Friday, February 12, 2010

Tramonti: Toscana

(Sunset over a vineyard in Tuscany)
(The centuries-old aging cellar at Castello di Verrazzono winery)

(The entrance to Amedei chocolate factory)
This Valentine’s weekend, celebrate the Amore that a sunset in Tuscany has to offer. Pick up a red Vespa (the Vespa factory is located in Tuscany) and cruise over to the Chianti Region for wine tasting.  Visit Castello di Verrazzano winery; producing wine since 1170, this family is also famous for one of its members, Giovanni Verrazzano, who discovered New York.  Before the sun sets, try Amedei chocolate, from a local chocolate maker who is said to produce some of the best chocolate in the world from cacao found in Chuao, Venezuela.
Taste Italy in your own home this weekend by making a pizza! The recipe is easy and fun to make with a group of people or with a date:

       Pizza Dough: trust me, it’s a lot easier to buy it
·              Central Market’s café to go section sells pizza dough at a very reasonable price, just tell them how        
             many people you are trying to feed and they will tell you how much dough you need
·                       Pillsbury also sells pizza dough and it’s available at almost any grocery store

        Other: Flour
                       Pizza Ingredients: this is where you can be creative and add whatever you want!
·                     Tomato Sauce (I generally use a pasta marinara like Classico’s Tomato Basil, if I’m using sauce) you    
            can also supplement the sauce with Olive Oil if you want a lighter pizza
·                    Mozzarella, gorgonzola, or any cheese you prefer (I usually mix both of these)
·                     Parmesan (to shred on top later)
      Topping suggestions:
·                     Caramelized Onions
·                     Sundried tomatoes
·                   Cherry tomatoes
·                    Sautéed Mushrooms
·                    Italian sausage, cooked ahead
·                   Pepperonis
·                   Bell peppers
·                   Basil

     PREPARING THE PIZZA: Directions are for Central Market pizza dough. For Pillsbury dough,  
     directions can be found on the package.
      Preheat oven to 375 or whatever the back of the pizza dough package says

1.               1.  Prepare the countertop and a rolling pin with a sprinkling of flour
2.               2.  Place dough on the floured surface and use the rolling pin to roll the dough into desired thickness  
                and shape.
3.               3.  Transfer dough onto a flat baking sheet or pizza stone.
4.               4. Spread desired amount of tomato sauce onto the surface of the dough. If you are using olive oil,
              drizzle desired amount on top.
5.              5.  Sprinkle the mozzarella or whatever cheese your prefer on top (if you want to use cheese).
6.              6.  Add the toppings you desire and create any type of pizza you want!

    Baking Instructions:
      Place pizza in pre-heated oven and cook for 13-17 minutes

  When the pizza is ready, allow to cool for a few minutes then slice and enjoy!

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