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May 11, 2015

Cooking Class 122 ~ Artisan Pizzas

Mel Brooks said, "Pizza is a lot like sex. When it's good, it's really good. When it's bad, it's still pretty good."
     Well thank you Captain Obvious.

For the May cooking class we made six pretty bad ass pies.  

All concoctions (except the Scampi) were recently masterminded right here in the SdJ kitchen! (read: me and The Big Guy have been eating pizza for two solid weeks which is the equivalent of five pounds gained and a couple hundred bucks spent on cheese. Someone's gotta take one for the team and he's such a good sport.)

So lets talk pie: I like Jim Lahey's No Knead Dough. You can find the recipe here. Nuff said about that.

I really don't think you need an exact recipe for pizza...just good ingredients and good ideas of what goes together. It's an art not a science; so get creative and go crazy. That's pretty much what I did. And if in doubt, add bacon. Read on.


I've been making and tweaking the Scampi Pizza for about 15 years now so it's pretty much my own and is in fact one of my all-time favorite pizzas. EVER. With a tomato-leek, white wine and garlic base, it's topped with sauteed shrimp, mozz, parm, and white cheddar and finished with parsley. And if you want to go a little crazy ~ add crisp bacon.

The Artsy-Fartsy Lemon Chicken Pizza (sorry no pic) is a pie with a pesto base, topped with garlic-lemon chicken (which has been marinated all night {in garlic, lemon juice and bit of olive oil}, then baked), a dab of ricotta, artichoke hearts, shaved red onion and capers, plus mozz and parm  finish out this one. The capers really kick this one up a notch and the lemon chicken got rave reviews on its own. You should definitely go all crazy and add bacon to this one!

Chef Vicki ~ The El Cubano going in the oven.
Next we made the El Cubano; my take on the sandwich of the same name. I made a Cuban Mojo (pronounced Mo-hoe) sauce and marinated the pork roast over night. It then took a six or seven hour snooze in my crock pot until it was super relaxed. I made a Mojo-Mustard sauce and used it as the base, topped the pie with the shredded pork, deli ham, a shit load of dill pickles, Gruyere and Gouda cheese. We threw a few diced tomatoes on top, when it came out of the oven. Muy bueno! And if you decide to add bacon to this one feel free ~ the Cubans will approve.

The Mushrooms Gone Wild was just that. Shiitakes, Crimini, Morels, Chantrelles....sauteed with butter, garlic, shallot, wine, thyme and parsley. On the crust we spread some garlic-truffle oil, topped it with caramelized onions, the 'shrooms and Fontina cheese. Splashed on some truffle oil when it came out of the oven. It was an earthy delight and overall I think it got the most votes for the best pizza of the night. Please...check your crazy at the door and don't add bacon to this one or the SdJ police will be notified.

The Italian Stallion is my version of a meat lovers. I made a buttermilk Alfredo base which is like a regular Alfredo except with buttermilk instead of cream. Don't be scared...try it...the buttermilk gives it a nice tang. You top it with sweet Italian sausage crumbles, spicy Italian mini meatballs, soppressata and prosciutto. Then add shaved fennel (fennel and sausage go together like bacon and peanut butter, or bacon and chocolate, or really bacon and anything.), sun dried tomatoes, asiago and mozz and you got yourself one big stud of a pizza. 

I always do dessert at the class but to me pizza IS dessert and I wasn't about to do that old dried out sugar cookie-cream-cheese-strawberry-kiwi thing, so I decided to go the savory-sweet route and The Sexy Fig Leaf Pizza was born. This one is a party in your mouth! Sweet fig jam base, buttery sauteed pears, tangy Gorgonzola, brie and goat cheeses, salty prosciutto and toasted walnuts. Bake it and then top it with a handful of peppery arugula and a balsamic glaze drizzle. This pie was probably the 1st runner-up, had it been a contest.

I'm sharing the Cubano, Mushroom, and Fig recipes here. If you want any of the other let me know but really you can pretty much just wing it. (Unless you can't make toast ~ then don't try to wing it ~ call me, I'll bring wine.)
My Dough Babies

PRINT RECIPE: El Cubano Pizza

PRINT RECIPE: Mushrooms Gone Wild Pizza

PRINT RECIPE:  The Sexy Fig Leaf Pizza