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Pizza with Fontina, Potatoes, and Tapenade

Pizza with Fontina, Potatoes, and Tapenade



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8 first-course or 4 main-course Servings

A French take on pizza, featuring tapenade, sliced Yukon Gold potatoes, and red pepper, as well as real imported Fontina.

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup warm water (105°F to 115°F)
  • 1 1/4-ounce package active dry yeast (2 1/4 teaspoons)
  • 6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 large garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 4 baby Yukon Gold potatoes
  • Cornmeal (for sprinkling)
  • 1/3 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • 1 1/2 cups (6 ounces) coarsely grated Italian Fontina cheese (such as Fontina d'Aosta)
  • 1 roasted red bell pepper in brine from jar, diced (1/3 cup)
  • 3 tablespoons purchased black olive tapenade*
  • 2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh rosemary

Recipe Preparation

  • Stir warm water and yeast in small bowl. Let stand 5 minutes to dissolve. Stir in 2 tablespoons oil.

  • Mix flour and 1 teaspoon salt in processor. With machine running, add yeast mixture, then 1/2 cup cold water; process until dough forms ball on top of blade. Process 45 seconds. Transfer dough to lightly floured surface. Knead until smooth, 1 to 2 minutes. Pour 1 tablespoon oil into medium bowl. Add dough to bowl; turn to coat. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in warm draft-free area until doubled in volume, about 1 hour 15 minutes.

  • Meanwhile, heat remaining 3 tablespoons oil and garlic in small saucepan over low heat until mixture begins to bubble, 1 to 2 minutes. Set garlic oil aside. Place potatoes in medium saucepan. Add enough cold water to cover. Sprinkle with salt. Cover and bring to boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium and boil with lid slightly ajar until almost tender, about 12 minutes. Drain; let stand until cool.

  • Place pizza stone or baking sheet (if using rimmed sheet, turn upside down) in oven. Preheat oven to 450°F. Transfer dough to work surface. Roll, pat, and stretch dough to 12- to 14-inch round. Sprinkle pizza peel or another baking sheet (if using rimmed sheet, turn upside down) with cornmeal. Transfer dough round to prepared peel. Cover with plastic and let rest 10 minutes.

  • Using thin knife, cut potatoes into 1/8-inch-thick slices. Sprinkle dough with Parmigiano-Reggiano and Fontina, leaving 1-inch plain border around edge. Arrange potato slices over cheese, then brush potatoes with garlic oil. Sprinkle roasted red peppers over pizza. Spoon heaping 1/4-teaspoon dollops tapenade over. Brush dough border with garlic oil.

  • Slide pizza from peel to pizza stone or baking sheet in oven. Bake until bottom of crust is golden brown and cheese is melted, 15 to 20 minutes. Using peel, transfer pizza to cutting board. Drizzle any remaining garlic oil over pizza. Sprinkle with chopped rosemary, crushed red pepper, and salt. Cut into wedges and serve.

  • *A thick paste or spread made from brine-cured olives, capers, anchovies, and seasonings; available at some supermarkets and at specialty foods stores and Italian markets.

  • Is the pizza dough shrinking back up when you're trying to roll it out? Let the dough rest at room temperature for 15 to 20 minutes. (This will allow the gluten to relax.)

Reviews Section

Recipes from A Dinner Journal

Empty one 28oz. can of San Marzano tomatoes, including juice, into a Cuisinart and cuise till they become a chunky puree. Peel and crush 4 fat garlic cloves. Clean and remove leaves from 4 stems Greek oregano (one iteration of this recipe says this is about 1/2 cup of leaves). I tried to exclude the tough little stems as much as possible. Tear up (excluding stems as much as possible) about 40 medium (3″) leaves of basil. Heat the garlic in 1/4 cup olive oil for about 2 minutes, till golden, then add the tomatoes, herbs, 1/2 tsp sugar, and 3/4 tsp salt. Cook “40 minutes” or till down to about 2 cups in volume. I used 1/2 cup of this on the pizza, and froze 3 more 1/2 cup portions for future pizzas. We really liked the sauce this time.”

This 1/2 cup was used on a pizza with Patricia Wells’ quick ww/white crust on 14 June 2015 (linked above). I think I often use more like 1/3 cup.


We’d been sorta planning this dinner for quite awhile, to use up two broccoli stems. Then our friends R&L dropped off a huge bunch of broccoli when leaving for a trip. That was something like the *th of December. By &hellip Continue reading &rarr

I decided on this pizza in order to use more of the cilantro we recently bought for… something… oh! the TG capon rub and/or the dino kale recipe. I searched the blog (i.e. bloggled – I hereby claim this word) &hellip Continue reading &rarr


Pizza with Fontina, Potatoes, and Tapenade - Recipes

You&aposll have some tomato jam leftover, which is a good thing. It&aposs delicious on tender-crisp green beans, a bagel with cream cheese, garlic-rubbed bruschetta, savory cheese tarts, even grilled meats and fish. It&aposs so versatile, you might want to make a double batch and can or freeze the rest. Serve this with a big green salad.

2 cups peeled, crushed tomatoes (about 1 pound fresh tomatoes)

1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

2 tablespoons sherry vinegar

8 slices fine-textured artisan bread (such as como)

2 cups arugula or watercress

8 ounces fontina or firm goat cheese (such as tomme), thinly sliced

6 tablespoons black olive tapenade

To make tomato jam: Combine tomatoes, sugar, thyme, salt, pepper and sherry vinegar in a medium saucepan set over medium-high heat. Bring to a simmer and cook, stirring frequently, until mixture is thick and can mound up on a spoon, about 20 minutes (or 10 minutes if using canned tomatoes). Jam can be made ahead and stored in the refrigerator for up to three months. Makes about 1 cup.

To store at room temperature indefinitely, place hot jam into clean jar, leaving 1/4-inch head space. Wipe jar rim with a clean, damp cloth. Attach lid. Process in a boiling-water canner for 20 minutes (25 minutes at 1,000 to 6,000 feet 30 minutes above 6,000 feet).

To make panini: Arrange the bread slices on a work surface and spread each with about 1 1/2 teaspoons butter. Turn slices over and spread four of them with about 3 tablespoons tomato jam each and top with about 1/2 cup arugula leaves set aside. Divide the cheese among each of the remaining 4 slices of bread. Dot each with about 1 1/2 tablespoons tapenade. Put the halves together.

Set a grill pan or sauté pan over medium heat for several minutes until hot. Place sandwiches on the preheated pan (you may have to cook the sandwiches in batches). Place another pan on top of the sandwiches, weight it with a few heavy cans, and cook until toasted on one side, about 1 to 2 minutes. Turn the sandwiches over and repeat on the other side, another 1 to 2 minutes. Cut in half diagonally and serve.


Cozy cold weather pizza toppings

One of the bright spots of life, in our humble opinion, is pizza. And lately when we say pizza, we specifically mean our 2020 Recipe of the Year: Crispy Cheesy Pan Pizza.

We’ve been talking about it for months — showing you saucing tips, the best cheese to use, how to make it gluten-free, and even ways to turn it into dessert. We previously shared a number of delicious seasonal variations to take you from January through summer now that we’re in the depths of autumn, heading toward winter, we’re showing you three more ways to adapt the recipe to a different season.

The original recipe features classic pizza toppings: mozzarella and tomato sauce. It also includes guidance on how to finish the pizza with herbs or hard cheeses like Parmesan, but nothing more.

And that’s where the fun begins!

One of the reasons why we chose this particular recipe as our Recipe of the Year is how easy it is to customize.

Crispy Cheesy Pan Pizza is a fantastic canvas for all sorts of ingredients — you can make it your own in so many ways.

You can vary the cheese. You can add vegetables or fruit. You can switch up the sauce. Think Alfredo! Pesto! Romesco! Barbecue sauce! Tapenade! You could cover it with olives or caramelized onions or pepperoni.

As the weather shifts, we embrace a new slew of ingredients: winter squashes and apples and potatoes and cabbage. And since pizza is such a cozy, substantial dinner — ideal for comforting meals on dark nights — we have three delicious versions to make the most of winter produce. Try them all and find your favorite!

October: Delicata squash, spinach, and roasted red pepper

Don’t think for a moment that squash doesn’t belong on pizza — it definitely does. This seasonal spin was dreamed up by food stylist and photographer Liz Neily to celebrate the bounty of fall flavors. Whenever you're roasting some fall vegetables, set aside a cup or so to add to your next pizza. (Future you says thanks!) Here, delicata squash is used for its sweet flavor and tender, edible skin.

To make it: Clean a delicata squash and cut it in half. Remove the seeds from the interior and compost. Slice each half in 1/4"- to 1/2"-thick pieces. Toss with olive oil, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Roast the squash in a 450°F oven for 10 to 15 minutes, until cooked and lightly caramelized.

Sauté 1 cup (28g) fresh spinach in 2 tablespoons (28g) butter. Add a clove of chopped garlic and cook until the spinach is wilted.

Top the pizza dough with dollops of roasted red pepper sauce (store-bought or make your own) on top of your cheese of choice. Don’t forget to reserve a scant cup of cheese for the top. Add the spinach, squash, and remaining cheese. Bake that beauty of a pizza!

Garnish the piping hot pizza with grated Parmesan cheese and chopped fresh basil.

November: Crispy potatoes, cabbage, sausage, thyme, and fontina

When the days grow shorter, we start to crave heartier meals. Inspired by some of the sturdy and nourishing foods we look forward to in winter — cabbage and potatoes — we created this savory pizza that hits all the high notes: sweet, salty, acidic, crispy, and gooey. Fragrant with thyme, it has plenty of umami from the sausage and melted fontina.

To make it: Drizzle extra-virgin olive oil over your risen pizza dough. Very thinly slice enough red potatoes to cover the surface of the dough, and grate 1 cup (113g) fontina cheese. Sauté 1 cup (71g) sliced red cabbage with 2 tablespoons (26g) brown sugar, 1 tablespoon vinegar, a pinch of salt, and 1/3 cup (76g) water until soft (about 8 to 10 minutes over medium-low heat). Spread the cabbage over the pizza dough, then top with the grated cheese and a layer of the potatoes. Top with sliced cooked sausage and sprinkle with 2 teaspoons of chopped fresh thyme.

December: Apple, pancetta, maple syrup, and aged cheddar

Around the holidays, we turn to sweeter baking — cookies and cakes and sweet breads. This sumptuous take on our Crispy Cheesy Pan Pizza nods to that with a drizzle of maple syrup and thinly sliced apples. A handful of crispy pancetta and oozy, melty cheddar cheese balance out the sweetness, tipping the pizza firmly into savory territory.

To make it: Thinly slice a medium apple (you can peel it or leave it unpeeled). In a medium skillet, cook diced pancetta until crispy (about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally). Transfer the pancetta to a plate. Grate about 1 cup (113g) of aged cheddar. Spread the grated cheese in an even layer over your pizza dough, then top with the sliced apples and pancetta. Drizzle 2 tablespoons (19g) maple syrup over the top and bake.

Cozy up with pizza this season

You're likely starting the slow transition away from summer produce and into autumnal ingredients, and we hope these inspire you to get baking! What seasonal twists on our Crispy Cheesy Pan Pizza will you be making this winter? Tell us in the comments!

Thanks to Liz Neily for her recipe inspiration, food styling, and photographs of these truly beautiful pizzas.


Pizza with Fontina, Potatoes, and Tapenade - Recipes

Pizza dough (enough for about two 14-inch pies)
1/2 cup warm water plus 1 1/2 cups warm water
1 tsp. sugar
1 package dry yeast
3 tbsp. olive oil
2 tsp. coarse salt
5+ cups flour

Dissolve sugar in 1/2 cup of warm water in a large bowl. Sprinkle in yeast, and let stand until foamy. Stir in oil and salt. Add most of the rest of the water, plus about 5 cups of flour to make a firm, soft dough. Depending on the heat and humidity, you'll have to add more flour, or more water. After dough is mixed, knead on a lightly floured surface for about 10 minutes. Its texture should be almost silky by this time. Shape it into a ball, put it in a lightly oiled bowl, cover, and let rise for a few hours, until doubled in size.

When you're ready to make the pizza, punch down the dough, then divide in half. Shape the dough into a disk, make your hands into fists, and drape the dough over your knuckles. Using your knuckles, work your way around the dough by pushing upwards and slightly opening your fingers. Keep repeating until the dough has been stretched a bit.

Then, put the dough on a lightly floured surface and finish flattening it with a rolling pin. (Or try spinning it in the air.)

You can either leave a bit of a crust around the edges, or roll the dough evenly right to the end. I prefer the latter.
Place the pizza stone on one of the lower racks in the oven, and crank it all the way - 500 degrees or hotter - and let it heat up for at least 1/2 an hour. If you have a pizza peel, spread some cornmeal evenly on it, an place
the dough on that before loading it up with toppings. It will slide into the oven much more smoothly.
When putting the pizza in the oven, place the peel over top of the stone. Then, jerk your hands back slightly to release the pizza from the peel.

Broccoli rape and sausage
1 bunch of broccoli rabe
3 cloves of garlic, minced
2-3 sausage links
Trim stems of broccoli rape. Get a large saucepan, and heat about 1/4 inch of water with a little salt until it's boiling. Add broccoli rape, and cover with lid. It may not fit easily at first, but will shrink in size as it's steamed. Let it go for about 5 minutes, occasionally turning it so that every piece gets a turn in the water. Drain broccoli rape, and roughly chop into 1-inch pieces.
While it's draining, remove the casing from the sausage. In the same pan, add a tablespoon or so of olive oil and let it heat. Add sausage to pan, and using two spatulas, break it up into pieces as it cooks.
When nearly finished cooking, add garlic. After a minute or two, add in broccoli rabe, and mix everything together well. Set aside and add to top of pizza.

Caramelized Onion and Fontina Cheese topping
1 large onion (you may need more depending on size of pizza)
1/2 pound of fontina cheese
Slice onion into 1/8th inch slices. Saute in pan with olive oil until onions are caramelized, about 10 minutes.
Slice or shred fontina cheese.
Spread onions, then cheese over pizza and bake. For an extra treat, follow directions for potato pizza, and put onions and cheese on top of it.

Tomato and Mozzarella topping:

Spread your favorite tomato sauce over the dough, then top with grated mozzarella cheese and bake in the oven as directed above.


Spicy Homemade Hummus Pizza

Pizza. It's pure comfort food and sometimes nothing else can quite satisfy those decadent late night cravings. If you happen to live in the city or a decent sized town, you can pick up the phone and have a pizza delivered to your door in about an hour nearly anytime of day.

At the same time, nothing compares to homemade pizza. Think of that dough as a blank canvas to be adorned with combinations of your own making. Dispense with tomato sauce perhaps, leave out the cheese altogether or even turn out a dessert pizza.

Inspired by the success of my rather gourmet homemade olive tapenade pizza, the idea of a hummus pizza immediately came to mind. Thick creamy hummus is a perfect accompaniment to crusty breads and crackers, so why not spread a pizza crust with some homemade hummus and top with some of your favorite toppings?

What follows is a basic chronicle of what I did. If you want to cut corners, you can of course use pre-prepared hummus and pizza crust, though the reason I am offering my suggestions here is to help you recreate a unique and wholesome experience in your own kitchen, time permitting.

In terms of taste, I wanted a hummus that had a bit of smoky flavor with some goodness of tomatoes that we are so often used to enjoying on pizza crust. I made my own hummus, using my recipe for sun-dried tomato and olive hummus with goat cheese as a base, after consulting another favorite, roasted red pepper hummus, and melding the two together. I omitted the cheese, made sure to include roasted red peppers, tossed in some chipotle spice, and just mixed and matched some of the flavors from each recipe. I made a full batch of hummus, which is fine, because you can make more than one pizza or save the rest for snacking on with vegetables and lightly toasted pita triangles or flat breads the next day.

The dough recipe, reproduced here, is the same I used for the tapenade pizza. I had leftover dough as it makes enough for two 12-inch pizzas — I only needed enough dough for one pizza that day, so wrapped the remainder in plastic wrap and popped it in the freezer. The dough does freeze well, I can now say, and how handy to have homemade dough on hand when you want to come up with a conventional or not-so-conventional pizza. Just be sure to let the dough thaw in the fridge for a couple of days before using or at room temperature for a few hours.

The toppings for my hummus pizza are just suggestions. Depending on the type of hummus you use as a base, this might change your choice of ingredients. Feel free to play with whatever flavors tickle your palate. If you want a vegan version of this pizza, simply omit the cheese. I was rather sparing with it myself because the hummus really adds quite a bit of flare and substance to this filling pizza.

Homemade Spicy Hummus Pizza
Recipe by Lisa Turner
Published on October 8, 2012

Homemade pizza smothered with a rich, thick homemade spicy hummus and topped with delicious soft cheeses, marinated portobello mushrooms, jalapeños and olives

Preparation: 40 minutes
Cooking time: 25 minutes

Dough recipe makes two 12-inch pizza crusts. Instructions for making one 12-inch pizza below. If making two pizzas, double the toppings.

  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 1/4 oz (8 g) package of yeast
  • 3 1/4 cups unbleached white flour or spelt flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon curry powder (optional)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil + more for brushing
  • cornmeal
  • 1 to 2 large portobello mushrooms, marinated and broiled or fried (see below)
  • 1 small red onion, sliced into rounds
  • 2 to 3 jalapeños, seeds removed and sliced into rounds
  • 1 cup fresh grated fontina or mozzarella cheese
  • 1 to 1 1/2 cups hummus of your choice
  • 1/4 cup Kalamata olives, sliced
  • 1/4 cup fresh grated Parmesan cheese
  • chopped fresh parsley

Begin by making the dough. Dissolve the sugar in the warm water, making sure the water is "bathtub" warm but not hot. Sprinkle in the yeast and stir gently for about a minute until it dissolves. If the yeast clumps, the water is too cold and the process should be restarted. Let sit in a warm place for 5 minutes or so until you have a smooth beige-colored mixture and a layer of bubbles forms on the surface.

In a large mixing bowl, combine 3 cups of the flour with the salt and curry powder (if using). Make a well in the center of the dry mixture and pour in the yeast-water mixture and olive oil. Mix the ingredients together, beginning in the center and incorporating the flour from the sides of the bowl. Continue until a soft dough is formed.

Lightly flour a large cutting board or wood surface and dust your hands with flour. Knead the dough by pushing it away from you, folding it over, and moving it forward. Rotate the dough and continue. Add some of the remaining 1/4 cup of flour as needed until your dough is no longer sticky — about 5 minutes. Keep kneading for another 10 to 15 minutes until the dough is smooth and elastic.

Shape the dough into a ball and transfer to a well-oiled large bowl. Brush the dough with more olive oil and cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap. Leave the dough to rise in a warm place for 1 1/2 hours, after which the dough should have doubled in size.

While the dough is rising, prepare your toppings. To marinate the mushrooms, toss together about 3 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar, 1/4 cup of olive oil, 1 finely chopped shallot, sea salt and fresh cracked black pepper to taste, a few pinches of dried rosemary, and a sprinkle of chipotle powder or chili powder. Let the mushrooms sit in this marinade for about 20 minutes. Transfer to a broiling pan, position on the top rack of your oven, and broil for about 5 minutes. Chop into strips.

(Alternately, you can fry the mushrooms in a skillet over high heat for about 5 to 6 minutes in a tablespoon of olive oil, deglazing the pan with a teaspoon of balsamic vinegar or tamari sauce.)

Heat a teaspoon of olive oil in a small frying pan over medium heat and gently fry the onion rounds for 2 to 3 minutes or until just softened. Toss in the jalapeños and fry for another minute. Set aside.

Prepare a 12-inch vented pizza pan by lightly brushing it with olive oil and sprinkling with a light coating of cornmeal.

To finish the dough, punch it with your fist and divide into two portions. If making one pizza, reserve one of the portions by wrapping in plastic wrap and freezing for later use. Lightly flour a large cutting board or wood surface, and flour a rolling pin. Roll the dough out into a roughly 1/4-inch thick round shape, making sure the edges are slightly thicker than the rest of the dough. Add flour when needed to keep from sticking, and pick up the dough and turn several times to stretch. Transfer the dough to the prepared pan and form a ridge around the edges with your hands.

Preheat an oven to 500° and move the rack to the second-from-top position. Brush the dough with olive oil and lightly scatter about 1/4 cup of the fontina or mozzarella cheese over top. Spread with hummus. Scatter the remaining toppings over top, finishing with the rest of the grated cheese, including the Parmesan.

Bake for 10 to 15 minutes or until the cheese is starting to bubble and the crust is crisp and lightly browned.

Remove from heat and lightly brush the edges of the crust with a little more olive oil. Garnish with fresh parsley and serve hot or warm with a side salad.


Fontina Spinach Toasts

I know I know I know – I eat too much spinach…but I can’t help it, it’s such a versatile ingredient! This time around I sauté it in garlic, make it creamy, then scoop it onto bread. If that wasn’t enough, I add a slice of cheese that gets all ooey gooey when placed under the broiler! Its creamy, crunchy, hot, and amazing. I love it.

1 ¼ tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon minced onion

1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes

3 cups baby spinach (roughly chopped)

2 tablespoons heavy cream

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Drizzle the sliced Italian bread with some extra virgin olive oil and bake until golden. Remove the toasts from the oven.

Put a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Add the oil, garlic, onion, and red pepper flakes and cook for 5-6 minutes.

Add the spinach with a sprinkle of salt/pepper, and sauté for around 3 minutes until it wilts.

Stir in the heavy cream and cook for 1-2 minutes.

Top each bread slice with a generous scoop of spinach. Top the spinach with a slice of fontina cheese.

Put the spinach fontina toasts under the broiler for 2-3 minutes, or until the cheese melts and begins to slightly brown. Remove from the broiler.


Details

Step 1

1. Spanish Rice Cook 1 cup rice according to the package directions, substituting 1 cup pasta sauce for 1 cup of the water stir in capers, Spanish olives and chopped scallions.

2. Potato Casserole Mix mashed potatoes, some pasta sauce and grated Parmesan cheese in a casserole dish top with more sauce and cheese and bake at 425 degrees F for 30 minutes.

3. Baked Brie Slice the top rind off a small wheel of Brie. Cover lightly with pasta sauce and seasoned breadcrumbs, and bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes. Sprinkle with fresh herbs.

4. Mussels Marinara Saute sliced garlic in olive oil in a deep skillet. Add a pinch of saffron, 1/2 cup white wine, 2 cups tomato sauce and 3 pounds mussels cover and cook until the mussels open, 5 minutes.

5. Zesty Chip Dip Combine equal parts sour cream and pasta sauce in a bowl stir in grated Parmesan cheese, ground pepper and oregano.

6. Quick Ratatouille Saute chopped bell peppers, zucchini, onion, eggplant and garlic in olive oil. Add 2 parts pasta sauce to 1 part water and some fresh basil simmer until vegetables are tender.

7. Cocktail Sauce Mix pasta sauce with horseradish and hot sauce to taste serve with shrimp.

8. Minestrone Soup Boil 1 jar pasta sauce and 5 cups water. Stir in cooked small pasta, chopped mixed vegetables, canned beans and grated Parmesan cheese cook until vegetables are tender.

9. Tomato Butter Blend 1 stick butter and 1/4 cup pasta sauce in a food processor stir in chopped parsley. Use plastic wrap to roll into a log refrigerate.

10. Olive Tapenade Combine 1 cup pasta sauce with 1/2 cup chopped Kalamata olives, 1/2 cup chopped roasted peppers, a big spoonful of capers and some parsley serve with crackers.

11. African Stew Saute chopped onion, garlic and ginger with curry powder add 1 jar pasta sauce, 2 cups water, 1 can white beans and a diced sweet potato simmer until tender. Stir in 1/4 cup peanut butter.

12. Cream of Tomato Soup Saute chopped fresh herbs in butter add 1 jar pasta sauce, 2 cups water, 1/2 cup heavy cream and a pinch of nutmeg simmer for 5 minutes.

13. Stuffed Mushrooms Mix breadcrumbs, chopped mushroom stems and grated Parmesan cheese with a bit of pasta sauce stuff into mushroom caps, drizzle with olive oil and bake at 400 degrees F for 30 minutes.

14. Buffalo Wings Lightly coat chicken wings with equal parts pasta sauce and hot sauce roast at 425 degrees F for 40 minutes.

15. Clam Chowder Saute diced celery and onion in butter with thyme and a bay leaf. Add 1 chopped potato, 2 cups pasta sauce, 1 bottle clam juice and 1 cup water simmer 15 minutes.

16. Tomato Croutons Toss 2 cups cubed stale bread with 1/2 cup pasta sauce, 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese and 2 tablespoons olive oil bake at 400 degrees F until golden, 10 minutes.

17. BBQ Brisket Brown 4 pounds brisket in oil with chopped onions, garlic and red pepper flakes. Add 1 jar pasta sauce, a jar of water, 1/4 cup cider vinegar and 1/4 cup brown sugar cover and simmer 3 hours.

18. Eggs in Purgatory Simmer 1 cup pasta sauce in a small skillet. Crack in 2 eggs, cover and cook until the whites set top with pepper and grated parmesan cheese.

19. Tuna Marinara Simmer pasta sauce with halved olives, capers and a drained can of Italian tuna toss with pasta.

20. Stewed BLT Cook chopped bacon in a deep skillet add pasta sauce and escarole and cook until greens are tender.

21. Pizza Potato Make a deep slit in baked potatoes, then stuff with some pasta sauce, chopped pepperoni and shredded mozzarella bake at 400 degrees F until the cheese melts.

22. Italian Meatloaf Add 1 cup pasta sauce, 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese and some chopped rosemary to a basic meatloaf recipe (using 2 pounds ground beef). Bake top with more sauce and cheese 15 minutes before it's done.

23. Baked Beans Simmer 1 cup pasta sauce with 1/4 cup honey mustard, 1/4 cup brown sugar and 1 large can white beans until bubbly.

24. Tomato Mac and Cheese Mix some pasta sauce with prepared macaroni and cheese in a baking dish drizzle with more sauce and bake at 350 degrees F until hot and bubbly.

25. Instant Salsa Mix 1 cup pasta sauce with 2 tablespoons lime juice, 1/2 cup corn kernels, chopped cilantro, diced red onion and a dash of hot sauce.

26. Sweet-and-Sour Franks Bring 4 cups thinly sliced onions, 1 cup pasta sauce, 1/2 cup water and 2 tablespoons brown sugar to a boil cover and simmer 40 minutes. Serve on hot dogs.

27. Vodka Penne Simmer 1/2 cup heavy cream and 3 cups pasta sauce in a skillet for 3 to 5 minutes remove from heat and stir in 2 to 3 tablespoons vodka. Toss with cooked penne.

28. Saucy Marinade Combine 1 cup pasta sauce with 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar and 1/4 cup olive oil add smashed garlic cloves, salt and pepper. Use as marinade for 1 pound chicken or pork.

29. Tomato Biscuits Spread refrigerated biscuits with pasta sauce top with grated cheddar cheese and chopped scallions and bake as directed.

30. Country Captain Brown chicken parts in olive oil with curry powder and chopped onions and bell peppers add pasta sauce and simmer until the chicken is cooked through.

31. Taleggio Panini Spread pasta sauce between 2 slices of crusty bread and top with taleggio cheese cook in a buttered skillet or panini press.

32. Poor Man's Parmigiana Alternate slices of garlic bread and mozzarella in a baking dish top with pasta sauce and bake at 375 degrees until golden and bubbly, 20 minutes.

33. Tomato Polenta Stir a dollop of sun-dried tomato tapenade into some pasta sauce warm and spoon over prepared soft polenta.

34. Italian Quesadilla Spread some pasta sauce on a tortilla top with grated mozzarella cheese, sliced mushrooms and shredded chicken fold in half and pan-fry until golden.

35. Chilaquiles Cook 4 cups tortilla chips in pasta sauce until slightly softened stir in chopped cilantro and top with grated cheddar cheese and sour cream.

36. Creole Stew Saute chopped onions, bell peppers and celery add Creole seasoning, sliced smoked turkey sausages, pasta sauce and a big splash of broth serve over rice.

37. Poached Cod Simmer pasta sauce in a skillet add cod fillets, cover and cook until just firm top with chopped herbs.

38. Enchilada Sauce Toast some chili powder in a nonstick skillet add pasta sauce and canned green chiles and heat drizzle over enchiladas or tacos.

39. Pizza Sticks Brush refrigerated breadstick dough with pasta sauce sprinkle with grated parmesan cheese and bake. Serve with extra sauce.

40. Greek Beans Simmer pasta sauce with a cinnamon stick, a bay leaf and a splash of red wine vinegar serve over white kidney beans top with feta cheese.

41. Tomato Omelet Whisk 3 eggs, salt and pepper pour into a buttered skillet and top with grated fontina cheese and a few tablespoons pasta sauce. Cook until almost firm fold in half and cook until desired doneness.

42. Bloody Marys Mix 6 ounces vodka, 1 cup pasta sauce, 1/2 cup water, 6 tablespoons lime juice and 1 tablespoon horseradish in a pitcher season with celery salt, Worcestershire and hot sauce.

43. Spiced Okra Simmer fresh or frozen okra and canned chickpeas in pasta sauce season with cumin, mustard seeds and coriander.

44. Polenta Bites Slice a tube of premade polenta into rounds. Broil until heated through lightly top with pasta sauce and grated fontina broil until cheese melts.

45. Tomato-Fennel Soup Thin pasta sauce with water add sliced fennel, vegetable juice and a splash of pernod and simmer.

46. Chickpea Pasta Simmer pasta sauce with chopped celery, anchovies and chickpeas serve over penne.

47. Red Pepper Coulis Puree jarred roasted red peppers until smooth stir into pasta sauce and serve with steamed fish.

48. Sloppy Joes Brown bulk Italian sausage, chopped onions and bell peppers stir in pasta sauce and heat spoon onto rolls.

49. Tomato Vinaigrette Whisk 1/4 cup red wine vinegar with 1/2 cup olive oil, some shredded basil, salt and pepper. Whisk in a spoonful of pasta sauce drizzle over arugula.

50. Eggplant Rolls Grill or broil thinly sliced eggplant until tender. Spread with pasta sauce and ricotta cheese roll up and secure with toothpicks.


Rigatoni gratin with cabbage and fontina

I don’t know how it was in your part of the world last week, but here in Canada, we thought summer was done and over with.

Below normal temperatures for almost the entire week. There was even a bit of frost on my car in the morning. If this is not depressing, I don’t know what is.

I just knew I needed a bit of comfort and this dish certainly did the job.

Italian fontina is a bit tricky to find sometimes. For a long time, the only fontina we could get here was so old, mildewy and stinky that it was impossible to cook with. It was like the only fontina the Italians exported was the past due one that nobody over there cared for. I was able to find a decent quality fontina at la Bottega, here in Ottawa. The young fontina we had in Italy was semi-hard, fruity, nutty and simply delectable. It is reminiscent of a good gruyère so don’t hesitate to substitute if you can’t find the real thing.

Adapted from a recipe by Loukie Werle.

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
6 fresh sage leaves, finely chopped
300 g (2/3 pound) rigatoni
250 g (1/2 pound) potatoes, peeled and diced
450 g (1 pound) Savoy cabbage, chopped in 1 inch squares
150 g (1/3 pound) fontina (or substitue a good gruyère or a local semi-firm cheese)
75 g (2.5 oz) parmesan, grated

1. Preheat the oven to 350 F.

2. In a small skillet over medium heat, cook the onion in the olive oil until soft and translucent, about 5 minutes.

3. Add the garlic and sage and cook for another minute or so. Add the butter and let it melt. Turn the heat off and set aside.

4. Add enough water to a large pot and bring to boil. Add plenty of salt and cook the pasta for one or two minutes less than the instructions on the package. Transfer the pasta to a colander, reserving the cooking water.

5. To the same pot, add the potatoes and cook until tender, about 5 or 10 minutes.

6. Add the cabbage and cook until the cabbage is soft, another 5 or 7 minutes.

7. Drain the potato and cabbage mixture, reserving about 1 cup of the cooking liquid.

8. Mix the rigatoni, potatoes and cabbage in a large bowl. Add the cooked onion, garlic and sage mixture. Then, add the parmesan and the fontina and mix well, reserving some cheese to put on top of the casserole. Taste and season well with salt and pepper.

9. Transfer the mixture to an oiled, oven-proof dish, add about 1/2 cup reserved cooking water along the sides, cover tightly with aluminum foil and put in the hot oven for 30 minutes, or until hot and bubbly.

10. Take the foil off and put under the broiler for a few minutes, until the top starts to brown. Let rest for a few minutes before devouring.