Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Monday Made Up: Lasagna Pizza

The funny thing about trying new things in the kitchen is that you have to decide what to do with your finished product. Eat it? Give it away? Incorporate it into something else?  After all, there's only so many jars of apple butter that you can eat (well, maybe.  I do like my apple butter!)

In my case, I have this artisan bread dough and the ricotta I made on Saturday.  I could just make several loaves of bread.  We like bread here at my house, and the loaf only makes 4 or 5 slices.  The ricotta cheese is really really fantastic by itself, or with some fruit.  But I also like ricotta in lasagna, and I've heard that the artisan bread dough makes fabulous pizza crust.  Also, you should know that I have a half jar of spaghetti sauce in my fridge right now, as well as a block of mozarella.  Almost the makings of pizza (no pepperoni) or lasagna (no noodles in the pantry).   Which is where my brain took off.  Why not combine the best of both?!

Now, one thing I didn't have on hand was Italian sausage.  I did, however, have some meatballs in my freezer, ready for use, and I thought, "Perhaps these will work!"

So here's the directions for my concoction:

rising dough

 Turn your oven on to 450* F.  Take out a lump of the artisan dough in the fridge. Follow regular directions for shaping. Let rise for 20 min or so on the pan you plan to bake on. Or follow the directions for whatever pizza dough you're using.

shredded cheese
In the meantime, shred up 2/3 of a block of mozarella cheese (16 oz)
Defrost your meatballs and cut them in half, or if you would prefer Italian sausage, go ahead and fry it up.

Mix about a cup of ricotta cheese with 2 eggs, or 1 egg and 1 egg white (because I had an eggwhite leftover), plus several tablespoons of dried or fresh parsley and several tablespoons of parmesan cheese. And maybe some minced garlic and oregano or basil. And a few dashes of salt.
ricotta cheese mixture
Stretch the dough out to the shape you want it, rectangular-ish, or circle-ish. I suppose you could even do triangular-ish if you so desired, but I think that might make the pieces strangely shaped.

Spread some spaghetti sauce over the dough. Or use whatever pizza sauce you like. Top the sauce with your meatballs, or cooked sausage.  Take a spoon and dollop the ricotta cheese in big piles on top of the meat.  Use the back of the spoon to spread it out over the top. Sprinkle the grated mozzarella evenly over the top of everything.  Pop it in the oven for 20 minutes or so.
sauce and meatballs
dollops of ricotta on top
shredded mozzarella over all

First Slice
Now, we liked this, and I think it captured the essence of lasagna for me.  But I also thought it was missing something- some... oomph.  Perhaps it was because of the meatballs.  They're great with spaghetti, or on subs, but not spicy enough for pizza.  Or it could have been because I was using jarred sauce rather than homemade.  But the texture and creaminess of the ricotta paired well with the flavors I expected on the pizza (and were even enjoyable with the way it actually tasted!) I think I will try it again with Italian sausage, and hope that provides the balance that the pizza part of this dish needs. 

What are you creating today?

1 comment:

  1. I had to repost this to allow comments... So comment away!