It's football season and living in this college town, that means we eat, breathe, sleep, and bleed Carolina Blue
Whether tailgating or cheering from our family rooms, football foods are on the minds of every cook I know.
As I've mentioned before, my Nonno was a well-known soccer player in Italy. My mom was the Italian National Roller Skating champion when she was 12. (How's that for a trivia fact?) I, personally, have a history of working with bodybuilders and figure competitors (yes, I used to compete and NO, I will never post those pics!)
I am the mom of 6- 5 sports fanatic sons (a mixed Yankee/Mets household) and a cheerleader daughter.
But all that fades away when it comes to Carolina sports. My 13 year old has embraced the UNC teams
and dragged us all into the fervor with him
Today, I'm going to share a very classic and traditional Neopolitan stuffed pizza that my grandmother used to make. The texture is a bit different than you might expect- a cross between a bread and a cake.
Traditionally made with lard to be light and fluffy, this version uses butter- lots of butter :)
Pizza alla Campofranco
1 package active dry yeast (I used fast-rise)
2 tsp sugar
scant 1/4 cup lukewarm milk
2 cups flour
1 generous tsp salt
2/3 cup butter, softened and cut in pieces
I used 6 large ripe Roma tomatoes, peeled (submerge in boiling water for 1 minute then in ice water- slip off skins), halved and seeded- drain on paper towels
2 TBLSP olive oil
about 8-10 ounces mozzarella, shredded or thinly sliced
salt and pepper
about 8-10 fresh basil leaves
4-5 thin slices prosciutto, torn into pieces or cut in slivers
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Put the yeast and sugar in bowl of stand mixer with dough hook. Add milk and let stand for 5 minutes. Add flour, salt, butter, and eggs. Start on low speed to incorporate liquids, then increase speed till a dough forms. This will be a very soft dough!
Turn dough out onto a lightly floured board and knead gently till smooth, incorporating no more than an additional 1/2 cup of flour to prevent sticking. Place dough into greased bowl, turn to coat, and cover with a towel. Allow to rise in a warm place for 2 hours till doubled.
Meanwhile, Heat oil in a skillet till hot. Add tomatoes and cook, just shaking pan occasionally (don't stir- you don't want sauce) and flipping with a spatula. Do not overcook- tomatoes should stay somewhat firm.
Grease and flour (or spray with Pam) a 9" springform pan. When dough is risen, turn out onto lightly floured board and cut off 1/3 of dough- set aside. Place larger piece of dough in springform and, using your fingers, press and stretch to cover the bottom and a bit up the sides. Layer 1/2 the mozzarella on the bottom. Top with tomatoes, salt and pepper, basil, prosciutto, and remainder of mozzarella. Flour your hands lightly, pick up small piece of dough and stretch it slightly into a round to fit in pan. Lay on top of filling and press edges together to seal. Cover pan and allow to rise for 1 hour. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Bake for 25-30 minutes till golden. Release sides, slide onto serving plate, and serve hot. Buon Gusto!
As I've said before, all good Italian housewives were raised to believe that all food, and bread in particular, was a gift from God that should always be respected and should NEVER be wasted.
Both my grandmothers always had a stash of cookies or biscotti in the house- all the neighborhood kids knew that Grandma Josie kept the Vienna Fingers in her upstairs oven!
These little rings were often found in my Nonna's kitchen. Made with leftover bread crumbs, they have a softer texture that's a cross between a biscotti and a scone. Not too sweet, but absolutely perfect with an afternoon cup of tea, coffee, or hot chocolate. Nonna sometimes decorated hers with slivers of candied orange peel, but today I used some chopped crystallized ginger
Anelli di Agrumi (Citrus Rings)
1 cup flour
1/4 tsp. allspice
11 TBLSP butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
grated zest of 1 large lemon
1 cup ground almonds or almond meal
2 cups soft breadcrumbs
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Sift flour and allspice together twice.
Beat butter and sugar together till light and creamy. Add egg and lemon rind till blended. On lower speed with paddle, add flour, bread crumbs, and almonds till dough is formed. Wrap dough in plastic wrap and put in fridge for about 1 hour.
I used a small cookie scoop to portion out the dough- recipe should make 28-30.
Roll a small ball of dough into a rope only about 4" long. Form a ring and press ends together. Place cookies on a parchment lined cookie sheet. Bake for about 10 minutes- bottoms will be golden. Cool on a wire rack.
Make a light glaze of lemon juice and confectioner's sugar and drizzle on rings
We're linking up tonight to Foodie Friday, Michael's wonderful party at Designs by Gollum and also to Wendy and Tony's Cookie Exchange at Relatively Unique
God must be a Carolina fan. After all, He made the sky Tarheel Blue!!
Buon Cibo, Buon Amici,
Pattie and Allie