh lemon.

DoughNation pizza

My pizza!

fresh lemon pizza

The Culinary Chase’s Note:  This has to be the best pizza I have ever eaten!  The dough was light and airy and I loved the combo of smoked mozzarella, lemon, basil and garlic.  Amazing flavors!   The back of their menu shows where 2% of their profits will go for the month of July – Robbie’s Bone Marrow Fund Raiser.

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Pistachio Purée and Fresh Mozzarella Pizza http://theculinarychase.com/2013/05/pistachio-puree-and-fresh-mozzarella-pizza/ Thu, 02 May 2013 13:57:55 +0000 http://theculinarychase.com/?p=3118 Tandoori Naan bread is one of my favorite go-to flatbreads.  Not only is it perfect for mopping up the sauce from an Indian dish it’s just the right size for personal pizzas.  This pistachio purée has a buttery, rich flavor and might seem odd to spread on a as a pizza base, but let me […]

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pistachio pizzaTandoori Naan bread is one of my favorite go-to flatbreads.  Not only is it perfect for mopping up the sauce from an Indian dish it’s just the right size for personal pizzas.  This pistachio purée has a buttery, rich flavor and might seem odd to spread on a as a pizza base, but let me tell you, it was delicious!  Pistachios have been around for centuries and pistachio trees were said to have been in the Hanging Gardens of Babylon (700BC).  Pistachios are nutritionally beneficial and should be included in your diet.  They’re good for heart health, eye health, immune system, and skin health.  For more details, click here.  The best part of this dish – dinner in 20 minutes!

Serves 4 to 6 people
pistachio purée adapted from Saveur

Tandoori naan bread
fresh mozzarella
basil leaves, torn
button mushrooms, sliced and sautéed
olive oil, for drizzling

Pistachio Purée –
1½ cups shelled pistachios
1 tablespoon grated Parmesan
½ cup olive oil, plus more to taste
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
salt, to taste

naan pizzaPurée pistachios, Parmesan, oil, lemon juice, salt, and ¼ cup water in a food processor until smooth.  Spread the purée on the naan bread, followed by mushroom slices, basil leaves and topped with fresh mozzarella.  Drizzle olive oil over cheese and broil in the oven until cheese has melted.

basilThe Culinary Chase’s Note: Pulse the pistachios first in the food processor before adding the rest of the ingredients.  You may need to add more juice or water depending on the consistency you desire.  Enjoy!

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