Baked Potato Pizza

In my last post, I promised a pizza recipe, and here it is! I first had a baked potato pizza like this at Pizza Luce in Minneapolis, and I’ve loved the concept ever since. Gabe loves potatoes and I love bacon (and not spending all our money on takeout), so it’s a win-win-win in our household.

A crispy crust is slathered with sour cream and chives, then loaded up with potatoes, bacon, cheese, and green onions. Of course, you could add broccoli or whatever other baked potato fixings you prefer. Even chili would be pretty awesome! I microwave my potatoes to soften them up before baking, but you could also bake them in the oven first if you are better at planning ahead than I am. :) Either way, you’ll want to make this pizza soon!

Baked potato pizza

Baked Potato Pizza

  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1 Tbs. chopped chives
  • pinch of salt
  • 6 oz. red or fingerling potatoes
  • cornmeal, for sprinkling
  • 1 batch pizza dough
  • at least 2 oz. sharp cheddar or monterey jack cheese, finely grated (about 1/2 cup; add more if you prefer!)
  • 4-5 strips bacon, cooked and crumbled
  • green onions or additional chives for topping

With a pizza stone on the lowest oven rack, preheat oven as hot as you can. In small bowl, stir together sour cream, chives, and a pinch of salt. Set aside.

Pierce the potatoes all over with a fork and microwave on high for about 2 minutes, or until soft. Watch the potatoes very carefully while microwaving so they don’t explode! Set aside.

Sprinkle a pizza peel generously with cornmeal. Roll out pizza dough and transfer to the peel. Spread the sour cream mixture evenly all over the dough. Sprinkle with half the cheese.

Slice cooked potatoes and arrange in a single layer over the pizza dough. Sprinkle with bacon and cover the entire pizza with remaining cheese. Sprinkle with green onions or chives.

Slide the pizza onto the pizza stone and bake for 8-10 minutes, or until crust is lightly browned. Remove from oven and top with additional chives or green onions. Slice and serve immediately.

Makes one pizza.

Source: A Lingonberry Jam “original” inspired by Pizza Luce of Minneapolis.

Skillet Lasagna

One of the most freeing things about my evolution as a “food person” has been learning my likes and dislikes and adapting recipes accordingly. Sounds simple, right? But when I was first learning how to cook, I felt chained to a recipe. I assumed every dish was quadruple tested, its methods and ingredients absolute truth.

And then I met my college roommate, who insisted that you could cut the amount of sugar in every cookie recipe by half, or even substitute honey. (Heresy!) And then I met Gabriel, who alarmed me with his way of just throwing in salt and pepper as he tasted a dish, rather than measuring it out by the teaspoon.

Guess what? The food cooked up by those recipe-challengers was delicious! As I became more comfortable with my own cooking skills, I emulated Alex and Gabe and learned to approach recipes as starting points, not rigid contracts. And so it was with a big freaking smile on my face that I finally dumped out the jar of dried cilantro in my spice drawer a couple weeks ago. Because it turns out I don’t like cilantro.

I also can’t stand fennel seed, which is unfortunate, because the sausage I chose for this otherwise amazingly delicious recipe was rife with it. But now that I’m 100% sure of my distaste, I’ll be sure to choose the fennel-less sausage next time. Because I can.

Skillet lasagna

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Skillet Lasagna

  • 1 Tbs. olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
  • pinch crushed red pepper flakes
  • 3/4 tsp. dried Italian seasoning
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 lb. sweet Italian sausage, casings removed
  • 8 oz. dried pasta (I chose pasta that looked like broken-up lasagna pieces)
  • 42.5 oz. canned, crushed tomatoes (I used one 28-oz can and one 14.5-oz can)
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan
  • 3/4 cup ricotta
  • 6 oz. fresh mozzarella, chopped into bite-size pieces
  • 3 Tbs. chopped fresh basil

Heat olive oil in a large oven-safe skillet over medium heat. Add onion and cook, stirring, until onion is softened, about 5-7 minutes. Stir in garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1-2 minutes. Stir in  crushed red pepper flakes, italian seasoning, and a pinch of kosher salt and black pepper. Add sausage to the skillet and cook, stirring occasionally, until broken into pieces and no longer pink (3-5 minutes).

Stir in pasta and tomatoes. Cover and continue to cook on medium heat for about 15-20 minutes, or until pasta is al dente. Be sure to stir fairly frequently, otherwise the pasta will stick to the bottom of the pan.

Meanwhile, preheat broiler. When pasta is done, remove skillet from heat and stir in half the parmesan and ricotta. Adjust seasoning to taste. Sprinkle the pasta with the remaining parmesan and chunks of mozzarella, and dot with the remaining ricotta.

Place skillet under broiler and cook until the cheese starts to bubble and brown. Remove from oven, sprinkle with fresh basil, and serve.

Source: Slightly adapted from America’s Test Kitchen Pasta Revolution via Pink Parsley

Paglia e Fieno

This dish made me happy for a number of reasons. It has a whimsical name: paglia e fieno, which means “straw and hay” in Italian. It let me try my hand at making green(!) pasta for the first time, which was accomplished simply by mixing 1/4 cup of puréed arugula to my regular pasta recipe. It let me learn about the existence of gorgonzola dolce, a sweet and milder version of that lovable (albeit pungent) cheese. And finally, this dish thrilled me because within one bite, it had soared to the top of Gabe’s favorite recipe list.

As I was tasting the pasta and adjusting the final seasonings, I declared blissfully, “Oh! This is company food!” Of course, that prompted Gabe to ask concernedly, “Does that mean you sometimes serve me food you wouldn’t serve to company?”

Of course not, darling.

I always aspire to make delicious food, but there are those dishes that aim to impress, and this one is something special.

Paglia e fieno

Green and yellow pasta

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Paglia e Fieno

  • 2 Tbs. unsalted butter, divided
  • 4 oz. prosciutto, sliced into 1/2-inch strips
  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 4 oz. gorgonzola dolce, crumbled
  • 8-10 oz. fresh fettucine or tagliatelle*
  • 2 cups (about 8 oz.) frozen peas, thawed
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.

Melt 1 Tbs. butter in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add prosciutto and cook for 4-5 minutes, or until crisp. Remove from pan and let drain on a paper towel-covered plate. Heat remaining 1 Tbs. of butter in the same pan, and sauté onion for 5-6 minutes, or until soft. Stir in garlic and cook one minute. Add milk and gorgonzola and stir until the cheese has melted. Bring the sauce to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 5-7 minutes, or until sauce has thickened.

As soon as you reduce the sauce to a simmer, add the pasta to the boiling water and cook according to package instructions. Drain pasta and add to pan with thickened gorgonzola sauce. Stir in prosciutto, peas, parmesan, salt, and pepper, and serve.

Serves 6.

* The name of this dish derives from the colors of pasta traditionally used: green and yellow. Any type of noodle will work well here, but fresh is always best.

Source: Slightly adapted from Foolproof by Barefoot Contessa.

Nutrition facts (per serving): 390 calories, 17.5 g fat, 37.8 g carbs, 2.8 g fiber, 20.1 g protein.