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Archive for April, 2010

Pizza Margherita

margarita, originally uploaded by The Rambling Rountrees.

Planning for Italy 2010 is well underway! In my dreams each night Italy comes alive once again. 35 more days and sleeps till our departure makes for great dreams!!! I often have the same recurring dream, that our vacation is about to be over and I have not done everything I have wanted to do our our trip. I have the same dream each year before departure……ahhhhh. So today I am day dreaming about the best best pizza on earth!
PIZZA MARGHERITA
Ingredients

* 1 cup crushed tomatoes
* 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
* 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, coarsely chopped or julienned
* 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
* 1/2 pound mozzarella, sliced 1/4-inch thick
* Basic pizza dough, rolled out for 2 (12-inch) pizzas, recipe follows

Directions

Preheat oven to 500 degrees F and, if you have one, place a pizza stone on the bottom rack of the oven.

In the bowl of a food processor, combine tomatoes, olive oil, and salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste and process until smooth. Divide sauce between the 2 pizzas and smooth to spread evenly, leaving a 1/2-inch border along the edges of the dough. Sprinkle basil leaves on top of sauce and then top with Parmigiano-Reggiano. Finally, divide mozzarella slices between 2 pizzas, and bake for about 8 minutes, or until cheese is bubbling and the edges are golden brown.
Basic pizza dough — by hand method:

* 1 package active dry yeast
* 1 cup warm water (110 degrees F)
* 2 1/2 to 3 cups flour plus more if necessary
* 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
* 1 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

In a large bowl, combine yeast with water, olive oil, salt and stir well to proof. After 5 minutes, add half of the flour and mix well to thoroughly incorporate. Add all remaining flour except 1/2 cup and mix well with your hands. Transfer dough to a lightly floured work surface and knead dough for at least 5 and up to 7 minutes, adding enough additional flour as necessary to form a smooth and elastic dough. Dough should not be sticky. Transfer dough to a lightly oiled 2 or 3 quart bowl and turn to coat with oil. Cover with a damp towel and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, usually at least 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 500 degrees F and if you have one, place a pizza stone on the bottom rack of the oven.

Divide dough into 2 portions (for 2 (12-inch) pizzas) and form into balls. Place on a lightly oiled baking sheet and cover with a damp towel. Let rest for 15 minutes, then transfer to a lightly floured surface, shape as desired and roll out to a thickness of 1/4-inch. Transfer dough to a pizza stone. Mangia!

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Alla Checca

pomodoro, originally uploaded by The Rambling Rountrees.

WOW, 35 more days before we embark on our next Italian Adventure! I must say that I have been a bit lax at blogging over the past month, because of personal issues. But as travel comes closer I love to reminisce about our adventures with food and friends along the way. I always love a fresh pasta dish. What is not to love about pomodori and pasta! Here is a great recipe with fresh tomatoes.

Ingredients

* 5 tomatoes, seeded and diced
* 4 cloves garlic, minced
* 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
* 1/2 cup olive oil
* salt to taste
* 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
* 1 pound pasta

Directions

1. Combine tomatoes, garlic, basil, and olive oil in a non-metal bowl. Stir in salt. Cover with plastic wrap. Allow to sit at room temperature at least 2 hours, or as long as 10 hours.
2. Cook pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water until al dente. Drain. Pour uncooked sauce over hot pasta, and toss. Add grated Parmesan cheese to your liking.

Mangia…..Ciao!!

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Card From Heaven, originally uploaded by The Rambling Rountrees.

For those of you that don’t know or are behind in reading my blog, my favorite Aunt passed away two months ago today. This is an experience I ‘d like to share with you all.

Aunt Toots…I have a story to share…This Deb. First of all I apologize for not opening a piece of mail that was in my car for a while. Earlier this morning I went out to my car to find something. I reached in the back seat pocket of one of my seats to find an envelope that I had evidently forgot to open, immediately… I recognized the handwriting on the outside of the envelope. I brought the piece of mail into my office and decided to open it…..guess what? It was an Easter Card from last year 2009, that I had not opened and it was from YOU, Aunt Toots…..you remembered me today! OMG, I can not believe what just happened…..The moral of the story…sometimes when you least expect it….you get contacted int he most surprising way! I love you very much! Thanks for the message…and the Easter Card….

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