I've had kind of a rough week so far, starting with my checking on the gorgeous raspberry bushes along side the house to see how they were fairing and discovering nearly all of them were pulled by an over zealous neighbor. The wonderful weather tease we had earlier disappeared with the abrupt plummet back into the 30s. Our little one came down with a fever, which always turns me into a ball of nerves, watching her closely and fretting about the million things that could possibly go wrong. A meal that could comfort my rattled self and that would pique the appetite of my sick little girl were definitely called for. How could I go wrong with a pizza?
The calm I find in preparing my own dough simply wouldn't suffice; I needed something quick and simple to throw together to appease our specific craving. Thankfully, I picked up some fabulous sounding garlic and herb pizza dough, ready to be shaped into whatever form I desired and baked off. I already had some of my favorite prepared artichoke hearts at home, and I wanted some cheeses that would be satisfying, yet not greasy. The blissful combination of fluffy ricotta, creamy chevre, and the salty bite of feta and pecorino were just what this pie needed. And it didn't disappoint. Paired with some heirloom cherry tomatoes simply dressed with garlic, olive oil, and red wine vinegar, this was a meal that hit everything I wanted - crisp thin crust, tender roasted veg, salty creamy cheese, and the sweet with a hit of acid from the salad. Perfection.
Even after roasting the artichokes a bit to remove some of the excess moisture since they were canned, this whole meal came together in under 45 minutes. And unlike the pizza we normally order in, there were no leftovers of this - not even the salad.
1 prepared recipe of pizza dough of your choice
1 14 oz can canned artichoke hearts, drained and quartered
6 garlic cloves, minced
~1 cup whole milk ricotta cheese
~3 ounces chevre (soft goat cheese)
~3 ounces feta
1/2 cup grated pecorino romano or parmesan cheese
extra virgin olive oil
oil into a jelly roll pan or cookie sheet, and spread it evenly over the pan with your fingers, getting the sides well coated. Place the quartered artichokes on another baking sheet and pop in the oven on the upper middle rack for 8 - 10 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside to cool.
Stretch the dough out evenly in the oiled pan, ensuring that the edges have a bit more dough if you like a crusty pizza. Drizzle the dough with olive oil and sprinkle the garlic evenly over the top. Spread the ricotta evenly over the dough, then crumble the chevre and feta over the top as well. Place the roasted artichoke hearts as evenly or precariously as you like. Sprinkle the pecorino over the top. If you like, drizzle a bit more oil over the intended crust of the pizza.
Move oven rack to middle position and bake the pizza for about 12 - 18 minutes (all depends on your oven and thickness of crust). Let rest for a couple minutes before slicing. While the pizza is baking, prepare the salad.
for the tomato salad:
1 lb mini heirloom, grape, or cherry tomato, or any small tomato of your choice, halved
1 clove garlic, minced very fine (a microplane works perfectly for this)
scant 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/2 cup or more (depending on taste) good quality extra virgin olive oil
couple good pinches of sea salt
several good turns of your pepper mill
Toss the tomatoes in a large enough glass bowl to accommodate them as you halve them. Add the remaining ingredients and toss well in order to fully incorporate the garlic. Let sit for 15 minutes for flavors to develop.