Summer vegetables make the most delicious and light pizza toppings for warm weather days, while adding beautiful color to your plate. Dollops of ricotta and fresh mozzarella cheese compliment the slightly sweet roasted vegetables with shredded ribbons of fresh basil on top of my crispy thin pizza crust. Cheers to enjoying the flavors of summer as you savor the last few weeks of the season.
Ingredients: 1 tablespoons olive oil 1 medium summer squash, sliced ½ pint cherry tomatoes ¼ teaspoon salt ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper 1 homemade or store-bought pizza dough ball (about the size of a grapefruit) ⅓ cup part-skim Ricotta cheese 1 ball of fresh mozzarella cheese 8 to 10 basil leaves, sliced into thin ribbons
Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Pace squash and cherry tomatoes on a medium backing sheet. Drizzle 1 tablespoon olive oil over the vegetables and season with salt and pepper. Toss to evenly coat and roast for 20 to 25 minutes, until lightly browned and tender.
Roll and stretch pizza dough to a thin layer, about ⅛ inch thick and 12 to 14 inches in diameter. Prepare the grill for medium-high, indirect heat. For a gas grill, leave one or two burners off and for a charcoal grill, place coals on one side and use the coal free side.
Place crust on the grill (a pizza peel is handy here) and cook for about five minutes, until top of crust starts to bubble and light brown grill marks appear on the bottom. Remove crust from the grill.
Evenly place squash and tomatoes on top of the cooked side of the pizza crust. Add dollops of Ricotta cheese and slices of mozzarella.
Return the pizza to the grill for about five minutes, until the cheese has melted and the bottom of the crust has light brown grill marks. Remove from grill and top with fresh basil before serving.
Homemade pasta is one of my favorite things to eat, and it is surprisingly simple to make. Many restaurants have gotten away from the art of making dough by hand and our culture has become accustom to the taste of store-bought pasta. I savor the practice of making pasta by hand, and it has become a favorite stay-home, date night activity. The experience of making the pasta together creates much anticipation for enjoying this delicious meal, and it tastes like takeout from a family-owned Italian restaurant.
With Italian music playing in the background and glasses of our favorite Pinot Noir in hand, my husband and I begin the process of creating pasta dough. We use this recipe for Food-Processor Pasta Dough from William Sonoma, and once it’s ready we roll the dough into thin strips with an old-fashioned style pasta machine just like the one pictured in the pasta recipe photo. One of us turns the dough crank and feeds the ball through the machine, while the other catches the flat sheet of pasta from the other side. We use a ravioli mold to create our stuffed pasta, but you can also make tortellini without any equipment.
Ingredients for Pasta Filling: 1 large chicken breast, cooked and diced 1 (15 to 16 ounce) container of ricotta cheese ⅓ cup freshly grated Asiago cheese ¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg ¼ teaspoon salt ¼ teaspoon pepper
Other Ingredients: Pasta dough 1 (26 ounce) jar of marinara Parmesan cheese for grating
Place chicken, ricotta and Asiago cheeses, nutmeg, salt and pepper in a food processor and pulse, until chicken is finely chopped.
Follow recipe for Food-Processor Pasta Dough and roll the pasta into thin sheets as directed in the recipe, but do not cut pasta. If you don’t have a pasta machine, you can use a rolling pin.
To make ravioli, place a sheet of pasta dough over a ravioli mold and gently press down to add space for the filling. Use a spoon or small scoop and place an equal amount of filling into each square. Brush the edges of the dough with a small amount of water and top ravioli with another sheet of pasta dough. Gently roll over the top sheet of dough with a rolling pin to cut and seal the ravioli.
To make tortellini, cut the sheets of pasta into 3 inch by 3 inch squares. Place your filling into each square and brush the edges of the dough with water. Fold into triangles and wrap the bottom two corners together to seal tightly in a kerchief shape.
Heat marinara sauce and serve ravioli or tortellini with desired amount of sauce and grated Parmesan cheese.