This recipe takes its inspiration from France’s classic onion tart, pissaladière. I was stunned by my first taste of that classic and the idea that onions could be a main event. In this simple recipe, a mix of onion varieties -- red, white, and green scallions -- are tossed with olive oil, thyme, and salt, then layered on a crust gilded with smoky cheese and finished with a dusting of Parmiggiano – Reggiano and a drizzle of heavy cream. The cooked cream tames the edges of the onion and thickens as it cooks.
The syrup adds a lovely balance to the salty cheese. Trust me.
There was a time when I would have questioned putting a potato on a pizza -- two starches felt like overkill. But then a few years ago, my mom told me about a pizza she'd had with potatoes, fresh rosemary, and Parmesan, and I couldn't get the idea out of my head.
This big, dramatic, open-face fruit tart looks like it just came off the set of an Italian country magazine shoot. Better yet, it’s nearly no work. Bake the crust ahead when summer temperatures are cool. Whenever you feel like serving the dessert, slather it with the ricotta-mascarpone cream (done ahead as well) and top it with the fruit and herbs. Any single fruit or combo works, but ripe melons and stone fruits with berries are a favorite.
Thin, crisp crusts like this one are the hallmarks of much of Italy's pizza. Another vital element is not overloading the pie with toppings; less is definitely more on pizza. This dough goes together quickly and can be used after a single rising. If time is very short, blend, knead, rest for 30 minutes, and roll out. No baking stone is needed, since you slip the crust out of the pan and crisp it directly on the bottom rack of the oven during the last two minutes of baking. Use stone-ground, organic, flour if possible.
Oh, Barbecue Chicken Pita Pizza, how I love thee! Okay, that might sound kind of weird, but try it and you'll know what I mean. These silly little pizzas are the easiest things in the world to make and most excellent to eat. In my opinion, that's the perfect combination. I like making them this way, but you could use almost any toppings you want.
Excerpted from The Italian Country Table: Home Cooking from ItalyÃs Farmhouse Kitchens by Lynne Rossetto Kasper (Scribner, 1999). Copyright © 1999 by Lynne Rossetto Kasper.