Tag Archives: pizza

Italian Bruschetta – Florence Cooking Class

Let me start off with Italy was awesome and everything I thought it was going to be! Let me next apologize for the delay in sending out my weekly blog. Last week I mentioned I wanted to travel light so I left my laptop at home. Well that would have all worked out fine and dandy had the airline Alitalia not understood the concept of how to cue lines and decided to sell my ticket plus several others to the people in the standby line versus us who were waiting 2½ hours in line to check in. So while being stranded another night in Italy sounds like a pretty cool place to be, I was less than thrilled or prepared for that matter. I got home last night around 10:30 versus Saturday night which had I been prepared I could have written my blog plus maybe a short novel with how much time I spent sitting in the airport. But enough about that, let’s get to why we are all here – YUMMY FOOD!

Italy 2015 217

I can say with some certainty that tomatoes, mozzarella and basil were the basis of pretty much every meal we ate, breakfast included. If it wasn’t a margarita pizza, it could have been caprese salad or bruschetta, or even in a sandwich form; the options were endless. We had the most amazing burrata ever. I want to learn how to make this; the Italian way of course.

Italy 2015 012


A few interesting things we learned in the cooking class that I wanted to share. They like a specific bread for bruschetta, it is rustic and doesn’t have a lot of flavor so you taste nothing but the basil, tomatoes and garlic ahhhhhhh love or better yet Amare! When they use onions they do not add any garlic and vice versus. I definitely do not follow that rule; I add garlic to just about everything I make. This other is a huge no no with them but I can go either way with it. They take great offense to pineapple on pizzas. Not my first choice but I can deal.

Class Pizza - artichoke hearts OK

Class Pizza Abbi and I made – artichoke hearts OK

I would like to recommend to anyone traveling to Italy to take a cooking class. The one we took in Florence was jammed packed with history and information and yummy food. We met some very nice people and I am very happy we signed up.  We went with Taste Italy Food and Wine Tours. Oh yeah I haven’t even brought up all the wine we drank, I mean tried. First night walking around Rome we picked a restaurant randomly and ordered their bruschetta and a glass of wine. We ended up enjoying both so we ordered a margarita pizza and another glass of wine. Our waiter was SO disappointed in us, he told us next time we have to order the bottle of wine; it is less expensive that way. SO that is how the rest of the trip went.

Just sharing how adorable my daughter is

Just sharing how adorable my daughter is

Italian way to make bruschetta

3-4 ripe from the vine tomatoes chopped

Rustic bread sliced and toasted

1 Clove of garlic chopped (I personally would use 2-3)

Bunch of fresh basil ripped and chopped with the garlic

Extra Virgin Olive oil – the extra virgin means first press of the olives – we learned that in class

Black pepper


Toast bread dry, set aside. Chop several tomatoes and place in a bowl. Chop basil and garlic together add to the tomatoes, add about 1-2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil and sprinkle with pepper. Only add salt when serving. Side note, they did say we could rub garlic on the toast if we wanted to.


Burrata – Best I have ever had!

I don’t know how to make burrata just yet but I will learn and share, if you haven’t tried it or know what it is, it starts as mozzarella and ends with a creamy curd center mozzarella ball . I have had it before and liked it, now I LOVE it! I hope it’s not only awesome in Italy.

30 Minute Skillet Thin Crust Pizza

I got an email Monday morning asking if there was room at Clark Towers for the night. I had not taken anything out for dinner and wasn’t sure what I really wanted to make. I was going through what I had on hand and decided to try a new skillet thin crust pizza recipe I had been dying to try. I LOVE thin crust pizza and if I could make it quickly for dinner any night of the week, I HAD to check it out.

thin crust pizza 004

The dough came together super easy and very quickly; with the help from my food processor. The simple toppings, if you keep them to a minimum, which you really should help make the crust stay crispy and keeps the time to a minimum.

You could make this any night of the week and look like a rock star. At least that was how I felt Monday night, or that could have been the wine talking.

thin crust pizza 005 thin crust pizza 009 thin crust pizza 010 thin crust pizza 011 thin crust pizza 012 thin crust pizza 013


4 plum tomatoes, cored, seeded, and chopped

½ tsp kosher salt

4 ounces shredded mozzarella cheese

1 ounce Parmesan cheese, grated

½ cup chopped fresh basil


1 cup AP flour

½ tsp baking powder

½ tsp sugar

½ tsp salt

7 Tbs olive oil – divided

1/3 cup dark ale

Toppings – toss tomatoes in a bowl with the salt and let sit a few minutes; then transfer to a paper towel, let drain for 15 minutes. Mix cheese and basil in a bowl and set aside.

thin crust pizza 006 thin crust pizza 007

Dough – process flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt in a food processor until combined. With the processor running, slowly add 1 Tbs oil and beer, process just till dough pulls away from the sides.

Using floured hands, form into a ball, cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rest for 10 minutes. Divide dough in quarters, roll each half into a very thin 8-9 inch round pizza on a lightly floured surface.

Heat 3 Tbs of oil in a 10-inch non-stick skillet over medium heat until just smoking. Transfer 1 dough round to skillet and cook. Poking any bubbles that form with a fork until the bottom is golden brown and crisp 3-4 minutes; flip dough and sprinkle with half of the drained tomatoes and half of the cheeses.

Reduce heat to low and cook, covered, until second side is crisp and cheeses have melted, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a cutting board, wipe out skillet and repeat.

Garlic Cream Sauce – this is for you KP

2 Tbs butter,

2 Tbs Flour

1 ½ cup milk or heavy cream whatever you have on hand

1 clove minced garlic

¼ cup Parmesan cheese

Melt butter in saute pan, add flour to make a roux, cook on low for 1-2 minutes. Whisk in cream add garlic and cheese simmer on low till thickened

Tip – as long as you keep the ingredients to a minimum per pizza and make sure like the tomatoes they are dried on a paper towel, you can add what you would like. We added sausage, and garlic cream sauce to some of our pizzas – Also the dough can be wrapped tightly in plastic wrap and spend a week in the freezer if needed.