Mar 7, 2011

Oh My... Itsa Pizza Pie!!

Pizza. One of America's all time favorite foods. We know it originated in the Mediterranean around Italy, but want to hear some cool historical facts about Pizza? Check out today for more recipes for dough, toppings and sauce!

Here are a just a few facts as taken from the history page:

  • The history of pizza goes back to the time of Virgil, who died in the first Century BC, but not before writing down a pizza recipe for posterity.

  • Around 1000 AD the word “picea” started to appear in historical records in Italy , it was a circle of dough and the topped with a variety of fillings then baked. The word pizza came into common usage at about the same time.

  • The pizza as we know it today began to originate in Naples; they were flavored with oil and garlic, cinciielli (a small fish), or anchovies, and mozzarella cheese.

  • Up to 1830 the pizzas were sold from Neapolitan market stalls. The first pizza restaurant was called Port' Alba. It had installed an oven fired by volcanic rock from Mount Vesuvius as these reach the high temperatures that help to make the best pizza.

  • The sixteenth century Bourbon queen Maria Carolina loved the tri colored green red and white pizza (the forerunner of the Margherita pizza) so much that she convinced her husband King Ferdinand IV to allow the pizzas to be made in the royal ovens. She had a problem because pizza as a food was associated very much with the peasants.

  • No history of pizza would be complete without the classic story of the pizza Margherita. Modern pizza history was made in 1889 when Queen Margherita Teresa Giovanni, the consort of Umberto I, visited Naples with her king. Don Raffaele Esposito, who owned Pietro Il Pizzaiolo, was asked to prepare a special dish in honour of the Queen's visit. Esposito consulted his wife who was the real pizza expert and together they developed a pizza featuring tomatoes, mozzarella cheese, and basil. He named it the Margherita Pizza, after the city's guest of honor.

Making pizza dough is pretty easy. Often, I will use my Kitchen-Aid mixer to mix a double batch of dough for me. The great thing about pizza dough is that it can be made up and refrigerated or frozen for later use. And since pizza is good for just about every meal, depending on how you top it, we go through a lot of pizza!!
Our Local Oceanside Restaurant's Recipe For Pizza Dough

With today's normal recipe of dough, I tossed in a Tbsp. of finely grated Parmesan cheese and 2 tsp. of Italian herbs. It adds extra flavor to the crust and makes it look so pretty!

Easy Peasy Pizza Dough

Remember, Pizza dough can be used for more than just Pizza! Today I'm trying a brand new recipe for Chicken Spinach Calzones taken from the Our Favorite Take-Out Recipe book by Gooseberry Patch and found HERE.

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cubed
1/2 c. onion, chopped
1 c. frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained (I used fresh)
2 t. dried basil
3/4 c. pizza sauce
1/2 c. ricotta cheese
3.ozs. mozzarella cheese, cubed
10 oz. tube refrigerated pizza dough (mine was homemade)

The Filling Ingredients

I went ahead and gave my chicken a little Italian flavoring as well with Italian herb seasoning. Yum Yum, it looks good already!

Grilled Chicken Tenders Chopped

Once you cook up the filling, it looks more like this.

The filling

Simply divide the dough into 2 pieces and roll each into a large circle. Fill with chicken and filling on one half of the circle being careful to leave a half inch border around the edge. Fold the dough over making a large half circle and press around the edges with a fork to seal. Brush with a little olive oil and sprinkle on a few more herbs and pop in a 400 degree oven for about 15 min.

Ready for the Oven

They turned out GREAT!! Huge, but great!

Yummy! The Finished Calzone

My husband and I split one in half and put one away for another meal this week. Use your imagination on what to put in the middle. Anything that tastes good on a Pizza will taste good in a Calzone. My other favorite filling is sausage, pepperoni, onion, green bell peppers, mushrooms and mozzarella cheese with just a bit of red sauce filling.

The Finished Calzone

This was absolutely delicious! So make up some dough today and make extras. They are a great Friday night, movie night meal at our house. When the weather turns a bit warmer, we'll make up this dough again and show you how we make pizza on the grill outside. It's SO good!!

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