Friday, June 1, 2007

Jane Wooley Pizza

My daughter has a younger friend she occasionally plays with who told us that she's a vegetarian. Fine. Except she's a vegetarian that eats bacon and sausage, just not chicken. Hmmm. Sounds like a politcally correct excuse for just being a picky eater. I should know all about that, seeing as how I was the reigning champion picky eater in our family.

I think it's no coincidence that I'm the youngest child. After me, my poor mother must have said, "I can't take it anymore!" Trying to get me to try a new food was like pulling teeth. From a shark. I ate only hot dogs. Until I ate only hamburgers. I wouldn't try cheese until I was 8. Mushrooms were revolting. And cooked carrots with dill was obviously an attempt to poison me and ended in a standoff with me, lips clamped, staring at a plate of cold carrots for three hours.

The rule in our family was that you didn't have to eat everything on your plate, but you did at least have to try it. You couldn't know if you liked it or not until you tried it. But I found a way around that: Jane Wooley.

Jane Wooley was a friend that I played with once in a while. Her name became apocryphal in our house because it was invoked like a 'Get Out of Jail Free Card' whenever anything unpleasant was served. "I don't like that. I know, because I tried it at Jane Wooley's." This worked quite well until Jane Wooley moved. There was only so long I could keep playing the Jane Wooley card, then I had to actually try some different foods. And the funny thing was, once I muscled my way past the gag reflex, I liked some of them.

If Jane Wooley had stayed in my life I never would have eaten this pizza, and boy would I have been missing out. It's fabulous, my new favorite. Salty prosciutto, tangy marinated artichoke hearts, savory mushrooms, spicy salami, and smooth, gooey mozzarella cheese. A picky eater's nightmare, for sure, but my idea of pizza heaven.

Pizza Quattro Stagioni - adapted from Pizza to make one large pizza

1 recipe pizza dough from here or here

about 12 cremini mushrooms, brushed clean, stems trimmed, sliced 1/8 inch thick
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
sea salt
freshly ground pepper
Prego spaghetti sauce or your favorite marinara
12 oz fresh mozzarella, sliced, drained on paper towels
about 10 oz. Prosciutto Di Parma slices
8-10 thin slices Genoa Salami
1 small jar marinated artichoke hearts, thickly sliced and drained on paper towels
3 Tbsp pine nuts

1- Preheat oven to 450 deg. with rack in the center of the oven. Brush olive oil on the pizza pan.

2 - In a bowl, toss the sliced mushrooms with 1/4 cup olive oil and lightly sprinkle with salt and pepper. Arrange the mushrooms in a single layer in a small baking dish or ovenproof skillet. Roast until deep brown, about 10-12 minutes. Transfer to a plate to cool slightly.

3 - Roll your dough into a circle to fit your pizza pan, transfer it to the pan, and pinch edges to form a rim.

4 - Spread the sauce evenly over the dough, obscuring the dough underneath, leaving a 1-inch border. Arrange the slices of mozzarella in a single layer over the sauce. Distribute the mushroom slices evenly over the top. Arrange the prosciutto and salami evenly over the mushrooms and scatter the artichoke slices over the top. Sprinkle pine nuts over the top.

5- Bake for about 20 minutes, until the crust is golden brown. Remove from the oven slice into wedges. If there is moisture on top of the pizza ( I didn't drain my artichoke hearts well enough and had a small lake), gently mop it up with paper towels.


Melinda said...

Love the Jane Wooley story. How funny!
Quattro Stagioni is my favourite. I suddenly have a craving for one and I think you are to blame! I love artichokes. My QS's have never had pine nuts on them...but that works for me too!

SteamyKitchen said...

very funny about the vegetarian who doesn't eat chicken. kinda like the housewife who doesn't clean, cook or laundry! lol!

Kelly-Jane said...

That's a great post :) You make some really killer pizzas, it sounds so full of flavour and delicious, mmmm.

Anonymous said...

Yup, sounds more like a picky eater to me! That's the way of kids though. My husband once taught a cooking class where one day a student said he was allergic to eggs (because he didn't want to eat the savory dish they were making) but that allergy suddenly dissapeared a few weeks later when they were using eggs to make a dessert!

Ari (Baking and Books)

Anonymous said...

PS. Your photos and recipe look fabulous!!

Ari (Baking and Books)

Deborah Dowd said...

That is hilarious! A vegetarian that eats bacon and sausage?! But... the inspiration for a great pizza!

Patricia Scarpin said...

Lynn, your stories are so great!!
I was a picky eater as a child but I'd eat only fruit and vegetables. No meat for me! :)

This pizza sounds unusually delicious!

Cookie baker Lynn said...

Melinda - the pine nuts were my own addition. When I think Italian I reach for the pine nuts. I think it works well on the pizza.

Jaden - so true! My nephew, who is a vegetarian, says, "Mom, don't tell people I'm a vegetarian. They'll think I eat vegetables." I think he's actually a dessertatarian.

Kelly-jane - Thanks! I hope you've been inspired to try it.

Ari -I love the egg "allergy"!

Deborah - Thanks for stopping by.

Patricia - Thanks. A picky eater who'd eat vegetables? That's unusual. I'm glad we've both grown out of it.