I am competing against some of the best Calgary Bloggers and Influencers in the 3rd Annual YYC Pizza Week Calgary Food Bloggers Pizza Challenge. Recipe for my Italiano Pizza Pentola with Herbed Garlic Flatbread shared below. VOTE HERE for my creation at YYC Pizza Week website from September 22- October 1st!
Italiano Pizza Pentola is an easy family meal, using your family’s favourite Italian pizza toppings and bread for dipping. Served with a salad.
It really is that easy!
The best part about this recipe is that each family member – no matter how big or small – can build their own pizza the way they like it! This dish can easily offer your choosier family members some options alongside the ingredients YOU like best too! Maybe – just maybe – your kids will actually eat their darn dinner and won’t throw a fit about whatever it is they suddenly don’t like (even though they loved it last week)!
What is YYC Pizza Week 2016?
YYC Pizza Week is a 10-day event running from September 23 – October 2nd. Over 50 of Calgary’s best pizza restaurants are battling it out for the win in four different categories; thin, thick, gluten-free and unique. Calgarians will visit restaurants, try the pies and vote for their favourite in each category. Partial proceeds from every pizza sold will be shared by Calgary Meals on Wheels and 100 Men Calgary. Winners will be chosen in each category and announced at a wrap party after Pizza Week is finished.
How does the Food Bloggers Pizza Challenge 2016 work?
Participating bloggers and influencers will create a pizza (sweet, savory, unique, gluten free, cauliflower crust, etc.) using 2 of 4 MYSTERY ingredients. These ingredients were announced on Saturday, September 17th to participants.
Our MYSTERY Pizza Ingredients are:
- Italian Sausage
Challengers can use all 4 mystery ingredients but it is mandatory we use at least 2. We are welcome to use any additional ingredients we choose as well.
Prizes will be given to 1st place, 2nd place and most unique! Winners will be based on total votes and announced at the YYC Pizza Wrap Party (date TBA.)
Having no idea what the heck Guanciale was, I was (obviously) convinced I wanted to make a beautiful gourmet pizza using it!
Enter family, where chaos and real life ensue.
Me: Addressing the brothers who are sitting at the table eating while I am in the kitchen. “I think we are going to have pizza night on Wednesday this week instead of our usual Friday because I have to make a Fancy Pants pizza for the blog.”
Tweedle: “What is a Fancy Pots pizza?”
Tweedle and Dee: ‘Fancy Pots’ said 15 times fast in different voices, in between giggles.
Me: “Fancy Pants, like fancy, gourmet pizza. But Pizza Pots would be good too!”
Alice: Walks into the room and hears tail end of conversation. The excitement in her voice is clear. She is a tween currently trying to rebel against our ‘Eat Clean’ plan at all possible opportunities. “Pizza Pops! We’re having Pizza Pops!? I know what those are! They come in a package and you microwave them and there is hot stuff inside that….”
Me: “No!” I say. “We are NOT having Pizza Pops.”
But now, after heavy negotiation and mini chef involvement, we ARE having Fancy Pots Pizza. Pizza Pots.
Because, kids…and real life.
‘Italiano Pizza Pentola’
- Italian Pizza Pot with Caramel Béchamel sauce, Spicy Italian Sausage, Roasted Mushrooms, Kalamata Olives, and Parmesan and Mozzarella cheeses
- Served with Herbed Garlic Flatbread (Gluten Free option)
- Caesar salad with Glazed Guanciale, garlic Croutons, and Citrus zest
This recipe really is as simple as placing your favourite pizza toppings into an individual ramekin, or ‘Fancy Pot,’ and baking into a gooey pizza dip that everyone will love. And, since your family will basically make these individual meals themselves, this may become a great favourite for you too!
In honour of Pizza Week YYC, we prepared many of the key ingredients ourselves but this recipe will work equally as well with store bought sauces and bread, grated cheese, pre-sliced ingredients and the like – there is no judgement here. I know that sometimes it takes all you’ve got just to get dinner on the table at all. (It’s not just me, right?)
We had each family member make one ramekin and prepare one extra meal in a freezer bag for one of those days that seem to go sideways before a dinner plan is in place.
- 3 cups + ¼ cup whole milk
- 2 tablespoons of butter
- 2 tablespoons of all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, freshly ground
- Handful of fresh dates
- Flatbread/Pizza Crust, Gluten Free option
- 2 tablespoons Provencal/Italian Herbs
- Olive Oil (garlic infused)
- Spicy Italian Sausage
- Kalamata Olives
- Mushrooms: Cremini, Shiitake, Porcini, & Portobello
- 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
- 2 cups Mozzarella cheese, grated
- Romaine hearts lettuce
- Caesar Salad dressing (We like Renee’s Caesar)
- Guanciale (Cured Pork jowls)
- Balsamic Reduction (Strawberry Fig) or Maple Syrup
- Zest from 1 Orange, (Use orange slices for garnish)
Begin by Preparing Ingredients:
- Add vegetable oil to a large pan and heat over medium-high heat. Add sausages and cook until browned on all sides. Remove sausage from pan and set aside.
- Slice mushrooms and place in shallow baking dish. Drizzle olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Toss lightly and bake at 400, stirring frequently until thoroughly roasted.
- Slice Guanciale into thin slices. Place on rack on parchment paper lined baking tray (makes for easier clean up.) Glaze to add sweetness to this salty cured meat: brush or drizzle with balsamic reduction – I used Strawberry Fig – or even Maple Syrup. Bake at 400, alternating high/low oven racks with roasted mushrooms approximately every 10 – 15 minutes. Bake until fairly crisp and place on paper towel to absorb grease.
Caramel Béchamel Sauce:
To make the caramel sauce: Using a food processor or strong mixer like a Vitamix, blend together a handful of fresh dates and ¼ of whole milk until completely smooth. For the love of Pete, don’t add sugar or any other sweetener because you don’t need it! I like using Majool dates but it is the sweetness you are after so most dates – or even figs – will do. You can easily substitute almond milk or dairy alternative in the caramel sauce.
To make the Béchamel Sauce: Place the milk in a small saucepan in medium heat. After bringing the milk to a gentle boil, turn down the heat to medium-low and let it simmer for 20 minutes, stirring frequently.In another large pan, melt the butter in medium heat. Add flour and whisk for 2-3 minutes, until they are combined and flour is cooked. Slowly whisk in the milk sauce. Season with salt and pepper. Let it come to a boil, add caramel sauce, and whisk until smooth. Add ¼ Parmesan + ¼ Mozzarella cheese and stir until melted. Turn down the heat to low and stir frequently while it simmers for 15-20 minutes. During simmering, the sauce will reduce slightly which should give it a slightly thicker consistency. Transfer to bowl.
Refrigerate Béchamel sauce for up to 5 days. Béchamel also freezes nicely but it is best to reheat sauce gently while whisking constantly and possibly adding more milk. Therefore, freeze separately from other Fancy Pots Pizza ingredients for best results.
In between all your stirring and whisking for the Béchamel Sauce:
- Prep Ingredients: Cut Italian Sausage into half round pieces; Slice Olives; Grate Cheeses.
- Make Caesar Salad: Chop Romaine Lettuce Hearts and place in large bowl. Add garlic croutons. Chop crispy Guanciale and zest orange, adding both to lettuce. Just before serving, add Caesar salad dressing & toss.
- Prepare your Herbed Flatbread: Prepare whatever kind of flatbread works best for time and effort: Bake your own pizza crust from scratch; Use a mix; Purchase a premade pizza dough or crust (Lina’s offer fresh made pizza dough!); Or, pick up fresh bread or frozen flatbread at your local grocery store. Brush surface with garlic infused olive oil and sprinkle with Italian herbs. Bake until golden brown. Cut into wedges for serving.
Build Your Individual Fancy Pots Pizza:
Layer your favourite ingredients in oven-safe ramekins For our Italiano Pizza Pentola, start with Caramel Béchamel sauce on the bottom and layer Italian sausage, roasted mushrooms, grated cheese, and olives. And layer again if you like!
Arrange ramekins on parchment lined baking sheet – even add your names on the paper to mark your Fancy Pots creation! Bake at 375 degrees until slightly bubbling and golden brown.
Serve with Herbed Garlic Flatbread for dipping alongside Caesar salad with Glazed Guanciale and Citrus zest.
Enjoy! And don’t forget to vote for Italiano Pizza Pentola at YYC Pizza Week website HERE.
So, remember, this is the Fancy Pants version of Pizza Pots. (But not Pizza Pops.) But you can easily keep it simple. On any given day, scrounge up what you have for ingredients and go from there.
What favourite toppings are YOU going to try in your Fancy Pots Pizza?