Sunday, January 29, 2012

Eggplant Parmigiana

Copyright 2012 LtDan'sKitchen blogs
This vegetarian Italian dish is something I created after talking to an Italian-American colleague of mine while in graduate school in Florida. He described the dish to me in detail that it was not hard to figure out a good recipe to recreate this wonderful and healthy dish. I have made this various ways but I have finally managed to cook this without using a lot of oil. I also did away with his preference of using various thickness of eggplant slices and settled on a uniform thickness which makes it easier to layer them. After cooking this with my invented recipe, I was glad to realize that Sophia Loren's recipe of the dish is fairly similar to mine except that she uses slices of fresh Mozarella cheese while I preferred the grated kind. For this version though, I'll be using slices of fresh Mozarella in combination with grated Grana Padano. 

Eggplant Parmigiana

Copyright 2012 LtDan'sKitchen blogs
4 medium eggplants
2-3 garlic cloves, minced
4 tbsp olive oil + extra if 
45 oz canned diced 
6 oz tomato paste
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried basil
2 tbsp fresh parsley, 
salt and pepper
1 lb fresh Mozarella, sliced 
2 cups grated Grana Padano or Pamigiano Reggiano

1. In a large pot, heat half the olive oil over medium heat. Saute the garlic 
    and cook until softened and slightly browned. 

2. Add the dried herbs and saute for a minute. Add the diced tomatoes and 
    tomato paste and bring to a boil. Season with salt and pepper and simmer 
    covered over low heat for 30 minutes.

3. Preheat oven to 350°F. Trim the ends of the eggplants and slice them into 
    1/4 inch thick slices. Drizzle or brush the rest of the olive oil on the 
    eggplant slices and season with salt and pepper on both sides. You may 
    need to use more oil. Bake on a baking sheet lined with parchment 
    paper until browned and soft. Let cool. 

4. Check the sauce for flavor and turn off the heat. Let cool slightly. In a 
    9x13 baking dish, spoon and spread about 1 cup of tomato sauce. Layer 
    the eggplants and fill in the gaps. Spoon enough of the tomato sauce 
    over the eggplants until evenly covered. Layer thin slices of the 
    Mozarella cheese and sprinkle in half the Grana Padano. Repeat the 
    process until you end up with two layers. Sprinkle the parsley over the 
    cheese layer.

5. Bake in a preheated oven at 350°F for about 30 minutes or until bubbly. 
    Let cool for about 5 minutes before slicing.

Insalata Ricca (A Luxurious Salad)

Copyright 2012 LtDan'sKitchen blogs
I'm making this salad from Sophia Loren and is called as such due to the amount of ingredients needed. To make up this starter dish, I have to say tuna is not my first choice in terms of a major ingredient for a vegetable salad but it works in this case. Don't get me wrong, I love tuna, both canned and fresh, but bacon might be the most common meat component of most salads. Anyway, I hope you give this salad a try. Not only is it healthy, it is also delicious. It is actually best if served a bit warm which is perfect for this winter season.

Luxurious Salad - Adapted*

Copyright 2012 LtDan'sKitchen blogs
5 medium potatoes,
1 red and 1 yellow peppers
10 green onions, sliced
12 oz canned tuna, in oil
4 tomatoes, quartered
4 eggs, hard-boiled
3/4 lb blanched green
2 cup black olives, pitted
   and canned
1 tbsp parsley, chopped
1/4 cup walnuts or pecans,

1/3 cup olive oil
1 tsp mustard, stone ground
2-3 tbsp red wine vinegar
salt and pepper
1 tsp dried herbs (thyme, oregano and basil)
4 oz anchovies, chopped finely (optional)

1. Combine the ingredients for the dressing and season with salt and pepper.
    Set aside.

2. Peel and slice the potatoes into quarters and place in a large bowl.
    Remove the ribs and stalks of the peppers and slice into strips. Add to the
    bowl with potatoes.

3. Trim the green onions on both ends and cut into 1-inch lengths. Do the
    same for the blanched green beans. Cut the eggs into quarters. Add all
    three into the bowl.

4. Add the tuna and the rest of the salad ingredients and drizzle with the
    dressing. Toss until the salad is evenly coated. Check for flavor and
    correct with salt and pepper. Serve immediately.

Loren, S., Sophia Loren's Memories and Recipe's, GT Publishing, New York: 1998.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Pecan Pie II

Copyright 2012 LtDan'sKitchen blogs
After my first attempt of making pecan pie, I've finally come to terms that it was not very good. Okay, but not very good. It was when I was looking for something to bake this weekend that I came across  a recipe of pecan pie that I decided I better give it another go. This time however, I plan to go simple and not overthink the recipe which was probably why my last recipe did now work as well. For this version, I'm using a basic pie crust recipe and a simple filling recipe which I hope will impress when put together.

Copyright 2012 LtDan'sKitchen blogs
The pie crust is derived from the Joy of Baking website and is the other half of the crust I used to make the Egg Custard Pie. For this pie however, I pricked the pie crust with the fork tines to ensure even baking. Another trick I used was to bake the pie in the lowest part of the oven. It saves you time from pre-baking the crust which is really a time saver.The filling components are fairly common for most filling recipes I've seen for this pie so they were what I decided to use. I did take the time to melt the sugar and the corn syrup with the butter as this tends to give the filling more density once baked.

Pecan Pie II

Copyright 2012 LtDan'sKitchen blogs
1 cup light brown sugar
2/3 cup dark corn syrup
4 tbsp unsalted butter
1 tsp vanilla
2 tbsp whiskey
3 eggs
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup pecan halves, toasted
1 9-inch pie crust

1. Toast the pecans over
    low heat in a large
    skillet until aromatic.
    Make sure you do not burn the nuts. Set aside and cool.

2. In a small sauce pot, melt the butter with the sugar and corn syrup over
    medium heat. Once boiling, add the whiskey and vanilla. Whisk until well
    mixed. Let cool until just warm. Preheat the oven to 350°F.

3. Add the eggs and salt into the filling mixture and whisk until smooth.
    Pour most of the filling into the prepared pie crust. Add the reserved
    pecans into the remaining filling mix and combine until the nuts are
    coated evenly.

4. Using a fork or your fingers, arrange the pecans in a concentric pattern
    over the pie filling. Drizzle the remaining pie filling over the nuts.

5. Bake in the oven for 45 minutes on the lowest part of the oven. Make
    sure that the pie plate is on top of a baking sheet to prevent overheating.
    Let cool completely. Chill in the fridge to make it easier to cut into slices.

Croquette di Patate (Potato Croquettes)

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If you are like me and buy tons of potatoes since they are cheaper when bought in 5-lb bags, then you also have the problem of what to do with them before they start sprouting leaves. After making soup last week with potatoes, I'm now trying to get rid of 4 lbs of potatoes without having to resort to making fries or an au gratin. A slightly interesting twist is to make croquettes, which is if you think about it, a cross between fries and mashed potato.

Copyright 2012 LtDan'sKitchen blogs
The recipe is from Sophia Loren and is very simple but I can assure you, quite tasty. It does require frying but it does not take long to fry these gems to a golden brown crisp. This will make a wonderful side to a steak or any meat dish although at this time, I'm going to savor it just the way it is. A condiment made from ketchup and mayonnaise is something I suggest you should try it with. Caramelized onions or sauteed mushrooms are also good accompaniments to this dish. 

Croquette di Patate - Adapted*

2 lb potatoes
1 tbsp unsalted butter
4 large eggs
4 tbsp flour + extra for dredging
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
2 cup Italian bread crumbs
canola oil for frying

1. Wash and place the potatoes in a deep pot covered with cold water. Bring 
    to a boil and cook until soft. Drain and peel and pass through a potato 

2. Add the butter into the hot potato and mix well. Add the 3 eggs one at a 
    time until incorporated. Season with enough salt and the nutmeg. Add the 
    flour and mix well. Let cool slightly. 

3. Add 2 tbsp of water to the remaining egg and whisk. Prepare about 1 cup 
    of flour on one deep dish and in another dish, the bread crumbs. Once 
    cool to handle, take 1/4 cup portions of the potato mixture and dredge 
    with flour. It will be soft so be patient with it. Once floured, transfer to 
    the bowl with the egg wash and do the final dredging with the bread 

4. Fry in a preheated oil in a frying pan over medium heat. Cook until golden 
    brown on both sides. 

5. Serve warm with your choice of condiments or main meat dish.

*Loren, S., Sophia Loren's Memories and Recipes, GT Publishing, New York:1998

Egg Custard Pie

Copyright 2012 LtDan'sKitchen blogs
A childhood favorite, I've been trying for some time now to find the right time to make it. I used to buy it by the slice or more accurately, I used to have my Mom buy it for me. It was definitely a special treat for me and yet looking back, it was really just an ordinary pie. It does show how those times were a lot simpler and how simple things meant so much more which is why I'm quite nostalgic when I make this pie. What is funny and coincidental is that one of my favorite British comedy shows, As Time Goes By, talks about custard tarts all the time which is mini-version of the egg pie. It was Lionel's (one of the main characters) favorite snack which makes me love his character even more, not that there is any reason not to love them. I'm not making the tart version though, of which, I yet have to find a good recipe. Instead, I'm making the regular-sized pie in a 9-inch pie pan.

Copyright 2012 LtDan'sKitchen blogs
My version is really a combination of my milk flan and a basic pie crust recipe. I'm using the same custard mix when I make my flan with the addition of nutmeg and the pie is baked until the filling is just set. This is to ensure that the custard is not overcooked. Also, once cooled, the custard does firm up and sets beautifully so you have to be patient before cutting into your egg pie. If you don't have a pie crust on hand, grab those frozen pre-made ones and make sure that you thaw them before filling them with the custard mix. I usually prick my pie crust with fork prior to filling but not this time. The custard filling is fairly wet so I don't want them leaking out of the crust prior to baking. As I've said before, I'm not too proud to admit that I do enjoy the convenience of store-bought pie crusts every now and then.

Egg Custard Pie

6 egg yolks
2 whole eggs
1 can condensed milk
1 can evaporated milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/8 tsp nutmeg

Basic Pie Crust:

2 1/2 cup flour
1 cup unsalted butter, diced into small pieces
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp white sugar
1/4 cup ice water

1. In a bowl, add the flour, salt and sugar and mix well at low speed with
    the paddle attachment of your mixer.

2.  Add the butter and at low speed, mix until coarse crumbs are formed.
     Switch the paddle attachment with the dough hook and at low speed,
     drizzle in the water until the dough comes together.

3. Take the dough and divide in two and wrap each half with clingfilm and
    let rest in the fridge for at least 30 minutes. If not using right away, you
    can freeze the dough at this point.

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4. Once the dough has
    rested, unwrap it and
    on a floured surface,
    roll the dough into a
    10-inch circle using a
    floured rolling pin.
    Once you've achieved
    the right size, drape
    the dough loosely on
    the pin and transfer
    onto a 9-inch pie plate.
    Work the dough into the
    pan and tuck the edges
    under. Flute the edges
    using your fingers. Allow the dough to chill in the fridge for another
    10 minutes. Preheat the oven to 350°F.

5.  Combine all the filling ingredients and when ready to fill the pie, pour the
     filling onto the prepared crust by passing it through a sieve.

6. Bake at 350°F for 10 minutes on the lowest rack of your oven. Lower the
    oven temperature to 325°F and bake for another 35 minutes or until
    almost set. Allow to cool completely before cutting.

Keep an eye on the pie after baking it on step 6. If still very watery, bake for another 10 minutes but check regularly to ensure that it does not bubble which can happen as it did with mine. When it starts to puff or starts to show signs of puffing, pull it out of the oven right away since the residual heat will cook it to the right consistency.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Sinigang (Pork in Sour Broth)

Copyright 2012 LtDan'sKitchen blogs
This dish is very different from what I ate growing up in the city of Smiles. The region where my parents lived is known for its sweet delicacies and the regional food was influenced as well for this reason. My Dad though likes to have something soupy every time we have a meal be it for breakfast or dinner but that is the kind of food he loved growing up. My generation is a bit different since I never really loved soupy dishes until I was a bit older so there was a bit of a gap until eventually I learned to love them. 

Sinigang is a dish from the northern part of the country and is quite unusual in that the broth is flavored with tamarind or ripe guavas to give it this distinctive sour flavor. Now, we do use tamarind to season a fish stew to achieve a puckering sour flavor but very rarely use it in broths. Having lived in Manila most of my adult life, I learned to love this dish since my good friends who kind of took me in loves to make this dish. Mind you, they really want it sour. I tried making this dish whenever I had the chance to visit my folks and my Mom loved it. Not really sure about my Dad but he must have loved it too since he eats quite a bit of it now whenever I make this at home. 

L-R: Taro, Green Beans, Eggplant, Baby Bok Choy
Tamarind Pods and Anaheim Peppers
Copyright 2012 LtDan’sKitchen blogs
Here in Bozeman, I'm lucky to realize that they sell tamarind in one of the stores where they sell a lot of Mexican ingredients. It cost me an arm and a leg, though I cannot really complain since it is a rare treat for me. I have to admit that I have not made this for quite some time now and when I did, I would use the ready-made packet which is a bit of a cheat but you have to make do with what is available. However, most folks back home do use the flavored packets as well so I should not feel like I took the easy route. So the next time you see a tamarind, you may just want to grab a few and try this pork dish which will surely surprise you with how good it tastes. One other thing, the vegetables you can use range from eggplants, green beans, bok choy, taro, spinach, and radishes. You can usually go up to three or even four of your favorite veggies in any combination that is pleasing to your palate. Just make the necessary adjustments to make sure that they are cooked through but not overcooked and mushy.

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The ideal cut for the pork used in this dish is the pork butt but it is also good to combine it with pork neck bones to impart a rich flavor to the broth. I actually made this in tandem with a version using shrimps and there is a bit of a deviation from the cooking procedure in that you add the shrimp last to avoid overcooking them. You also omit the Anaheim peppers and add slices of Roma tomatoes prior to serving. I do have to own up to the fact that for the shrimp version, I had to add two tablespoons of the flavored packet since the shrimps sold here are usually peeled so there is hardly any shrimp flavor imparted to the broth. 

Sinigang (Pork in Sour Broth)

4 lbs pork butt, cut in large pieces
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 onion, diced
2 tbsp olive oil
1 Anaheim pepper
1/4 lb green beans, ends trimmed
1 lb taro, peeled and halved
1 large eggplant, sliced into eighths
4 baby bok choy, ends removed
5-6 ripe tamarind pods
salt and pepper
6-8 cups water
2 tbsp fish sauce (optional)

1. In a large pot, heat the oil over medium heat and saute the garlic and
    onions. Season with salt and pepper and cook until softened.

2. Add the pork and cook until browned on all sides. Season with salt and
    pepper. Add 8 cups of water and bring to a boil. Add the tamarind and
    simmer covered for about 30 minutes over low heat. Check if any foamy
    crud is formed while the pork is cooking. If it does, just skim it using a
    ladle and discard.

3. Pick out the softened tamarind and transfer to a glass bowl. Add one cup
    of broth and mash the tamarind. Return the mixture to the pot by passing
    through a sieve. Repeat macerating the tamarind with more broth as
    necessary. Add the Anaheim pepper and taro and simmer for another 30
    minutes. Check for flavor and add the fish sauce if using or just use salt to
    adjust the flavor. There should be a good balance between sour and salty. 

4. Add the eggplants and simmer until almost tender. Add the bok choy and
    the green beans and simmer until just cooked and heated through. Check
    the flavor one last time and make the necessary adjustments. Serve with
    a bowl of steamed rice.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Fagioli con Prosciutto (Beans with Ham)

Copyright 2012 LtDan'sKitchen blogs
This soup recipe is another favorite from Sophia Loren's cookbook and is something I modified just a tad due to what was available in my pantry and fridge. The original recipe calls for a pound of "cotiche" or pork rind and ham bones to flavor the soup but all I had was ham so I substituted the rind for ham and did away with the ham bone. If you do have any ham bones lying around in your freezer, I say use it.This recipe is a poor man's dish but is a favorite of the great Italian actor Marcello Mastroianni, a good friend and colleague of Sophia. The recipe is definitely simple and so is the taste but the satisfaction you get from this soup is definitely something that will make you feel good this cold winter's day. 

If you are using cotiche, you may have to clean it by burning the bristles over an open flame. Once cleaned, you will need to cook it in boiling water for two minutes. Once drained, you rinse the cotiche in cold water and wipe it dry before dicing into smaller pieces. 

Fagioli con Prosciutto - Adapted*

1 lb cotiche or ham, diced
salt and pepper
2 lb canned cannellini or Great Northern beans
cooked ham bone (optional)
1 tsp dried rosemary
1 tbsp lard
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 onion, minced
2 tbsp fresh basil, minced
2 tbsp parsley, minced
2 lbs canned whole peeled tomatoes, diced

1. In a large pot, heat the lard over medium heat. Add the ham until slightly 
    browned. Add the onions and garlic and cook until softened. Season with 
    salt and pepper. Add the rosemary and cook for another minute. 

2. Add 3 cups of water and bring to a boil. Add the tomatoes and season 
    with salt. Simmer over low heat for about 30 minutes. 

3. Add the beans and simmer until heated through. Check for flavor and add 
    the basil and parsley prior to serving.

*Loren, S., Sophia Loren's Recipes and Memories, GT Publishing, New York: 1998.

Linguini con Pesto Genovese

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This dish came up because of my desire to figure out what else to do with extra basil leaves. They are quite pricey and they don't last very long. I can make more pesto sauce but I also have an extra jar in the fridge that I made earlier and I'm out of pine nuts. It was then that reading through Sophia Loren's cookbook, which seems to be my favorite this weekend, did I come along a recipe for Pesto Genovese. I know, it is still pesto but it does help me use up the remaining basil leaves that I have without having to throw them out. 

Copyright 2012 LtDan'sKitchen blogs
What is unusual about this pesto sauce is the absence of nuts. I'm not sure in terms of culinary history how this came about but I trust an Italian when she says, just use basil and two kinds of cheeses and you are set. It is more of a pistou which originated from the Provence area while the traditional pesto is from the city of Genoa in the Liguria region. The traditional pasta for this dish is the trenette which are thin, long and flat pasta although a linguini can be used as a substitute. 

Linguini con Pesto Genovese - Adapted*

3 garlic cloves, peeled
3 cups fresh basil leaves
3 tbsp grated parmesan cheese
3 tbsp grated Pecorino Romano cheese
1/2 cup olive oil
1 lb linguini pasta

1. Place all the ingredients for the pesto in a food processor except for the 
    salt. Process to a coarse paste. Season with salt. Transfer to a small jar 
    and protect with a layer of olive oil. Set aside.

2. Cook the pasta according to packet instructions until al dente. Drain in a 
    large bowl and keep a little bit of the pasta water on the side. Dress with 
    the pesto sauce and mix well. If a bit dry, add a little bit of the pasta 
    water until the pasta is dressed evenly. 

3. Serve immediately. 

*Loren,S., Sophia Loren's Recipes and Memories, GT Publishing, New York: 1998.

Pilgrim's Paella

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I have a long history with Paella and not in a good way. I first tasted this dish when I was a chemistry instructor while having dinner at the house of one of the Professors. She was like a mother to us junior faculty members and will feed us every now and then knowing we lived off cooked food from the cafeteria. Unfortunately, she doesn't share her recipes so that was a bummer for me. She also made a killer Leche Flan but then again, her recipe was off limits to recipe snoops like me. The flan, that is of no concern to me now. The paella however is one thing that I always wondered about.

As a graduate student in Florida, I did dare make a version of paella using a recipe I found in one of my bargain hunt finds, a recipe compilation of signature dishes of Country Inns all over America. Well, that was a disaster since I tried to cheat my way around it by cooking the rice separately with the brilliant plan of mixing it later on to the cooked meat components. That was how I imagined it should be done. Now, it is common knowledge that Florida is very hot during the summer but even with the A/C running, the kitchen overheated and the rice cooker malfunctioned and cooked the rice raw. That stumped me and I ended up with gritty rice which I had to scrap away and ended up with paella that barely had any rice to it. 10 years have gone and I still have not dared to give this recipe another try until now. Valenciana, which is my Mom's favorite holiday dish was served for the New Year's eve celebration in Illinois at my cousin's friend's house so it got me to thinking that maybe, it is time. Valenciana is referred to as a poor man's paella but I want some redemption first so I'm going with paella and maybe later, Valenciana.

This is by no means an authentic paella dish that came from Spain. It is definitely a derivative since Spanish paella is very particular in terms of what goes into the dish. This usually depends on what region of Spain you are talking about. Versions of the dish are the Valencian, the Seafood paella and the mixed kind. My version, adapted from the Pilgrim's Inn paella recipe at Deer Isle, Maine, falls into the last category which is more relaxed in terms of the cooking method and the ingredients that is used. This will give me free license to adjust the ingredients as I see fit although the recipe needs very little changes to it. 

Pilgrim's Paella - Adapted*  

3 cups short grain rice (Sushi, Bomba or Arborio rice)
3-4 bacon slices, diced
1/2 lb chorizo, cut in halves
2 lb chicken thighs, skinned
2 lb pork, cut in large chunks
1/2 lb shrimp, deveined
1 lb clams and mussels
2-3 garlic cloves
1 onion, diced
1 cup red bell pepper, diced
1 cup small black olives
1 tbsp mustard, stone ground
2 bay leaves
1/2 tsp oregano
pinch of saffron
1 tbsp safflower flowers
1/4 tsp thyme
1/8 tsp coriander
salt and pepper
2 tbsp olive oil + more as needed
1/2 cup white wine or sherry
4 cups chicken broth
1 1/2 tsp lemon juice
2 tomatoes, diced
10 oz frozen peas
lemon wedges, chopped parsley, and hard-boiled eggs for garnish

1. Render the bacon fat in a deep pot over medium heat. Once slightly
    browned, spoon out and set aside. Brown the chicken on both sides in
    the bacon fat and season with salt and pepper. Remove chicken and
    set aside. Add more oil if necessary while browning.

2. In the same pot, brown the pork pieces and season with salt and
    pepper. Remove from the pot and set aside. Fry the chorizo until
    browned. Remove from the pot and set aside.

3. Add the garlic and onion and saute until softened. Add the saffron,
    coriander, safflower, thyme, oregano and bay leaves and cook for about
    a minute or until aromatic. Add 1 cup of the broth and the sherry and
    bring to a boil. Add the clams and mussels and cook until they open.
    Remove immediately and set aside.

4. Add the mustard and return the chicken, pork and bacon into the pot
    and add the rest of the broth. Bring to a boil and let simmer on low
    heat until the meats are tender. If the chicken is cooked earlier
    than the pork, take out of the pot to avoid overcooking. When the
    pork is cooked, remove from the pot and set aside. Add the
    tomatoes and check for flavor and adjust accordingly.

5. Add the rice and cook at medium heat until the liquid has just
    evaporated. Return the chicken, chorizo and the pork and mix well.
    Add the red bell pepper, olives and the frozen peas and cover the
    pot. Reduce the heat to low until the rice is cooked.

6. While the rice is cooking, marinate the shrimp in the lemon juice
    and the olive oil. When the rice is cooked, add the shrimp with the
    clams and mussels and arrange on the pot evenly. Cover the pot until
    the shrimps are cooked.

7. To serve, arrange wedges of lemon and eggs on the edge of the pot
    and sprinkle with chopped parsley.

Copyright 2012 LtDan'sKitchen blogs
I came across this issue and it might be a problem for you too. On step 5, adding back the meats to the rice resulted to a much bigger volume of food that would not fit in the pot. I ended up transferring everything into my roasting pan and sealing it tightly with foil before baking at 295°F until the rice is cooked. This took about 40 to 50 minutes. Once the rice was cooked, proceed as above.  

* Cole, N.M.; Cummins, M.J.: Editors, America's Country Inn Cookbook, R.T. French Company, New York: 1984.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Classic Neapolitana Pizza

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Now, I love pizza but I don't eat a lot of it due to my diet restrictions so every now and then, I'll eat a slice or two but I never go past two slices.  So now, you may ask, "Why in hell are you featuring a pizza recipe then?" My answer is simple. We had people over who wanted us to host a pizza party and so we did. My part was to make the sauce (ragu and pesto) and by default although not requested, a salad and dessert. This then inspired me to make my own version of pizza from the dough to the sauce and to decide on what toppings I wanted for it.

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Now, when it comes to toppings, there is nothing more that I want than two simple ingredients: basil and Mozzarella. In short, I am craving for Neapolitana Pizza. The good news, there is a recipe in my Sophia Loren cookbook. And really, who better other than the great La Loren to teach me how to make pizza. The dough recipe makes one large pizza while the sauce is enough to top one pizza and a little bit extra enough to be used in a pasta dish.One other thing, the recipe for the ragu does not indicate sugar but if you ever feel that the sauce is a bit too sour, balance it out with white sugar.

Classic Neapolitana Pizza - Adapted*

2 1/4 tsp dry yeast
1 1/2 cup flour
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup lukewarm water

Tomato Ragu:
Copyright 2012 LtDan'sKitchen blogs
2 lbs tomatoes, canned 
   whole and peeled
4 tbsp olive oil
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp oregano
salt and pepper
white sugar (optional)

Mozzarella slices
Basil leaves

1. In a small bowl, 
    activate the yeast with the lukewarm water (110-115°F). 
    Set aside until frothy. In another bowl, add the flour with the 
    salt and make a well in the center. Add the yeast and with a 
    fork, incorporate the dry ingredients into the yeast mixture. 
    Add a little bit of water to hold the dough together if necessary. 

2. In a floured surface or a bowl of your mixer with the dough hook,  
    knead the dough until soft and pliable. Shape into a dome and  
    with a sharp knife, make two slits at the top. Return to the bowl and  
    cover. Set in a warm draft-free area until doubled in size. 

3. With the dough rising, heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat.  
    Add the garlic and saute until slightly browned. Add the diced  
    tomatoes with the juices and season with salt and pepper. Bring to a  
    boil and simmer covered over low heat for about 15 minutes. 

4. Uncover the pot and continue to simmer for another 30 minutes or  
    until the sauce is thick. Check for flavor.

5. When the dough has risen to twice its size, punch it down and turn it  
    into a floured work surface. Let dough rest for 5 minutes. Using a 
    rolling pin, roll the dough into a 10 to 12 inch circle. Transfer the 
    dough into a baking pan dusted with corn meal. 

6. Cover the dough with the ragu and top with slices of fresh Mozzarella 
    and basil leaves. Bake the pizza for 10 to 15 minutes in an oven 
    preheated to 500°F. 

7. Remove the pizza and cut into serving pieces. 

*Loren, S., Sophia Loren's Recipes and Memories, GT Publishing, New York: 1998.