Thursday, March 10, 2016

Artichoke, Sun Dried Tomato and Gorgonzola Cheese Pizza

     Gourmet Pizza!
     Sun dried tomatoes taste nice with imported Italian Gorgonzola Cheese.  For this recipe, accenting the flavor of the sun dried tomatoes is important.  Tomato paste is sun baked and then passed through a strainer before the final reduction.  A high quality traditional tomato paste tastes like sun dried tomato.  A bright fresco tomato sauce or a regular Italian pizza sauce is not a good match for the rich flavor of sun dried tomato.
     Pizza Dough:
     Follow this link to the pizza dough recipe in this website:
     • Pizza Dough

     Pizza Sauce:
     This recipe yields enough sauce for 2 small pizzas.  (10" to 12")
     This pizza sauce is designed to accent the flavor of the Gorganzola, Sun Dried Tomato and Artichoke toppings.
     Step 1:  Place 2 tablespoons of tomato paste in a mixing bowl.
     Add 1/4 cup of water.
     Whisk till combined.
     Step 2:  Add 2 cups of imported Italian crushed tomato in a mixing bowl.
     Add 1 1/2 teaspoons of minced garlic.
     Add 1/2 teaspoon of leaf oregano.
     Add 1/4 teaspoon of thyme leaves.
     Add 1/2 teaspoon of marjoram.
     Add sea salt and black pepper to taste.
     Step 3:  Slowly add 1/3 cup of pomace olive oil while whisking.
     Add 1 tablespoon of virgin olive oil, while whisking.
     Step 4:  Place the pizza sauce in a container.
     Chill the sauce for 1 hour, so the flavors meld.

     Sun Dried Tomatoes:
     This recipe yields enough for 1 small pizza.
     Step 1:  Count out 10 sun dried tomato halves.
     Cut the sun dried tomato halves in half.
     Step 2:  Heat a sauce pot over low heat.
     Add 2 cups of water.
     Add the sun dried tomatoes.
     Gently simmer the sun dried tomatoes till they just start to become tender.
     Step 3:  Drain the water off of the reconstituted sun dried tomatoes.
     Set the sun dried tomatoes aside.

     Artichoke Hearts:
     Fresh steamed or boiled artichokes are best, but canned whole artichoke hearts are a nice convenience.  Some brands are better than others.  
     It is best to buy good quality canned whole artichoke hearts and then cut them into quarters.  Canned artichoke hearts that are pre-cut into halves or quarters are easily damaged in the canning process.  Good looking artichoke heart wedges create nice eye appeal.
     Cut 3 or 4 artichoke hearts in half, from top to bottom.
     Cut the artichoke heart halves into thin wedges.
     Place the artichoke heart wedges on a platter, so they are not damaged.
     Drizzle a little bit of olive oil over the artichoke heart eighths.
     Set the artichoke eighths aside.

     Artichoke, Sun Dried Tomato and Gorgonzola Cheese Pizza: 
     This recipe yields 1 small 10" to 12" pizza.
     Step 1:  Coat a smooth countertop with a very thin film of olive oil.  (Just a few drops of olive oil wiped on the counter is plenty!)
     Place a mini pizza size portion of the dough on the counter top.  (A dough ball that is about the size of a softball ... 7 to 8 ounces)
     Press and stretch the dough flat.
     Use your fingertips to gently press the dough outward from the center to form a flat round pizza dough shape that is about 3/8" thick.
     Step 2:  Place the flat pizza dough on a pizza pan that is lightly brushed with olive oil.  (Re-shape the dough if necessary.)
     Step 3:  Par bake the pizza crust in a 450ºF oven.
     Par-Bake till the dough is firm like bread and the crust is still a white color.
     Step 4:  Place the par baked pizza crust and pan on a counter top.
     Spread a thin layer of the pizza sauce on the crust, from the center out to the pizza crust edge.
     Step 5:  Sprinkle 1/2 cup of grated mozzarella cheese on the pizza.
     Sprinkle 3/4 cup of crumbled Gorgonzola Cheese on the pizza.
     Step 6:  Arrange the artichoke heart wedges and sun dried tomato quarters on the pizza, so they point outward from center.  The object is to create eye appeal!  (Refer to the photos.)
     Sprinkle 1 pinch of oregano over the pizza.
     Step 7:  Return the pizza to the 450ºF oven.
     Bake till the crust gains some golden color and the cheese melts.
     *Do not let the cheese brown!  Burnt Gorgonzola Cheese tastes very bitter!
     Step 8:  Slide the pizza onto a cutting board.
     Cut the small pizza into pie shaped slices.
     Place the pizza slices on a serving platter.
     A nice looking and great tasting gourmet pizza!

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