August 29, 2011

Grilled Pizza with Italian Sausage and Spaghetti Bolognese

Itty Bitty was having a rough day and refusing to nap. Finally got him to sleep after an hour of him fighting it. Twenty minutes passes and I go into his room to clip his nails while he was sleeping. All of a sudden a knock at the door and the dogs went wild barking. Sure enough it woke Itty Bitty up. Since it was a stressful morning I was pissed there was someone at the door.

It was our friendly UPS driver. How could I stay mad when he came baring a gift? I had no idea what it was. I wasn't expecting a package. With Itty Bitty out of bed and throwing a temper tantrum I went into my little corner in the kitchen and opened the package.

3 bottles of Crisco Olive Oils!!!

I go through olive oil by the gallons. Not really. But it seems that way.

Foodbuzz had selected me as one of their "Tastemakers" to sample Crisco's Extra Virgin, Pure, and Light Olive Oil. Their olive oils are made from a blend of Cheatoui, Chemlali, Arbequina, and Hojiblanca olives. High quality.

In my package came a recipe pamphlet with 4 recipes. I decided to give two of them a try. Grilled Pizza with Italian Sausage and Spaghetti Bolognese.

For lunch I decided to make the Grilled Pizza with Italian Sausage while Itty Bitty finally fell asleep. Mama needed to relieve some stress and the best way for me to do this is by being in the kitchen. This pizza was so flavorful and loaded with yummies. A ready made pizza crust is topped with marinated grilled spicy Italian sausage, red bell peppers, and red onions on top of three cheeses. It is then layered with plum tomatoes and green onions. Smelling this cooking was unbareable. Once out of the oven I sliced this up and sat at the table in silence enjoying every bite. This is a must try pizza recipe.

Knowing Itty Bitty would end up sleeping until around dinner time I decided to make the Spaghetti Bolognese so it would be ready for when he woke up. This is a big step up from the spaghetti I normally make. Sadly, I just boil noodles and mix it with canned tomato sauce. Poor baby had no idea what he's been missing out on. This Spaghetti Bolognese was easy to prepare and so flavorful from the mix of two meats. After a good nap and a bowl of this for dinner his mood took a turn for the better and the night was bareable.

I'll be marking #13 off of my "Stir The Pot" page. 4 down, 21 to go.

Grilled Pizza with Italian Sausage
Makes 2 - 12 inch Pizzas

Stars of the Show:
  • 2 (12 inch) ready made pizza crusts
Stars of the Show for the Marinade:
  • 1/3 cup Crisco Light Olive Oil
  • 3 tbsp balsamic vinegar - I used a spicy garlic and pepper balsamic vinegar.
  • 2 tbsp minced garlic
  • 1 tbsp chopped fresh rosemary
Stars of the Show for the Grilled Toppings:
  •  1/2 lb spicy Italian Sausage
  • 1 red bell pepper, cored, sliced in half lengthwise
  • 1/2 large red onion, peeled, cut through root end into 1/2-inch wedges
Stars of the Show for the Additional Toppings:
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup goat cheese, crumbled
  • 2 plum tomatoes, halved, seeded, chopped
  • 1/2 cup chopped green onions
And Action:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

For the marinade: Whisk together all the marinade ingredients and set aside.

For the grilled toppings: Spray a grill grate with nonstick cooking spray. Preheat grill. (I used a grill pan instead.) Brush sausages, red bell pepper, and onions with marinade and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Grill until sausages are cooked through and peppers and onion are slightly charred and crisp-tender, turning and basting occasionally with marinade, about 12 minutes for sausages and 8 minutes for the veggies. Transfer to a cutting board and cut sausages and veggies into slices.

Sprinkle each pizza with half of the mozzarella and parmesan cheese. Top each with half of the sausage, peppers and onion, then with half the goat cheese, tomatoes, and green onions.

Place pizzas on cookie sheets and into the oven. Bake 8-10 minutes until the cheese is melted and the crust is golden brown.

Spaghetti Bolognese
Makes 4 Servings

Stars of the Show:
  • 1/2 lb lean ground beef plus 1/2 lb Italian sausage - You can also use 1 lb of ground beef instead of the mix. I preferred the mixed meats.
  • 3 tbsp Crisco Pure Olive Oil
  • 1/2 lb mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 tbsp minced garlic
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 can (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes
  • 1 can (15 oz) tomato sauce
  • 1 tsp dried basil - I used fresh basil.
  • I tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 3/4 lb uncooked spaghetti
  • freshly grated parmesan cheese (optional)
And Action:

Heat a large skillet on medium-high. Add beef and sausage. Break up the chunks. Cook until no longer pink. Remove from pan with a slotted spoon and set aside. Discard drippings from the pan.

Return skillet to medium-high heat. Heat the oil. Add mushrooms, onion, and garlic. Saute until onion is translucent. Stir in salt and pepper.

Return beef to pan. Add tomatoes, tomato sauce, basil, oregano, and crushed red pepper flakes. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low. Simmer sauce for 20 to 30 minutes stirring occasionally.

While sauce simmers, cook pasta according to package directions. Drain pasta. Top with sauce. Serve with cheese if desired.

Disclaimer: As part of the Foodbuzz Tastemaker Program, I received free Crisco Olive Oil products. All opinions are my own.


Anonymous said...

So everything is fien? See it didn't turned as bad as predicted/With hurricane I mean
Great pizza thats the beauty of thsi dish you can make it with few of as many ingredients as you want.

Pretend Chef said...

Dzoli - Pizza is such a versatile dish. I wouldn't change a thing about this recipe though. It was amazing.

Kelsey said...

Looks like you put the products to great use!

Pretend Chef said...

Kelsey - Thank you! I really enjoyed the recipes. They were so delicious.

Tina said...

Great way of showcasing the products. I love anything pizza or italian and both of these look amazing. Now I am ready for an italian meal.

Claire @ The Realistic Nutritionist said...

Congrats on being chosen!! I would die if I had that much oil (of excitement, of course!)

Jeanette said...

A free package of food always cheers me up, and cooking definitely is a way for me to destress! Both the pizza and bolognese look like pure comfort for you and your little guy.

Pretend Chef said...

Tina - Thank you for the compliment. I'm on the same page as you with pizza and anything Italian.

Claire - I was in heaven. I love love love olive oil. Oh my!

Jeanette - I wish I received foodie gifts every day. Haha! The Spaghetti Bolognese for sure was comfort food.

Lisa {Authentic Suburban Gourmet } said...

Just got home from work and I am SOOOOO hungry. Then I click on your pizza photo - I just wish I had a slice in front of me. :)

Pretend Chef said...

Lisa - This really is a crave worthy pizza flavor. I wish I had a slice in front of me too.

Lizzy said...

Woe, you did great with your Crisco products! Both dishes would be welcomed here :)

Pretend Chef said...

Lizzy - Thank you!

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