Healthy Mediterranean Cooking at Home

Category Archives: Pizza

Ingredients

Dough

1 teaspoon instant yeast

1 teaspoon honey

1 cup lukewarm water

3 cups bread flour

1 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

Topping

1 medium zucchini, finely diced

1 yellow bell pepper, finely diced

2 plum tomatoes, seeded and finely diced

One-quarter of a large red onion, finely diced

16 oz block whole milk mozzarella cheese, sliced thin

2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

1 teaspoon dried oregano

Salt and pepper to taste

Crushed red pepper flakes for serving

Directions

Combine all the ingredients for the dough in the large bowl of an electric mixer and with the paddle attachment mix until the ingredients come together around the paddle. Attach the dough hook and knead the dough for 5-6 minutes.

Place in a greased bowl, cover, and let rise until doubled.

For an overnight rise:  Spray a large ziplock plastic bag with olive oil cooking spray. Place the dough in the bag and close the top. Place the bag in the refrigerator overnight. When ready to make the pizza, remove the bag from the refrigerator 30 minutes before making the pizza.

Turn the oven to 450 degrees F and let the oven heat for 30 minutes.

Prepare the crust: flour your hands lightly and pat the dough evenly into a lightly oiled 16″ pizza pan.

Top the crust in the following order: slices of mozzarella, vegetables, oregano, salt, pepper, and shredded mozzarella cheese.

Bake the pizza on the bottom rack of the oven for 15-20 minutes or until the crust is golden. Let stand 5 minutes before slicing.


Pizza Dough

A chewy pizza crust that can be made quickly with just basic pantry ingredients for when you are in a hurry. Makes 1 lb of pizza dough.

Ingredients

1 (.25 ounce) package active dry yeast
1 teaspoon white sugar
1 cup warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
2 1/2 cups bread flour
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon salt

Directions

In a medium bowl, dissolve yeast and sugar in warm water. Let stand until creamy, about 10 minutes.

Stir in flour, salt, and oil. Beat until smooth. Let rest for 5 minutes.

Place the dough in an oiled pizza pan and press and stretch the dough to the edges of the pan.

Cover with a kitchen towel and let rest for 30 minutes.

Place an oven rack on the bottom shelf of the oven and preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.

After the dough has rested, add the toppings as indicated below.

Sausage and Peppers Topping

ingredients

8 oz spicy Italian Sausage, cut into thin slices

1 lb small bell peppers, sliced thin

1 large onion sliced thin

1 clove garlic, minced

1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning

8 oz mozzarella cheese, sliced thin

Olive oil

Pizza Sauce

Ingredients

26 oz container strained or chopped Italian tomatoes

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

½ teaspoon garlic powder

½ teaspoon onion powder

1/2 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning

½ teaspoon red pepper flakes

1 teaspoon honey

1 tablespoon olive oil

Directions

Combine all the ingredients for the pizza sauce in a saucepan. Bring the mixture to a boil. Lower the heat to a simmer and cook uncovered for 30 minutes.

Preheat a large sauté pan on medium-high and place 1 tablespoon of olive oil in the pan, then add sausage and cook until browned about 6 minutes, stirring until no pink remains. Add the remaining ingredients and saute until the vegetables are tender.

Let stand 5 minutes to cool.

Top the rested dough with slices of mozzarella cheese, pizza sauce, peppers, onions, and sausage.

Bake the pizza on the bottom rack of the oven for 20–25 minutes or until the crust is golden, the cheese is melted, and the toppings are thoroughly heated. Let stand 5 minutes before slicing.


Ingredients

1 lb of your favorite pizza dough or use my recipe
Olive oil
1 tablespoon pizza seasoning (see below)
8 oz mozzarella cheese, thinly sliced

2 cups ricotta cheese
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon salt

3 oz baby spinach leaves
2 cups shredded Mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Directions

Remove the pizza dough from the refrigerator an hour before you are ready to prepare the pizza.
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Coat a large pizza (16 inches) pan with olive oil spray.
Press the dough out in the pan all the way to the edges and up the sides a bit. Brush the dough with olive oil and sprinkle with 1 tablespoon of the pizza seasoning. Arrange the sliced mozzarella over the dough.

Combine the ricotta, cream, and salt. Mix well and pour over the sliced mozzarella.
Arrange the spinach leaves over the ricotta. Sprinkle the shredded mozzarella and parmesan over the spinach.
Place the pan in the oven and bake for 20 minutes. Let rest 5 minutes and then cut into slices.

Pizza Seasoning

Ingredients

6 tablespoons dried Italian seasoning
1 tablespoon dried onion flakes (or onion powder)
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon fennel seeds
1 tablespoon paprika
½ tablespoon coarse black pepper
½ tablespoon red pepper flakes

Combine all spices in a bowl and mix well.
Store in a sealed container.


Creamy Spinach Pizza

Pizza Dough
Makes one 16 inch round pizza. You can prepare the dough one day ahead and refrigerate overnight or use the traditional rise. This is a very forgiving dough.

Ingredients

1 teaspoon instant yeast
1 teaspoon honey
1 cup lukewarm water
3 cups bread flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

Topping
1 cup cooked spinach, chopped
1 cup ricotta cheese, drained
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
8 oz mozzarella cheese, sliced
3 oz crumbled feta cheese
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

Directions

Combine all the ingredients for the dough in the large bowl of an electric mixer and with the paddle attachment mix until the ingredients come together around the paddle. Attach the dough hook and knead the dough for 5-6 minutes.

Place in a greased bowl, cover, and let rise until doubled.

For an overnight rise:  Spray a large ziplock plastic bag with olive oil cooking spray. Place the dough in the bag and close the top. Place the bag in the refrigerator overnight. When ready to make the pizza, remove the bag from the refrigerator 30 minutes before making the pizza.

Turn the oven to 450 degrees F and let the oven heat for 30 minutes.

Mix the ricotta with salt, pepper, and parmesan cheese.

Prepare the crust: flour your hands lightly and pat the dough evenly into a lightly oiled 16″ pizza pan.

Top the crust in the following order: slices of mozzarella cheese, ricotta cheese, spinach, feta cheese, and oregano.

Bake the pizza on the bottom rack of the oven for about 20 minutes or until the crust is golden. Let stand 5 minutes before slicing.

I serve this pizza with a tomato salad.


Overnight Pizza Dough

Makes one 16 inch round pizza. Prepare the dough one day ahead. This process makes the best pizza dough.

Ingredients

1 teaspoon instant yeast
1 teaspoon honey
1 cup lukewarm water
3 cups bread flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

Directions

Combine all the ingredients for the dough in the large bowl of an electric mixer and with the paddle attachment mix until the ingredients come together around the paddle. Attach the dough hook and knead the dough for 5-6 minutes.

Spray a large ziplock plastic bag with olive oil cooking spray. Place the dough in the bag and close the top. Place the bag in the refrigerator overnight.

When ready to make the pizza, remove the bag from the refrigerator 30 minutes before making the pizza. Turn the oven to 450 degrees F and let the oven heat for 30 minutes.

Pizza Ingredients

8 oz Italian fontina cheese, sliced
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

Topping Ingredients

¾ cup green Italian olives pitted and chopped
½ cup pitted and sliced Kalamata olives
½ sliced roasted red peppers
½ cup baby artichoke hearts, sliced in half
3 tablespoon capers

Directions

Combine the topping ingredients together in a medium mixing bowl.
Prepare the crust: flour your hands lightly and pat the dough evenly into a lightly oiled 16″ pizza pan.

Top the crust with the sliced fontina followed by the shredded mozzarella. Sprinkle the topping ingredients evenly over the cheese.
Bake the pizza on the bottom rack of the oven for 20–25 minutes or until the crust is golden, the cheese is melted, and the toppings are thoroughly heated. Let stand 5 minutes before slicing.


In the mood for deep-dish pizza? No need to to get take out because this deep dish pizza is easy to make at home.

Chicago-Style Pan Pizza

Makes two 10-inch deep-dish pizzas.

Ingredients

1 recipe Deep Dish Pizza Dough, recipe below
8 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 pound Italian sweet sausage, crumbled
1/2 pound button mushrooms, chopped
1 cup chopped onions
2 garlic cloves, minced
26-28 oz container chopped Italian tomatoes
1 teaspoon dried Italian herbs
1 teaspoon of sea salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
16 oz mozzarella, shredded
Grated Parmesan Cheese

Directions

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.
Drizzle 2 tablespoons of olive oil in two 10-inch round deep dishpans. Place one dough ball in each pan and press into the pan until the edge of the dough reaches the corners of the pan. Press the dough so that the edges rise up slightly. Cover the pans with a kitchen towel and set aside to rest as you prepare the filling.


Place a large saute pan over medium heat and add 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Once the oil is hot, add the sausage and cook until lightly caramelized, about 4 minutes. Add the mushrooms and onions and cook until soft, about 4 minutes. Add garlic, Italian herbs, crushed red pepper flakes, black pepper, and tomatoes to the pan and cook until thickened, about 1 hour. Allow to cool to room temperature and divide the mixture in half.


Sprinkle the bottom of each dough with 1/4 of the shredded cheese, about 1/2 cup. Spread an equal amount of the sausage mixture over the dough in each pan. Drizzle each with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and then top each pizza with the remaining mozzarella cheese and a sprinkling of Parmesan. Transfer the pizzas to the oven and bake until the dough has risen, the cheese has melted, and the surface of the pizza and dough are a golden brown, about 20 minutes. Remove from the oven, let rest 10 minutes, cut into wedges, and serve hot.

Deep Dish pizza dough ingredients:
2 ¼ teaspoons (1 packet) instant yeast
1 cup warm water (110 degrees F)
Pinch of sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus more for coating bowl
3 cups all-purpose flour

Directions

In a large mixer bowl fitted with the paddle attachment, add all the dough ingredients. Mix until the dough forms a ball around the paddle. Remove the paddle and switch to the dough hook and knead the dough for 7 minutes to form a smooth and elastic dough that is not sticky. Transfer dough to a lightly oiled large bowl and turn to coat with oil. Cover with a damp towel and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, usually 1 hour. Divide dough into 2 portions and form each into a ball.


America is a land of many cultures. Our ancestors came from around the world to settle here and that is what makes our country so unique and diversified. This diversity is also obvious in our food and I feel it is so important to preserve those recipes. It was one of the reasons I started my blog seven years ago because I had hoped to preserve my family’s Italian recipes for those who came after me.

Growing up in NJ, I took for granted the pizzeria downtown for Friday night dinner, the bagel shop for Sunday breakfast and the taco stand for a quick lunch. In just about any city in America, it is relatively easy to find: Lebanese, African, Ethiopian, Chinese, Mexican, Greek, Indian, French, Japanese, Italian, Polish, Korean, Vietnamese, Jamaican, etc. food. Each wave of immigrants has brought a new level of food identity and traditions to our country.

Some of my past series have described the individual uniqueness of the regions of Italy, the food of America’s many Little Italies and the cuisines of the Mediterranean. In my new series, I want to celebrate the cuisine of the many cultures represented in America by preparing the dishes and sharing the recipes with you.

Rank Ancestry or race Population Percent of total population
1 German 46,403,053 14.7%
2 Black or African American (non-Hispanic) 38,785,726 12.3%
3 Mexican (of any race) 34,640,287 10.9%
4 Irish 33,526,444 10.6%
5 English 24,787,018 7.8%
6 American 22,746,991 7.2%
7 Italian 17,285,619 5.5%
8 Polish 9,385,766 3.0%
9 French 8,272,538 2.6%
10 Scottish 5,409,343 1.7%
11 Puerto Rican (of any race) 5,174,554 1.6%
12 Norwegian 4,445,030 1.4%
13 Dutch 4,289,116 1.4%
14 Swedish 3,933,024 1.2%
15 Chinese 3,852,099 1.2%
16 Asian Indian 3,303,512 1.0%
17 Scotch-Irish 3,046,005 1.0%
18 Russian 2,843,400 0.9%
19 West Indian (non-Hispanic) 2,824,722 0.9%
20 Filipino 2,717,844 0.9%

Italian American Pizza

Pizza became most popular in America after soldiers stationed in Italy returned from World War II. During the latter half of the 20th century, pizza became a dish of considerable popularity in the United States. The United States pizza restaurant industry is worth $37 billion and has an organized industry association. However, in my mind homemade makes best.


Easy Overnight Pizza Dough

Makes one 16 inch round pizza. Prepare the dough one day ahead. This process makes the best pizza dough.

Ingredients

1 teaspoon instant yeast
1 teaspoon honey
1 cup lukewarm water
3 cups bread flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

Pizza Sauce

Ingredients

26 oz container strained or finely chopped Italian tomatoes
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon honey
1 tablespoon olive oil

Topping

Pizza sauce, recipe above
8 oz mozzarella cheese, sliced
1 cup whole milk ricotta cheese
3 oz sliced pepperoni
Black pepper and oregano for sprinkling on top

Directions

One day before making the pizza:

Combine all the ingredients for the dough in the large bowl of an electric mixer and with the paddle attachment mix until the ingredients come together around the paddle. Attach the dough hook and knead the dough for 5-6 minutes.

Spray a large ziplock plastic bag with olive oil cooking spray. Place the dough in the bag and close the top. Place the bag in the refrigerator overnight.

When ready to make the pizza, remove the bag from the refrigerator 30 minutes before making the pizza. Turn the oven to 400 degrees F and let the oven heat for 30 minutes.

Combine all the ingredients for the pizza sauce in a saucepan. Bring the mixture to a boil. Lower the heat to a simmer and cook uncovered for 30 minutes.

Mix the ricotta with ½ teaspoon salt. ¼ teaspoon black pepper, ½ teaspoon garlic powder, and 1 teaspoon dried parsley.

Prepare the crust: flour your hands lightly and pat the dough evenly into a lightly oiled 16″ pizza pan.

Top the crust in the following order: slices of mozzarella cheese, pizza sauce, pepperoni, ricotta cheese dropped by tablespoons, and oregano.

Bake the pizza on the bottom rack of the oven for 20–25 minutes or until the crust is golden, the cheese is melted, and the toppings are thoroughly heated. Let stand 5 minutes before slicing.


Easy Overnight Pizza Dough

Makes one 16 inch round pizza. Prepare the dough one day ahead. This process makes the best pizza dough.

Ingredients

1 teaspoon instant yeast

1 teaspoon honey

1 cup lukewarm water

3 cups bread flour

1 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

Sausage and Peppers Topping

8 oz spicy Italian Sausage, cut into thin slices

1 lb small bell peppers, sliced thin

1 large onion sliced thin

1 clove garlic, minced

1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning

8 oz mozzarella cheese, sliced thin

Olive oil

Pizza Sauce

26 oz container strained Italian tomatoes

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

½ teaspoon garlic powder

½ teaspoon onion powder

1/2 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning

½ teaspoon red pepper flakes

1 teaspoon honey

1 tablespoon olive oil

Directions

One day before making the pizza:

Combine all the ingredients for the dough in the large bowl of an electric mixer and with the paddle attachment mix until the ingredients come together around the paddle. Attach the dough hook and knead the dough for 5-6 minutes.

Spray a large ziplock plastic bag with olive oil cooking spray. Place the dough in the bag and close the top. Place the bag in the refrigerator overnight.

When ready to make the pizza, remove the bag from the refrigerator 30 minutes before making the pizza. Turn the oven to 400 degrees F and let the oven heat for 30 minutes.


Combine all the ingredients for the pizza sauce in a saucepan. Bring the mixture to a boil. Lower the heat to a simmer and cook uncovered for 30 minutes.

Preheat a large sauté pan on medium-high and place 1 tablespoon of olive oil in the pan, then add sausage and cook until browned about 6 minutes, stirring until no pink remains. Add the garlic, Italian seasoning, peppers and onions and saute until the vegetables are tender.

Let stand 5 minutes to cool.

Prepare the crust: flour your hands lightly and pat the dough evenly into a lightly oiled 16″ pizza pan. Top the crust with slices of mozzarella cheese, pizza sauce, peppers, onions, and sausage.

Bake the pizza on the bottom rack of the oven for 20–25 minutes or until the crust is golden, the cheese is melted, and the toppings are thoroughly heated. Let stand 5 minutes before slicing.


Italians started coming to Chicago from Italy during the 1850s and by the 1940’s there was a significant Italian population of Italian immigrants and their descendants in the city. There are some stories about U.S. soldiers of Italian descent returning from Europe after World War II and experimenting with different pizza recipes, and eventually creating a deep dish pizza. The only problem with these stories is that deep dish pizza was being sold in Chicago in the early 1940’s, before the end of the war. The one story that is probably true is about a man named Sewell who created the deep dish pizza in 1943 at his bar and grill, Pizzeria Uno. It was so popular that he soon opened another place called Pizzeria Due. Soon other restaurants were serving deep dish pizza and the dish became popular. Soon Chicago became known for creating it and everyone, not just Italians, adopted it as a ‘Chicago’ food. (source FoodReference.com)

Chicago Style Deep Dish Pizza

Ingredients

1 lb of your favorite pizza dough, at room temperature
16 oz mozzarella cheese, sliced
8 oz cooked Italian sausage, sliced thin
12 oz jar Mancini Fried Peppers with sweet onions or equivalent amount of cooked onions and peppers
2 cups marinara sauce
3 tablespoons parmesan cheese

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a deep dish pizza pan. (My pan is 10 ½ inches in diameter)
Turn the pizza dough out into the prepared pan and use the heel of your hand and your fingertips to press it into an even layer across the bottom of the pan, then about halfway up the sides of the pan.
Bake the crust for 10 minutes.

When the crust is done baking, remove the pan from the oven and keep the oven temperature on 350 degrees F.
Add the toppings in the following order:
On the bottom of the crust place an even layer of cheese slices. Then add the sausage slices in an even layer. Top it with another layer of cheese slices. Then add the cooked peppers and onions. Top with a final layer of cheese slices. Pour the sauce over the top and spread it into an even layer, making sure it is covering all of the cheese. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.
Bake for 50-60 minutes until the edges are golden and the filling is firm. Allow the pizza to cool for about 15 minutes before slicing and serving.


Cauliflower Antipasto Salad

Ingredients

For the salad
1 medium cauliflower, cut into small florets
8 ounces fresh small mozzarella balls
1-16 oz jar roasted red peppers, drained and cut into small cubes
4 ounces salami slices
4 ounces pepperoni slices
1 small red onion, diced
2 celery stalks, diced
8 oz pepperoncini, drained and sliced into rings
4-5 oz oil cured olives

For the dressing
1/2 cup olive oil
Juice of 1 lemon
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon basil
1 teaspoon rosemary
1 clove garlic minced

Directions

Place the cauliflower florets in a large microwave-safe bowl. Add 2 tablespoons of water, cover with plastic wrap, and microwave for 3-4 minutes or until as tender as you’d like. Drain and dry on paper towels.

Cut the pepperoni and salami slices into quarters.

Add the remaining salad ingredients to the bowl with the cauliflower.

To make the dressing:

In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, salt, oregano, basil, rosemary, and garlic until well combined. Taste and add additional lemon, herbs, or salt as desired.

Pour the dressing over the cauliflower salad and toss to coat.

Cover the bowl and refrigerate for 2 hours to allow the flavors to develop before serving.

Pesto & Fresh Tomato Pizza

Pizza Dough
Make the dough one day ahead.
2 1’2 cups bread flour
1 teaspoon instant yeast
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
1 cup warm water

Topping
1/2 cup good quality store-bought or homemade pesto (Link to my recipe)
6 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese
2 vine-ripened tomatoes
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
Freshly ground black pepper

Directions
Place all the ingredients in an electric mixer bowl. Using the paddle attachment, mix the ingredients until they come to a ball around the paddle. Switch to the dough hook and knead the dough for 5 minutes. Coat the inside of a plastic ziplock bag with olive oil cooking spray. Place the dough in the bag, seal, and place in the refrigerator until the next day.
Remove the bag from the refrigerator an hour before you want to make the pizza.

Cut the tomatoes crosswise into 1/8-inch-thick slices and place on a paper towel-lined plate to drain the juices. Sprinkle lightly with the salt and cover with more paper towels.
Cut the mozzarella into thin slices and place on paper towels to drain, This will prevent a soggy crust.

Set an oven rack in the bottom position and preheat the oven to 500°F.
Oil a large pizza pan and spread the dough in the pan so that it touches the edges of the pan. Spread the pesto evenly over the pizza dough
Bake on the bottom rack for 5 minutes.

Remove the pan from the oven; and then top the pizzas with the mozzarella cheese, followed by the tomato slices and Parmigiano-Reggiano. Season with a few grinds fresh black pepper. Place the pizzas back in the oven and bake until the crust is crisp and golden, about 10 minutes more. Cut into slices and serve immediately.

Mini Cheesecakes

Makes 12 mini cheesecakes

Crust
1 cup almond flour
1/2 tablespoon brown sugar or brown sugar substitute (I use monk fruit)
1/4 cup salted butter, melted

Cake
16 oz cream cheese, room temperature
1/3 cup granular sugar or granular sugar substitute (monk fruit)
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons lemon extract
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Topping
Sugar-free fruit jelly or jam (I used cherry)

Directions

Preheat oven to 350°F
Line a standard muffin pan with cupcake liners.

In a medium mixing bowl combine the almond flour and the brown sugar. Add the melted butter to the bowl and mix until the almond flour is coated and the mixture is the texture of wet sand. Place about 1 tablespoon of the crust mixture in the bottom of each muffin cup,. Use a spoon to press the mixture down into the bottom of each muffin liner.
Bake the crusts for 5 minutes.

In a large mixing bowl, using a hand mixer, beat the cream cheese until fluffy.
Add eggs, lemon extract, vanilla extract and sweetener and mix until all ingredients are well combined and smooth. Divide the cheesecake mixture evenly between all 12 wells in the muffin pan. I use an ice cream scoop to measure equally. If using a silicone muffin pan, place it on top of a baking sheet.

Bake for 30 minutes or until the cheesecakes are set. They will still be a little jiggly in the center.
Allow the cakes to cool in the pan on the counter for 20 minutes. Place a teaspoon of jam on top of each mini cake.
Chill for up to 24 hours before serving.



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