Two extremely healthy pizzas from Food Network

I was watching food network the other day and Rachael Ray was making two very healthy pizzas that looked great! I thought I would pass them on for people to try! The Zucchini-roni pizza is supposed to taste just like real pepperoni, or so she said twenty times in the program. She said kids will love it! I’m excited to try it.

Also, I have a great pizza in the Family cookbook additions that’s worth trying! It’s my favorite and I make it at least once a month. It has pesto, tomatoes, spinach, Monteray Jack cheese, and artichoke hearts (and any additional veggies you’d like to add – like mushrooms – YUM!). …(click on the More button below for the recipes)…

Zucchini-roni Pizza
Recipe courtesy Rachael Ray (Food Network)

1 (14-ounce) jar roasted red peppers or 2 medium homemade roasted red peppers
1/2 pound smoked fresh mozzarella, sliced thin
1 thin crust packaged pizza shell, 12 inches
1/2 medium zucchini, sliced very thin into discs (think of pepperoni slices as a guideline)
2 cloves garlic, minced
A drizzle extra-virgin olive oil (about 1 tablespoon)
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
Coarse salt

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. If you are using jarred red peppers, drain them very well and pat peppers dry with paper towels. Place peppers in a food processor and pulse-grind into a paste. Spread paste in a thin layer on a thin crust shell. Top paste with thin slices of smoked fresh mozzarella cheese.

Place very thinly sliced zucchini discs in a small bowl and combine with remaining ingredients. Toss discs well to evenly coat with seasonings. The zucchini discs will have a flavor similar to pepperoni. You have just made zucchinironi! Arrange your zucchinironi slices around your pie: as little or as much as you like, but do not overlap slices or you pie will be wet.

Bake directly on oven rack or on a preheated, perforated pizza pan. Bake 10 minutes on the middle rack of preheated oven or, until cheese is bubbly and golden and edges of pizza are crisp.

Tidbits: How to roast red peppers: To roast in your oven, preheat broiler to highest setting. Halve red peppers and rip out seeds. Place pepper halves, skin side up, on a cookie sheet. Broil peppers until the skins are completely black. Leave the oven door ajar while peppers roast to let steam escape. Place blackened peppers in a large brown paper sack and close tightly. Let peppers stand 10 minutes or until cool enough to handle. Peel skins away from red pepper flesh, and discard skins. To roast peppers on the outdoor grill, leave peppers whole and roast covered over high heat on a gas stove or close to coals. Follow above method to peel.

If your market does not carry smoked fresh mozzarella cheese, you can substitute 1 1/2 cups of shredded smoked Gouda (the yield of grating about 8 ounces of cheese).

Asparagus and Plum Tomato Pizza
Recipe courtesy Rachael Ray (Food Network)

1/2 pound thin asparagus spears
1 (12-inch) packaged prepared foccacia
1 cup prepared pesto sauce, store-bought or homemade, recipe follows
1/2 pound Fontina, diced into small cubes, about 1 1/2 cups
1 firm plum tomato, seeded and diced

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Trim tough ends off asparagus, leaving 4 or 5-inch long tender tops of spears. Place tops in a small skillet in 1/2-inch of boiling water. Cover the pan and steam asparagus for 2 minutes. Run asparagus under cool water and drain well. Cut spears into 1-inch pieces on the diagonal.

Spread a foccacia with a thin layer of pesto sauce. Dot the top of pizza pie with cubed Fontina cheese. Add a scattering of chopped asparagus and diced plum tomatoes.

Bake directly on oven rack or on a perforated pizza pan. Bake foccacia pie for 10 minutes in preheated oven on middle rack or, until the cheese melts and edges of your pizza are crisp and dark golden in color.

Pesto:
2 cups fresh basil, packed
1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted
1 clove garlic, peeled and smashed
1/4 to 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
Fresh black pepper

Combine basil, pine nuts, and garlic in a food processor with a drizzle of the olive oil. Blend coarsely, stopping from time to time to scrape down the sides. Place in small bowl, and stir in the remaining olive oil (as needed), Parmesan, and pepper, to taste.

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