The “Use What You Have, Spaghetti Crust, Pizza Pie”

Pizza Pie 1

Pizza Pie 1

The “Use What You Have, Spaghetti Crust, Pizza Pie”

So, yesterday, my husband and I were entertaining the idea of homemade pizza for dinner. I’ll tell you my idea of home made pizza at a later post… Well, after working all day, running 3 miles in the 110 degree heat, and a couple of glasses of wine at the end of the day…  the left over gumbo sounded like a better idea.  However, when I got up this morning, the thought of pizza was still running through my mind.   Only I was in the mood to get creative and not have to drive to the store (that’s always a plus in my book).  After a quick inventory of what I had in my fridge, I came up with this recipe…..  It’s one of those recipes that you could easily change out ANY of the ingredients for what you have on hand…  Here is my recipe!  Use it as a guideline to create your own pizza pie!!!

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees

For the “crust”:

Left over, cooked pasta. Mine happened to be spaghetti, so it was probably about 2/3 of a 1 lb. box

1 tsp anchovy paste

1 tsp basil paste

2 – 3 TBS olive oil

3 – 4  TBS chopped sundried tomatoes

1/4 cup chopped green onions

Chopped fresh herbs, I used parsley, basil, and oregano.  More Parsley and basil and a little less oregano.

1/2 cup or more grated parmesan cheese

Kosher salt and coarse ground pepper to taste

More olive oil if needed

For the filling:

Mozzarella cheese, sliced thin.  I probably have 2 large balls altogether

2 large fresh tomatoes, sliced thin

1/2 large onion, sliced thin

Fresh basil

Minced garlic

Olive oil

Kosher salt and Coarse ground black pepper

Salami, very thin sliced.  Mine was only about 2” long and was plenty.

Black olives

1 – pkg. Proscuitto, torn

More mozzarella cheese

Parmesan cheese

olive oil for drizzling

Here’s how I put it all together:

First prepare the crust:

Mix the anchovy paste and basil paste with the olive oil.  In a medium mixing bowl, coat this mixture with the pasta.  Toss in the remaining ingredients.  Be sure to turn it really good to make sure all of the ingredients are evenly distributed throughout the pasta.  Spray a 9 inch spring form pan with olive oil spray.  Press the pasta into the pan. I actually used a potato masher to press it in.  Press firm without “smashing” the pasta. 

Now Layer in the filling:

Layer 1/3 of the mozzarella on top of the “crust”

Add a layer of the thin sliced tomatoes, onions, garlic, and basil.

Drizzle this with some olive oil and give it a good sprinkle of salt and pepper.

Add the salami in a single layer.  Top this with the black olives.

Add another layer of the mozzarella cheese.

Next goes the remaining thin sliced tomatoes, onions, basil, and garlic drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with salt and pepper.

Now add all of the proscuitto.

Top this with the remaining Mozzarella cheese.

Top this with a heavy amount of grated parmesan cheese and the last few thin sliced onions.  Gently press everything down into the pan with your hands.  Give it a heavy drizzle of olive oil.  Cover with tin foil.

Put a layer of tin foil on a baking sheet.

Wrap another layer of tin foil around the bottom of the spring form pan.  Place in the preheated oven and bake for an hour.  Remove the top covering of tin foil. Change the oven to broil and let the cheese get a nice golden color to it.  Take it out of the oven and let it rest for 15 – 20 minutes before removing it from the spring form pan.  Use a knife to detach the edges of the pie from the pan before you remove it.  Cut into desired wedge sizes eat it up!!!

Serve and Enjoy!!!

Pizza pie 2

Pizza pie 2

Good Ole Spaghetti

Spaghetti

Spaghetti

Good Ole Spaghetti

 Okay, so your are thinking… spaghetti???  How gourmet can that be?  Doesn’t everyone already know how to make spaghetti? Maybe so, but I have a few “extra” ingredients that turns ordinary spaghetti sauce into spaghetti extraordinaire!  I am not a believer in doctoring up pre-made sauces and the ingredients here are usually found in everyones pantry (Maybe not the fresh herbs). I have been hesitant to post this recipe because I felt I may get some “flack” from people who may know more than I do about Italian cooking.  But when I thought about how much everyone LOVES this sauce…I thought… why not?  The original recipe came from my sweet mother in law, Mary.  I still have her hand written copy and will cherish it forever.  I have made some major changes from the original but three ingredients remain the same and are what give this sauce its great flavor…ketchup, yellow mustard, and worcestershire sauce. So here goes…  I am laying it out there and if anyone says anything…  Well…just try it!

 Ingredients Lists:

Olive oil spray

1 1/2 lbs. ground sirloin

1 1/2 lbs. ground sweet Italian sausage

1/4 cup olive oil

1 lg. onion, chopped

1 lg. bellpepper, chopped

3 stalks celery, chopped

5 cloves of garlic, chopped fine

1/2 cup of red wine

4 – 28 oz. cans of whole tomatoes, drained (reserve liquid) and hand crushed

1 tsp kosher salt (or more)

1 tsp coarse ground black pepper

1 TBS garlic powder

1 TBS onion powder

1 TBS dried oregano

1 TBS dried basil

1 TBS dried thyme

2 – 4 chicken bullion cubes (Start out with 2.  You can always add more)

1/2 cup ketchup

2 TBS yellow mustard

2 TBS worcestershire sauce

2 TBS tomato paste

4 bay leaves

1 bouquet garni of 1 sprig of rosemary, 3 sprigs fresh oregano, 3 sprigs fresh thyme

(to make this, just tie all of the fresh herbs together with kitchen twine)

1 box spaghetti pasta cooked according to package directions

Fresh grated parmesan cheese

Fresh parsley, hand torn into small pieces

 

Cooking instructions:

Spray a large skillet with olive oil spray.  Heat the skillet over medium/high heat.  Add the sirloin and sausage to the skillet and let it brown.  You want to break the meats apart so that the two are blended.  When the meats are thoroughly cooked (about 10 minutes), drain in a colander until ready to use.

In a medium stock pot, heat the olive oil over high heat.  Add the onion, bell pepper and celery and saute for about 2 minutes over the high heat.  Reduce the heat to medium/high and saute another 3 – 4 minutes or until the onions start to turn golden.  Add the garlic and continue to saute for another minute, stirring constantly so the garlic doesn’t burn.  Pour in the red wine. Let this go for about 30 – 40 seconds.  Add the browned sirloin and sausage along with the crushed tomatoes.  Just a note here about why I hand crush… So far I have not found a can of already crushed tomatoes that isn’t soupy.    Hand crushing only takes a few extra minutes and you actually get bits of chunky tomatoes in the sauce.  Just a warning though,  the tomatoes will “squirt” juice and seeds out all over the place so put the bowl of tomatoes down in the sink before you start crushing them.  I learned this the hard way!  Also, be sure and put them in a large enough bowl that will contain the tomatoes as well as the liquid you will get from crushing them. So, having said that, lets finish the spaghetti sauce.  Add 1- 28 ounce can of the reserved liquid from the tomatoes.  Add in the next 12 ingredients.  Get everything blended and bring the sauce to a slow boil.  Once it comes to a boil, reduce the heat to medium.  Toss in the bay leaves and the bouquet garni.  Give it a taste and see if you need to adjust any of the seasonings.  I usually add another bullion cube or two here.  Let the sauce simmer for 35- 40 minutes.  Stir it frequently.  The sauce should be somewhat thickened at this point.  Remove the bay leaves and the bouquet garni.  Serve the sauce over the spaghetti pasta and top with some freshly grated parmesan cheese and fresh parsley.  A simple garden salad and a big piece of garlic toast made with fresh french bread is all you need to complete a wonderful meal!!!

 Enjoy!!!