With the majority of the holidays behind us, we find our refrigerator quite literally over flowing with food. We’re grateful for the bounty, but need to use up some of the raw ingredients before they go bad which is where the idea for this pizza came from. It uses some local pears and a chunk of smoked mozzarella that never quite made it onto a holiday cheese board. The pears are very ripe and we wanted to use them in a way that accented their sweetness while also letting the smokiness of the cheese shine through.
We opted to use Mario Battali’s pizza dough recipe here. We’ve used it in the past for sweeter pizzas and felt that the wine and honey flavor would compliment the other ingredients. Pay close attention to the instructions here so the gluten in your dough doesn’t make it too chewy. If your dough begins to act like a rubber band while pushing it out, let it rest in a warm spot for a few minutes.
1 batch of Mario Battali’s pizza dough
8 oz ricotta
1 tablespoon freshly minced sage
10 oz pears
Juice of one lemon
8 oz pancetta
8 oz smoked mozzarella
- Make the pizza dough as per the instructions in the linked recipe. Press dough out into either a 10” round or a 6×12” oval. You can do this either on a cookie sheet or transfer to a hot pizza stone but make sure you allow it to rest while prepping the rest of the ingredients.
- Preheat oven to 450.
- Make sure your mozzarella and pancetta are very cold to ease the chopping processes. Chop both into approximately ¼ cubes and reserve separately.
- Cut your pears in half and then core them before slicing in 1/2” slices and toss with lemon juice to keep them from browning.
- Brown the pancetta and using a slotted spoon reserve to the side.
- Mix the egg with the ricotta. Spread the mixture on the dough leaving a ½” edge.
- Sprinkle the pancetta on the ricotta mixture.
- Top the pancetta with the pears in overlapping layers. Sprinkle mozzarella on top of pears.
- Place pizza in oven and bake for 10 minutes before reducing the temp to 350. Remove when the cheese is bubbling and the crust has browned. Allow to rest for 10 minutes before cutting.
After a few weeks of over indulging, we’ve begun to feel like we need to eat healthier even though we still have a few days left before the season is over. That’s what we were thinking this afternoon when we were at Golden Grocery on Church St in SF and noticed they were selling whole trout that had been boned and scaled but still with their heads and tails on. Some people find head-on fish to be off putting but we like to buy them for one reason. After roasting them, we throw the heads and tails in a container in the freezer to be used in fish stock later.
We picked up two of them along with everything else we needed for our Holiday meals this week end. We roasted them simply by filling the insides with some salt and pepper, olive oil and some lemon and parsley. We put them on a parchment lined baking sheet and roasted them for 25 minutes at 375. They made a really nice lunch to nibble on while working at home.
If you’re looking for an elegant addition to your Holiday menu, adding a soup course is often an easy way to add something stylish and flavorful. This soup accomplishes that while still being rustic and uses seasonal ingredients easily found at your farmers market.
We spent the morning strolling through the Heart of the City Farmers Market today where we found plenty of varieties of pears available. You want one that is very ripe and juicy for the most flavor, and in this instance we found some Bartlett pears just ready for the taking.
We were also really happy to see chanterelle mushrooms the size of a fist that we were told came right out of Marin County. While not cheap, we wanted a creamy nutty mushroom to balance the rest of the flavors we were planning on using.
The other nice thing about this soup is that you can make it ahead, chill it to let the flavors meld together and then reheat the day of your dinner. In fact, it’s a great soup for any festive occasion when pears are in season.
This recipe makes enough for at least 6 people.
- 3 pounds Yukon potatoes, roughly chopped
- 1 quart chicken stock
- 1 large onion, diced
- 3 large cloves garlic, roughly chopped
- 2 large Bartlett pears, cored and diced
- ½ tsp thyme
- ½ tsp sage
- 2 tblsp butter
- 4 large chanterelle mushrooms, roughly chopped
- 2 tblsp butter
- ½ cup cream
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Bring the stock to a boil and add the potatoes. Cook until a knife easily inserts into them.
- While potatoes cook, sauté onions and garlic in butter. Season with salt and pepper and herbs. Add pears when onions are translucent and continue to cook over high heat until pears begin to disintegrate. Reduce to a simmer and allow to cook until potatoes are done.
- Add pear mixture to potatoes and then puree with a stick blender. Add cream and blend well. Taste and adjust for seasoning. Return to the stove over low heat for at least 20 minutes.
- Melt butter in a sauté pan and then add chopped chanterelles. Sauté until just beginning to brown. Keep an eye on them because they will burn quickly.
- When ready to serve, portion the soup into bowls and then sprinkle mushrooms on top.