Archive for the ‘Italian’ Category

Stuffed Crust Pizza

2 tsp (1 envelope) dry yeast
1 cup warm water
2 tbsp Olive oil
4 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp salt
1 tbsp garlic powder
1 tbsp dried basil

In a large bowl sprinkle the yeast over 1/2 cup of warm water. Let stand for 5 minutes, then add the oil, garlic powder, dried basil and the rest of the warm water. In another bowl mix the flour and salt together. Gradually add the flour & salt mixture to the water & yeast mixture, stirring everything together with a wooden spoon until a sticky dough is formed. Using your hands finish blending the flour & salt mixture until the dough forms a ball. Knead the dough until it becomes elastic (roughly 5 minutes). Continue to knead the dough in the bowl adding water or flour as needed until the dough comes together in a soft, not sticky ball. Continue kneading for 15 minutes or so to increase dough’s elasticity.
Place the ball of dough into a medium mixing bowl lightly coated with olive oil. Coat the dough with the oil and cover the bowl with a clean dish towel and leave to rise for about an hour (the dough should be twice it’s size).
Punch the dough down and place it on a lightly floured surface. Divide the dough in half and turn each ball inside out. Form two small smooth balls with no air pockets. Take each ball and rotate it clockwise. If you’re only making one pizza, wrap the other ball up and refrigerate it.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place the dough on a lightly floured surface. Place your palm in the center of the dough to flatten it. With a rolling pin roll the dough out into a circle from the center, working in a clockwise direction. Re-flour the surface as needed so the dough does not stick. Roll the dough so an inch to two inches hang off around the rim of your pan. Place the dough on your pan and add sauce and toppings to your pizza. Line the dough directly inside the rim of the pan with whatever cheese you’d like to fill the crust with, fold dough over the cheese, pressing the dough down so it sticks to the dough on the bottom of the pan.

6-8 Roma tomatoes
1 tbsp Olive oil
1 clove minced garlic

Dice 6-8 tomatoes and drain juice. Sautee garlic in olive oil in a medium frying pan. Add tomatoes and mash them with a potato masher. Allow sauce to simmer for a few minutes before pouring on pizza.

Ste Martaen Pepperjack cheese (in crust)
1/2 cup Daiya Mozzarella
1/2 cup Daiya cheddar
Upton’s bacon
1/2 Red Bell Pepper
(Of course, you can top the pizza with whatever you like. I like my friend Minku’s creation: Bananas and Upton’s bacon. It’s like a Hawaiian pizza, but better!)

Bake at 400 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until edges of crust begin to brown.

If you divide the dough equally this recipe should make two medium pizzas.

*If you prefer not to make your own sauce you can use pizza sauce or pasta sauce.


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Creamy Spinach Pesto

This recipe was inspired by a Spinach Pesto recipe my CSA sent out this fall. With a little tweaking I veganized the recipe and made it unique with a little experimentation. The cashews and coconut milk yogurt make this a slightly sweet and very creamy pesto. It’s great both on pasta and on bread.

1/4 cup toasted cashews*
2 slices crustless bread
2 cloves garlic, minced (I like things garlicky, if you’re not as big of a fan, use 1 clove)
3 handfuls of fresh spinach or 1/2 cup of cooked spinach
1/2 cup plain coconut milk yogurt
1/2 cup Daiya mozzarella
1 Tbsp Olive Oil
Salt & Pepper to taste

Roast the cashews on a baking sheet at 350 F for about 10 minutes, making sure to turn them so they don’t burn. While the cashews are roasting cook spinach (I do this by cleaning the leaves, cutting off the stems and cooking the spinach in a frying pan with a little bit of water, over low heat making sure to fold it over frequently so it doesn’t stick to the pan). In a blender or food processor mix the bread, garlic and nuts. Add the yogurt, cheese, spinach and olive oil and blend until creamy.

Makes about 1 cup of pesto.

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Recently Nick and I joined Tomato Mountain Farm CSA based out of WI and we’ve been getting all sorts of awesome produce from them, including eggplants. Now eggplant isn’t something I’d normally buy because it’s not a vegetable I’m used to cooking with. However, since it was part of last week’s share I had to find something to do with it, so I decided to try to make my own eggplant parmesan. The eggplant was big enough to make two batches, so I made two separate sauces, one sweet and one savory. Try whichever one sounds better to you, or if you’re feeling adventurous and have the tomatoes on hand, try both.

Eggplant Parmesan



Sweet Sauce:
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium shallot, chopped
6 Roma tomatoes cut lengthwise and de-seeded
3 Juliet tomatoes, chopped
A handful of fresh basil
1/2 a red bell pepper chopped
1/2 Tbsp sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp Basil flakes
1/2 Tbsp garlic powder
1 Tbsp onion powder
Olive Oil

Savory Sauce:
4 cloves of garlic, minced
1 lg green onion, finely chopped
6 Roma tomatoes, cut in half lengthwise and de-seeded
1 large slicer tomato, chopped
1/2 of a red bell pepper, chopped
A handful of fresh basil
1/2 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
Olive oil

The process for making both sauces was fairly similar, check parentheses for variations.

Coat the bottom of a medium sauce pan with olive oil. Add garlic and onion (savory)/shallot (sweet) and sauté until translucent over low heat. Add in red pepper and tomatoes and stir occasionally until sauce begins to simmer. Add spices and basil, stir. Cover sauce and allow to simmer for 15-20 min, checking on it occasionally, until the tomatoes are no longer chunky and the mix looks like pasta sauce.

Note: The savory sauce will be runnier than the sweet sauce. Each sauce recipe makes enough for one
casserole dish of Eggplant Parmesan, so plan accordingly. All vegetables used were from Tomato Mountain CSA!


1 medium eggplant (roughly the size of a softball – makes enough for 2 casserole dishes/ 6-8 people, if you want less use a smaller eggplant)
Olive oil
1 C Daiya Mozzarella
3/4 C vegan Parmesan (I use Galaxy Nutritional Food’s Vegan Grated Topping)
1/4 C Flour
1/4 C Cornmeal
Pasta or rice

Preheat oven to: 400 F

Wash the outside of the eggplant, cut the top off and cut the eggplant down the middle lengthwise. Cut each half into half inch strips lengthwise. Spread out on a plate or paper towel and lightly coat with salt. Allow to stand for 10 min. While you wait pour olive oil into a medium sized frying pan and turn on low-med heat. Take a piece of eggplant and rinse in cold water (it’s ok if the salt rinses off). Mix flour and cornmeal together in a bowl, coat eggplant in the mixture and fry until brown on both sides (I have a big frying pan set up for this so I can do multiple pieces at once, making the whole process quicker.)

While your eggplant is frying, pour a layer of sauce in the bottom of a 8×8 casserole dish. As your pieces of eggplant are ready, lay them over the sauce. Once the bottom of the dish is covered with eggplant, spread a handful of Daiya mozzarella over the eggplant and sprinkle on some vegan Parmesan. Add another layer of sauce and repeat until you run out of sauce/eggplant.

Place casserole dish in oven for 30-35 min.

Serve over rice or pasta.

Note: Medium eggplant makes enough for 2 casserole dishes. Each casserole dish is enough to serve 3-4 people.

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Vegan Alfredo

Thanks to the Chicago Vegan Co-Op I’ve been able to purchase large quantities of Daiya for less than what I’d pay at Whole Foods AND thanks to Tomato Mountain Farm I now have a CSA hookup for all sorts of veggies and I got my first delivery today! Therefore, despite the fact that it’s currently 91 degrees in my apartment I decided to do some experimenting and here’s what I came up with.

Alfredo Sauce:

¼ c Tofutti sour cream
3 Tbs Earth Balance
¼ c water
½ c Original Unsweetened Almond Dream
1 c Daiya Mozzarella
2 minced garlic cloves
1 tsp vegan parmesan
1/2 tsp black pepper

Combine sour cream, Earth Balance, water and Almond Dream in a saucepan over low heat and stir together until margarine melts. Once margarine has melted add Daiya, garlic, vegan parmesan and black pepper, stir until creamy.

The Rest:

1 small red pepper, chopped (from Tomato Mountain CSA!)
1 cup broccoli, chopped
1 handful of basil (from our “garden”)
1 Tbs Olive Oil
2 cups of pasta

In another saucepan prepare your pasta as directed on package. Pour olive oil into a small frying pan and add red pepper and broccoli. Sautee until peppers begin to brown. Turn heat down and add basil until all is browned.

Makes enough for 2-3 servings.

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I posted this over on my other blog a couple of months ago. It’s pretty heavy on the garlic, so non-garlic lovers beware. I recently saw pesto made from cilantro at Whole Foods, so I may substitute that for the basil next time I make this. I’ll let you all know how that goes.

Vegan Pesto Campanelles with Broccoli

1 box campanelles or pasta of your choice
2 heads of broccoli


2 cups fresh basil, coarsely chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cups shelled walnuts
1 tsp sea salt
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tsp lemon juice
1 1/4 cup water

Toast the walnuts at 350 F for 10 minutes on a baking sheet turning once. Combine walnuts, basil, garlic and salt in a blender (I used the “shred” setting for this step). Then add olive oil and lemon juice and puree. If you’re making a pasta sauce add water and blend, however if you want a thicker paste for pesto pizza or whatnot skip this step.

In the meantime prepare your noodles as indicated on their package. Wash and chop your heads of broccoli into florets and steam them. Then put it all together and you have a quick, easy, delicious meal.

For a little variety you can also add some mushrooms, red peppers or tomatoes.

Makes enough for: 4

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