Friday, July 12, 2013

New York Style White Pizza

White pizza is one of my favorite things...of all time. Basically. Growing up we used to go to Anthony's Pizza ( every Wednesday before Thanksgiving and buy the largest pizza bianca you have ever seen. 

And it was a sight to be seen, let me tell you. A layer of perfectly browned cheese, little circles of ricotta dotted evenly across the pizza, with the occasional puddle of olive oil and fresh garlic. My mouth is watering just thinking about it!

Well, now that I live in Tucson we don't get to eat it. So it inspired me to attempt to make my own pizza bianca. 

White Pizza:


One store bought pizza dough (you can find the fresh dough in the refrigerated section)
1 cup of part-skim mozzarella
1/3 cup of part-skim ricotta
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
2 tbs. of olive oil
dried oregano


Let your store bought pizza dough rest on the counter for 30 minutes. While it's resting, preheat your oven to 425 degrees.

Saute your garlic in the olive oil over VERY low heat while your dough rests as well. You do not want it to brown or it will overcook in the oven. 

Once your dough has rested, slowly stretch or roll it out to your desired thickness and place on a pizza stone or baking sheet. Then brush liberally with your garlic-infused olive oil. 

Evenly sprinkle the shredded mozzarella over the pizza, leaving a border for your crust and dollop the ricotta evenly on the pizza. Then sprinkle with dried oregano to taste.

Bake it for 12 to 15 minutes, rotating once. And then enjoy!

It's not exactly like Anthony's, but it's still delicious. I hope you enjoy this recipe, one of my all time favorites, and stay tuned...I see homemade pizza dough in our future!

Buon appetito!

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Shrimp Scampi

So it's been quite some time since I posted a new entry on here...

.:lowers head in shame:.

And I'm sorry! But I'm back with a recipe I hope you'll love as much as I do. 

Shrimp Scampi!! Or, well, at least what my family calls scampi. I'm not sure if this really is a true shrimp scampi, but it's delish. I'll tell you that. 

What I love about shrimp is how fast they cook and how quickly you can throw this meal together. You can cook this entire meal in the time it takes you to cook the pasta. For serious.

Also, this sauce is a great for any fish dish. Sometimes I like to season some tilapia with salt and pepper, lightly dredge it in flour and then pan fry it and top it with this sauce. Yum. 

Shrimp Scampi: (serves two)


2 tbs. of olive oil
10-12 large shrimp
the juice of one lemon
the zest of half a lemon
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper
a splash of white wine, we used Trader Joe's chardonnay
dried parsley to taste
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 lb. of pasta (we used linguine)


First you want to heat up the water for your pasta and a couple heavy pinches of salt to the water. 

Turn a saute pan to medium heat and add two tbs. of olive oil. Once shimmering add your shrimp and cook for a couple of minutes, flipping over once. Remove the shrimp when they are no longer translucent. 

Add your garlic cloves and crushed red pepper and saute for a couple of minutes. Once the garlic begins to brown slightly add the lemon juice and half of your lemon zest. At this point, if you have not started to cook your pasta you may want to...

Then you want to find a dashing young man to open your chardonnay for you. Luckily, I keep a husband around just for this reason ;) Add a splash of the chardonnay to your garlic/lemon/deliciousness sauce and reduce. 

I also like to reserve a 1/4 to 1/2 of the pasta water at this point. This starchy/salty water helps to bring the sauce together at the end. It varies how much you'll need, you only need enough of it to help moisten all the pasta after you've added your delicious scampi sauce. 

Once the wine has reduced down a bit, add the shrimp back to the pan to warm through. Remember, they don't take long to cook. Overcooked shrimp are the worst too, so be careful not to cook these little babies to death!

Add your perfectly al dente pasta to the pan and stir. If the pasta seems a little dry, add some pasta water. And if your sauce seems a little dull add a pad of butter! Trust me. I mean, when is butter ever bad? Oh, that's right, never. NEVER. 

Divide up your pasta and shrimpies, and sprinkle it with the remaining half of your lemon zest. In my family we do not put cheese on our fish dishes, so this zest is like my cheese garnish. That, and it's just yummy. You can also sprinkle some fresh or dried parsley on the top, too. We didn't have fresh so I used dried. Delish. You don't have to add much salt to the sauce if you added any of the salted pasta water to it. If you didn't, taste and double check. 

And then shove it in your face...what are you waiting for?

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Enzo's Five-Minute Pasta Sauce

Don't get me wrong, I love cooking a pasta sauce for the better part of a day (or gravy, as we call it in my family) but sometimes you just want something fast and easy with a few simple ingredients and get on with your evening.

Here, let me set the scene for you, it's a beautiful thing: 

You get home from work. It's 6, or 7 o'clock in the evening. You're probably exhausted, let's face it, it's been a long day. Isn't it nice to know all you have to do is chop up a few garlic cloves, saute them up in a tbs. of olive oil, throw in a few crushed red pepper flakes and a 28 oz. can of whole tomatoes. Cook it for a few minutes, and call it a day? 

In five minutes, you can have a delicious sauce that tastes just as good as that sauce that spent most of the day on the stove. (Mom, don't judge me, you know I love your sauce)

So, here's the back story on this amazing recipe. I was in 5th grade, so this recipe is from 1997 (and trust me, if I remember something for over a decade it HAS to be good), at Rollins College Summer Camp in Winter Park, FL and I was taking a cooking class. A chef named Enzo, who had a very yummy restaurant aptly named Enzo's in town, came in to teach us one of his recipes. And it was on that blustery summer day in central Florida that I first learned (and tasted) this lovely gem of a recipe, and I've been making it ever since. And as soon as you try it you too will be making it for years to come, I promise!

Enzo's Five-Minute Pasta Sauce:


2 tbs. of extra virgin olive oil
3 garlic cloves
1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
28 oz. can of whole peeled tomatoes
pinch of salt


First you want to crush the can of whole tomatoes. I use my hand, but you're more than welcome to use your favorite crushing tool (a potato masher is good, too). Just make sure to keep the sauce relatively chunky. The tomatoes will cook down slightly on the stove making for the perfect chunky/smooth pasta sauce.

Next you want to slice up your garlic cloves. Instead of smashing the garlic I like to peel it and thinly slice it for this particular recipe. But this is your chance to be creative, so do this to your liking (and the same goes for that crushed red pepper...making it as hot or as mild as you want).

You want to lightly brown the garlic in a saute pan over medium-low heat. Once the garlic begins to brown, add the crushed red pepper and saute briefly. Then add your tomatoes (and be careful, they have the tendency to splatter and make a mess when they hit the hot oil, so just be careful please!).

This only needs to cook for about 5 minutes. You'll be amazed how the sauce thickens over that time. Once the sauce has reduced, check it for seasonings. I added a little more crushed red pepper and a heavy pinch of salt but this is to your liking. So be creative and have fun with it!

This sauce is a wonderful base, so add to it if you want. You could add some roasted garlic, or maybe some capers and olives and make a delicious puttanesca sauce. It's really up to you!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011


Ah yes, fajita night, the evening that's almost as good as taco night. Or at least that's the way I used to think of it--that is until I discovered what one amazing marinade can do to steak, fish, chicken, you name it! A few simple ingredients can turn an ordinary meal into a great foodie adventure!!

Okay, so maybe that sounds a little cheesy but, let's be honest, it's a heck of a lot cheaper to try Mexican, Italian, Japanese, and so on (you get the picture) cuisine at home then it is to travel halfway across the globe. Sometimes it's fun to be a little adventurous with your cooking. So instead of splurging on that week-long cruise to through the Gulf coast, why not splurge on a few exotic spices!

So, let's get on with this recipe!



1 medium white or yellow onion
1 bell pepper
1-2 cloves of garlic
olive oil
1 lime
salt and pepper
two servings sirloin (or whichever cut of beef you prefer)
1 tsp. of cumin
1/2 tsp. of dried oregano
cayenne pepper to your taste
a handful of fresh cilantro
(salsa, guacamole, chimichurri...all yummy things you can top your fajita with!)


The night before serving you want to begin marinating your protein. The marinade is pretty simply composed of the juice of one lime, about a quarter cup of olive oil (or 3 times as much as the lime juice) and a heavy pinch of salt and pepper. Combine ingredients together and store in the fridge over night in a heavy ziploc bag. I like to keep mine in a bowl as well, just in case any meat decides to make a run for it.

You want to take your meat out of the fridge when you start preparing everything else for dinner just to take the chill off of it. That way it will sear up really yummily!

Now, below I have what I like to call the "dream team" of this recipe: garlic, lime, onion, and bell pepper as well as oregano, cumin, and cayenne pepper. I love the way smokey spices, like cumin, really add a great flavor to Mexican dishes. And these lovely veggies (or fruits) and spices really kick up the flavor of these fajitas!

First you want to begin by slicing up your onion and your bell pepper pretty thinly and shoot for about the same size for both. I usually just halve the onion and make thin slices, running from the top to the bottom of the onion, and julienne the bell pepper.

Now when it comes to the garlic, well, that I'll leave up to you. I personally love the flavor of garlic so I chop mine up pretty finely and saute it in with the peppers and onions. However, if you prefer a little less garlic flavor (don't worry, I won't judge you) then just crush the cloves, throw them in whole and remove them after peppers and onions saute.

First you want to saute the bell peppers in about a tbs. of olive oil for about 5 minutes or so, until they're starting to become tender but still maintain their lovely greenliness. 

Once the peppers are, welll, "al dente" go ahead and add the onions and the garlic. The reason I add these later mainly has to do with the cooking time of the onion and the tendency that garlic has to burn if added straight away. You want to let the onions and the peppers cook together for another five minutes or so before adding the salt, pepper and spices.

And yes, I know that looks like a ton of onions but I promise they'll begin to settle down shortly!

You can see below that after those five minutes of cooking the onions are starting to cook down and turn translucent. At this point you want to go ahead and add the spices! Yum yum!

To the onions and the peppers I added 1 tsp. of cumin, 1/2 tsp. of dried oregano, and I like 1/4 tsp. of cayenne pepper. But just be aware that cayenne pepper can get really spicy, really fast! So consider this your warning. Do it to your tastes, but be careful. That is seriously hot!

In the mean time, heat up your grill and prepare your toppings. For me, that's chopped fresh cilantro, lime zest and some lime juice! Yum! But be creative, this is really up to you. I mean, that's half the fun!

Go ahead and grill your steak to your liking, I like mine about medium to medium-rare. Yum...

Top your protein with your onions and peppers mixture and whatever other toppings you're adding. Roll it up and enjoy!!

Mmm...steak fajitas!

I hope you enjoy this recipe. Sorry it's taken me so long to update this blog but you'll be rewarded for your patience with lots of yummy recipes to come (and maybe some dorky YouTube videos as well...prepare yourself).

Until next time and, as always, buon appetito!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

The Woman FINALLY Got Her Blowtorch

So I must admit, my blog title has been a little bit, well, misleading.

Until now, that is.

As of last November I am now the proud owner of a BERNZOMATIC ST2200T. Sounds intense, doesn't it? Well, it is.

Last month, my friend Meghan (who, by the way, has her own food blog and it is below) and I went shopping. Now, not just your normal girl, giggle-filled, shopping adventure. Oh no, we had a mission.

Mission: Purchase Blowtorch.

We first went to Williams-Sonoma; the obvious choice, of course, by far. And to be honest, I was a little bit disappointed. I don't doubt for an instant that their blowtorch was great. It was just too expensive for a grad student and an unemployed historian.

Next, we went to Crate and Barrel, one of my personal faves. Now, C&B was more affordable, but we couldn't buy butane there, and well, I just decided from that point that I was going to get my blowtorch at a hardware store (a la Alton Brown style).

Our last stop of the day, Ace Hardware. I purchased a blowtorch and two canisters of butane for the same price as a Williams-Sonoma torch (w/o butane). Plus, it's called the BERNZOMATIC ST2200T. I like to call it Bernie. No judging.

I would encourage anyone to check their local hardware store first for purchasing a blowtorch. It's more affordable and is equipped with all the safety features you'd want and expect (plus, it comes with a soddering tip...SCORE).

Isn't Bernie beautiful?


I promise I'll put up good recipes soon! Currently, I am home, enjoying the holidays with the famiglia. But, as soon as I get back to Tucson I'll be sure to post some fun blowtorch-utilizing recipes.

In the meantime, I hope you'll enjoy a few of my favorite holiday recipes, including my grandmother's famous fruitcake). Ok, I know what you're thinking. But seriously, this one's soaked in bourbon. It's fine.

And, as promisted, Meghan's blog (you don't want to miss this):

Thursday, November 4, 2010

My Grampy's Tomato Salad

As much as I love creating new dishes and sharing my recipes, there are a few classics in my family that I just adore and wouldn't do a darn thing to them...except maybe pack them into my mouth super fast, hamster-style.

No. Judging.

And you won't judge--not after you try this delicious (and simple) salad.

My grandfather was the master of fresh pasta and gravy, and the most adorable man in the world, especially when he donned his apron.

One of my favorite recipes of his is this tomato salad. I think it's especially delicious as a side for a bbq or any dish during the summer. I know, I know, stop looking at me like that. It's not summer anymore, I get it. But since I live in Arizona, we don't exactly have a shortage of warm weather right now.

This is great at room temperature. In fact, I let mine sit out for 30 minutes or so, even if I plan on refrigerating it, just to let the flavors meld together. So this is really perfect for a tailgate, picnic, or bbq because you do not have to worry about maintaining it at a certain temperature.

So...on with the recipe!

My Grampy's Tomato Salad:


4 Plum or Roma tomatoes
Quarter of a red onion
pinch of kosher salt
fresh ground black pepper
1 tbs. of extra virgin olive oil


You want to slice the tomatoes into relatively manageable pieces. To do this, I sliced the tomatoes in half, lengthwise then cutting those pieces in half lengthwise again to quarter the tomato. I then went further to halve those pieces as well, so that the tomato was sliced into eight even pieces.

Next, I thinly sliced a quarter of a large red onion. I like to keep the onion in long, thin pieces.

Toss the tomatoes and the onion together and drizzle with about a tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil and salt and pepper to taste. I added a heavy pinch of kosher salt and only a few cranks of my pepper grinder.

Now, if you want to add another layer of flavor, one of my mom's secrets is to rub the bottom of the bowl with raw garlic. This allows a subtle garlic flavor to permeate the dish. It's delicious with or without garlic, so this is really up to your own personal taste. However, give the garlic a try. You might find that by treating the bowl with a little garlic it will add a new layer of flavor to your salad.

How yummy does that look?! Hope you enjoy this family favorite and--until next time--buon appetito!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Lemon and Garlic Bean Dip

With the holidays coming up everyone is looking for quick and easy appetizers to serve before the big meal and visiting guests and relatives. One of my favorite quick dishes is this white bean dip. It's healthy, delicious and has only five ingredients (one of which is garlic...perfect for Halloween and keeping away those vampires ;) )!

Lemon and Garlic Bean Dip:

1 15.5 oz can of Cannellini Beans (or white kidney beans)
2 cloves of smashed garlic
the juice of half a lemon
1 tbs. of extra virgin olive oil
a heavy pinch of kosher salt

You will also need a food processor or blender (even a magic bullet works)

Rinse the cannellini beans well and place them in your food processor or blender. 

Next you want to smash the garlic to make it easier for the food processor to combine everything together. There's no need, however, to chop it finely. Just place the individual cloves on the board and place the flat part of your knife on top of a clove. Using the palm of your hand, strike the flat part of the knife, smashing the garlic. Now it should also be easy to remove the outer papery skin from the cloves.

 Add the lemon juice and garlic to the cannellini beans. 

Pulse until the mixture is nearly smooth and slowly drizzle in the olive oil until the dip reaches a smooth consistency. Finally, add the kosher salt and pulse to combine.

And, can you believe it, that's it! The dip is even better the next day, but is good straight out of the food processor as well. 

I like to add a pinch of lemon zest to the top, a light sprinkling of kosher salt and a drizzle of olive oil. I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I do, and until next time...buon appetito!