Thursday, December 27, 2012

An Italian Evening (5 Recipes!)

Today was my first whole day off in longer than I can remember. No plans at all. And of course there's no way I could sit around and do nothing. I thought it would be best to put these all in one post. They are all linked to on their original sites in each recipe section. If you time it right you can do the last 3 all at once. Otherwise at least the pizza and the garlic knots. They cook at the same temperature.

These are the things I made today:

Pizza Dough
Garlic Knots
Tomato Soup


I got a make your own Mozza kit for Christmas (only my boyfriend would think of that) so I decided that would be my first task of the day. The kit makes over 8 pounds of cheese but we figured One would be enough for today. I came out with three fairly good sized balls. I never knew it was so ridiculously easy to make your own cheese.

Rennet + Water
Citric Acid + 4L Milk
Boil, Mix, Let sit, Stir, Strain and heat.
You can braid it, make larger balls, bocconcini, or whatever your heart desires.
Sits in a water bath for 3 hours, tightly wrap and it will keep for 10 days or so or freeze.

You can get your own kit here:


Sean and I decided that after making our own mozza we should probably have pizza.

I wanted to do a thin crust but I decided on a dough recipe I already knew. This is an easy and quick recipe from Stefano Faita on CBC.

Pizza dough
2 3/4 to 3 cups all purpose flour
1 tbsp. salt
1 cup warm water
1 tbsp. sugar
1 package (1/4 ounce) active dry yeast
In a large bowl, combine 2 3/4 cups flour and salt. Set aside.
In another bowl, add warm water, sugar and yeast. Stir to combine. Let sit until yeast starts to foam, about 5 to 10 minutes.
Add yeast mixture to flour mixture. Stir or work with your hands until dough starts to form into a ball. Transfer to work surface. Knead until smooth and elastic, about 7 to 8 minutes, adding more flour if dough is sticky.
Transfer dough to an oiled bowl and cover. Store in a warm place until it doubles in volume, about 30 to 40 minutes.
Punch down dough. Cut in 1/2. Roll each piece into a 10-inch round.

I rolled out one half into about a 12" pizza, so it was a bit thinner. I preheated my oven and cast iron griddle to 400ºF so the crust would get a bit of a head start on cooking as soon as I put it on the hot pan. I also poked holes in the dough with a fork so it crisps a bit more on the bottom.


We decided on a basic pizza:

Homemade Mozza
Basic Pizza Sauce (I cooked alot today, just used Eden's Organic Sauce from a tin)
Olive Oil

After crisping up the crust for 5-10 minutes in the oven, put your choice of sauce on and the cheese. Place back in the oven for 7-10 minutes until it gets a bit melty.

Take it out and sprinkle on the Spinach and Basil. Put on as much meat as desired and pour a bit of olive oil across pizza.

Put back in the oven for 2 minutes to heat through.


With the other half of the dough I decided to make "Not your Average Garlic Knots" which made Rachael Ray's top 10 downloaded recipes of 2012. I didn't make this exactly how it goes just because it was kind of a spur of the moment decision. I also only made half.

The only ingredients I left out were the rosemary and provolone. I have no doubt it would have been 10 times better with those. But they were still great. This was a recipe that was to be made in a bundt pan, which many of us have but not many of us use. I actually don't have one so I just oiled up a little baking dish.

Since the oven is the same temperature as the pizza you can definitely make both at the same time.

Here is the original recipe:

Nonstick cooking spray
4 tablespoons butter
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 pound store-bought pizza dough, cut into 1-inch balls
2 tablespoons finely chopped rosemary
Coarse ground sea salt
Black pepper
1 cup shredded provolone
1 cup grated Parmesan

Tomato sauce, homemade or store-bought, for dipping
Preheat oven to 400ºF.
Prepare a bundt pan with non-stick cooking spray.
In a small saucepot, melt butter with garlic. Pour into a large mixing bowl and toss together with pizza dough balls, rosemary, sea salt and black pepper. Place half of the dough balls into the bundt pan, top with half of the cheeses. Top with remaining dough and finish with remaining cheese. Bake 30 minutes. 


For the final recipe I decided on a tomato soup to start off with. Since I wasn't originally planning on the garlic knots. This was another recipe from Rachael Ray's TV show. I didn't do the egg noodles although they definitely interest me for a future recipe. I used everything except the bay leaf because we couldn't find any. I also never have whole milk in my house and used 1%.


2 tablespoons EVOO – Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 onion, finely chopped
4 large cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 carrot, finely diced
Salt and pepper
2 tablespoons fresh thyme, chopped
1 large fresh bay leaf
3 tablespoons tomato paste
1 quart chicken stock
1 28- to 32-ounce can hand-crushed San Marzano tomatoes
A few leaves basil, torn
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
1 1/2 cups whole milk

For the soup, heat oil, 2 turns of the pan, in a large soup pot over medium to medium-high heat. Add onions, garlic, carrot, salt, pepper, thyme, bay and cook partially covered to soften 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add tomato paste and stir 2 minutes; add stock, tomatoes and basil. Simmer partially covered for 30 minutes, remove and discard bay leaf.

Purée soup in a blender and return to pot. (I used an immersion blender and never had to pour it out and back into the pot)
To make the béchamel sauce, melt butter in a saucepot over medium heat, whisk in flour and cook 1 minute. Whisk in milk, season with salt and pepper, and let thicken to coat a spoon. Stir béchamel into soup to combine.

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