My husband was quite surprised when he came home for lunch Monday and found pizza, still hot from the oven, waiting for him on the dining room table.
I seldom cook lunch for us — we rely on sandwiches and leftovers — but I needed a food column recipe for this week, and I was hungry!
I realized last week that I had forgotten about a cookbook that had been sent my way in the fall during a rush of new books. It was actually a very good cookbook, and I had wanted to share it with my readers. I spent about an hour thumbing through the pages of "My Recipes: America’s Favorite Food” Friday and once again found so many things I wanted to try.
The 200 recipes in this cookbook are from some of the country’s top magazines, including Cooking Light, Southern Living and Real Simple.
Each recipe in this book has a review from someone who has tried the recipe, and some have tips as well. I love this feature because it reminds me of what I find so appealing with recipe websites.
There’s also an interactive feature with the books that allows you to scan the recipe photo with a smart phone for even more information. For instance, if you scan coconut shrimp with Maui mustard sauce, you will see a video on peeling and butterflying shrimp. Scan the recipe for black bean, corn and zucchini enchiladas for 14 more meatless main bean dishes.
I set aside time late Monday morning to cook and chose the white pizza from the cookbook. I’ve made white pizza before but not with a sauce like this one. The thick sauce, which I spread on a Boboli pizza crust, is made with ricotta, mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses. The toppings I chose were thinly sliced Roma tomatoes and basil. We had planted basil over the weekend, so I snipped a few leaves from my very small plants. I love fresh basil season and decided while the pizza was baking that I need more than two plants this season!
But back to the pizza. It took about 30 minutes to prepare this pizza and cook it. And it was 30 minutes very well spent. I knew I would love this pizza as soon as I got a whiff of the tomatoes, basil and oregano as the pizza cooked. It’s such a wonderful smell and made me so hungry.
Reggie and I gobbled down that pizza. We both liked the cheese sauce and loved the freshness of the tomatoes and basil.
I will make this pizza again soon because I only used half of the ricotta cheese I purchased. Next time we make it, I will add more basil and, at Reggie’s request, some fresh mushrooms and maybe bell pepper.
I highly recommend this recipe. It’s great for meatless meals, nights when you don’t have much time to cook, and for when the tomatoes start piling up in the garden.
There are any number of wonderful recipes like this one to explore in "America’s Favorite Food.” Others I would like to try include fresh tomato, sausage and pecorino pasta; broccoli beef lo mein; macaroni salad with bacon, peas and creamy dijon dressing; and peach and brie quesadillas with lime-honey dipping sauce.
The book’s list price is $24.95, but it sells for less on online sites.
- 1 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
- 1 cup (4 ounces) pre-shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
- 1/4 cup (1 ounce) grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
- 1 (1-pound) Italian cheese-flavored pizza crust (such as Boboli)
- 1 cup thinly sliced fresh basil
- 1/2 cup thinly sliced shallots*
- 1/2 cup finely chopped spinach
- 1/2 to 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 cup thinly sliced plum tomatoes
Combine the first 3 ingredients in a medium bowl. Spread cheese mixture over pizza crust, leaving a 1/2-inch border around the edge. Sprinkle with basil and next 6 ingredients (basil through garlic powder). Arrange plum tomato slices in a single layer on top. Place pizza on baking sheet. Bake at 425° for 10 minutes. Remove pizza to cutting board; cut into 6 slices.
"My Recipes: America's Favorite Food"
Originally from Cooking Light
*When I made the pizza, I omitted shallots, spinach, red pepper and garlic powder because I didn't have them on hand and didn't want to purchase anything else. I also used freshly grated parmesan cheese, which I already had. Next time, I will cut back on the black pepper.