Thursday, April 29, 2010

Easy Pizza Recipes by Bobby Flay in Parade Magazine

This past Sunday, Parade Magazine had a three page "Make Your Own Pizza" article by Bobby Flay - not only do the photos make the pizzas look incredible, the recipes look easy!  There are three recipes - pizza dough, easy pizza sauce, and a tomato and cheese pizza recipe that puts the two together.  I don't usually take the time to make my own dough (I think I'm scared!) but Bobby's recipe looks very easy.   The sauce recipe looks very easy, too, and as a bonus is low in fat and cholesterol.  

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Blue Grotto Pizza - South Side

1610 East Carson Street

I have never seen such an enormous pizza!  At 20" square, it was even difficult to get me and the box through the front door at the same time.   For reference, that's a dinner plate in the photo - the slice is so big that it looks like a saucer!

The Blue Grotto is one of the two pizzas I had lined up to try in April - the other is Fratello's in Peters Township.  We've had a hard time getting to Fratello's - the first time we tried, a huge thunderstorm blew up, and this time the car transmission seemed to be acting up (it turned out to be okay) so we decided to stick a little closer to home and headed for the Blue Grotto.

I love the name - Blue Grotto Pizza is named, I am sure, for the beautiful sea cave in Capri.  Before I even tried the pizza, the name appealed to me, as does their motto:  "Peace Love and Pizza".  (As I also love "Peace Love and Little Doughnuts" in the Strip, makers of the world's best doughnuts.) 

The Blue Grotto menu is very limited, but what reason really is there to have more menu options?  They make five types of pizza:  Neapolitan, Margherita, Bianca, Sicilian and Marinara.  Each is available by the slice or whole pie.  They also have Pizza Rolls, Sandwiches (Italiano, Chicken Parmesan, Chicken Prosciutto, Cheeseteak, Meatball or Eggplant Parmesan), homemade soup, salad, and beverages. 

We ordered a Neapolitan pizza, with no additional toppings.  The sauce is very sweet and tasty, with bursts of oregano flavor.  We usually ask for extra sauce - we didn't this time, but wish we had.  The crust was thicker than I expected, and very chewy, with a pleasantly charred bottom and a very bready rim.   I'm not sure if it's in our "Top Ten" favorites, but we did enjoy the Blue Grotto pizza ... and will continue to enjoy it for a few days, as there are plenty of leftovers.

If we had a Top Ten list for salads, though, the Blue Grotto salad will be at Number One.  I ordered a small, which was surprisingly normal size - I say "surprisingly", because the pizza was so much bigger than I expected that it seems like everything would be supersized.  The salad was a step up from any other take out salad I've had, and was full of mixed greens, toasted sunflower seeds, chick peas, carrot, olives and crumbled blue cheese - close to my idea of a perfect salad. 

Next time we go to the Blue Grotto, I'd like to try some of their other pizzas, and will add a topping or two.  But next time, I'll definitely order a single slice!

Blue Grotto Pizza on Urbanspoon

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Gluten Free Pizza Article in the Pittsburgh Tribune Review

Yesterday's Pittsburgh Tribune Review had a wonderful article in the food section about a gluten free diet - and guess what the one food is that people on a g-f diet miss most?  Pizza, of course!   Several pizzerias in the Pittsburgh area now offer gluten free pizzas.  The article mentions Mandy's, Little E's, and Uno Chicago Grill.    It really is a fascinating article with lots of valuable information - since my own sister is following a gluten-free diet, it was a huge help to me personally.  Thanks to the Trib!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Pittsburgh Penguins Playoff Pizza Party Menu and Recipe

I love the Pens and I love a theme party!  In honor of tonight's Game 3 against the Ottawa Senators, I am serving:

White Out Pizza Dip

1 container (5.3 oz.) plain Greek style yogurt
2 tsp. (or to taste) pizza seasoning

Mix Greek style yogurt with pizza seasoning.  Serve with blue corn tortilla chips in honor of the colors of the Penguins alternate blue and white jerseys - or serve with baby carrot or celery stick "hockey sticks".

Pizza with Pepperoni "Pucks"

I am a mostly-terian and rarely eat pepperoni, but this is a special occasion - and besides rounds of zucchini, pepperoni is the most puck-shaped pizza topping I know of!  For tonight, I am going to relax and order pizza from Sunseri's, a family favorite.

Black and Gold Ice Cream

Scoops of French Vanilla ice cream and the darkest chocolate ice cream you can find - I like Ben and Jerry's Super Fudge Chunk.  For an alternate, try lemon and black cherry sherbet (or sherbert, as my dad used to say).

Local Beer and Pop

Pick up a local craft beer or go old school and serve Iron City.   For a non-alcoholic choice, try one of Natrona Bottling Company pops, like Red Ribbon Home Brewed Style Root Beer, or hand bottled seltzer from from the Pittsburgh Selzer Works.

Have fun and GO PENS!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Pino Gelato Pizza Cone Coming to the South Side Works!

Wow!  I just read that Pino Gelato is opening a gelateria in Pittsburgh's South Side Works - that means that the awesome Pizza Cone is coming to Pittsburgh!  I am a huge fan and you will be, too.  The South Side Works location is opening in June.  I can't wait!

Oh, yeah ... their gelato is pretty great, too.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Pizza Fusion YouTube Video Recipe Contest

Pizza Fusion is celebrating Earth Day with an online YouTube video contest and it sounds like fun - think up a recipe for an "Earth-savng pizza", make a video of it and upload your video to YouTube.  After you've done that, submit your video to Pizza Fusion and tell them why it should win.  You then have to promote, promote, promote because the top five most viewed/highest rated videos will be judged.

The panel of judges include:  Chef Aaron McCargo Jr (the Food Network), Mike Singer (Bon Appetite Magazine), Craig Agranoff (, Jen Friel, and Pizza Fusion's Co-Founder, Vaughan Lazar.

The prizes are pretty awesome, too, with the top prize a trip for two to an organic, sustainable vineyard.  Other prizes include a Trek bike, a year's supply of Honest Tea, gift cards from Earthbound Farms, Whole Foods and Pizza Fusion, and more - and your recipe will be featured on the Pizza Fusion website.

And to top it all off in a very nice way, funds raised as of result of the contest will be donated to Share Our Strength.

Beto's Pizza, Banksville Road

1473 Banksville Rd
Pittsburgh, PA 15216
(412) 561-0121

Sometimes you just have to be in the right place at the right time, and today we were lucky enough to be at Ron's store when his father came by with a tray of pizza from Beto's and gave us a slice.  I've heard a lot about Beto's and know that it's a "love it or hate it" kind of pizza. 

First of all, if you don't know about Beto's, they have an unusual way of preparing the pizza.  They bake the crust with sauce, then add the toppings - they are extremely generous with the toppings - after the pizza comes out of the oven.  That method results in cheese that is half melted.

We loved Beto's pizza sauce.  It was fresh and chunky and had excellent flavor.  The crust was crunchy and flavorful.  The mound of half-melted cheese was quite tasty and very fresh, and it's an unusual idea and combination of textures.  Overall, the flavor brought back happy memories of a favorite pizza from my childhood.  The only downside to me was that it was way too much cheese for my personal taste and my current cholesterol level, so it would have to be a very special and only occasional treat.

Beto's does have a large menu that includes sandwiches and some interesting menu items.  Sharon especially likes their hoagies and recommends them.  One small taste of their pizza was not enough, so we definitely plan to pay Beto's a visit in person.

Beto's Pizza on Urbanspoon

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Savory Breakfast Pizza Recipe from the 2010 Pillsbury Bake Off

I recently bought a container of Maison Le Grand's wonderful pesto from McGinnis Sisters and needed to find some recipes using pesto - I came across this recipe for Savory Breakfast Pizza when looking for ways to use it.  Bake-Off finalist Adrienne Davis of Highland, Maryland, calls her recipe a breakfast pizza, but I think it would be good any time!   Adrienne's recipe uses basil pesto, bacon, provolone cheese, eggs and tomatoes to create a pizza that sounds good ... and looks absolutely beautiful in the photo.    The only change I think I might make personally is to use a small amount of my leftover ham from Easter instead of the bacon.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Pizza Roma and Pasta House, Cranberry, PA

20315 Rt. 19 Cranberry Township, PA

Pizza Roma and Pasta House has been a fixture in Cranberry for over 26 years.  It's easy to see why they have been in business for such a long time - the pizza was excellent and the staff was very friendly.

We ordered a traditional crust pizza with red pizza sauce.  The sauce is homemade; it is deep, rich and flavorful.  The cheese for the pizzas is shredded on the premises and it is very fresh tasting.   We especially liked the crust - it was thin, but sturdy enough to hold up to the extra sauce that we ordered.  The pizzas are baked in Pizza Roma's "old-fashioned stone ovens".

Pizza Roma has three new varities of Specialty Pizza - Spinach Feta, Steak Ranch and Onion, and Buffalo Chicken.  Other pizzas include Sicilian style, Seafood Pizza (with red or white sauce), White Pizza and Chicago Style Deep Dish Pizza.  In addition to the pizzas, they serve eight types of hoagies, six different types of calzone, Sandwiches and Burgers, wings and wing wings, salads and appetizers.   Dinners are also available, and include pasta, gnocchi, veal and chicken parmesan, eggplant and more.  We are especially interested in trying their Stuffed Hot Pepper Calzone and some of their homemade soup on our next trip.

Pizza Roma has a fairly large and comfortable dining area and a small bar.  They also offer take-out and delivery to the Cranberry area.

Pizza Roma Family Restaurant on Urbanspoon

California Pizza Kitchen is coming to Pittsburgh!

Yesterday's Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported that there is going to be a California Pizza Kitchen restaurant inside the Ross Park Mall - the first location in Western Pennsylvania.  

Although our perennial favorite is a classic Margherita, I'm looking forward to trying some of their innovative and unusual pizzas - Pear & Gorgonzola,  Vegetarian with Japanese Eggplant, and Goat Cheese with Roasted Peppers are just a few that caught my eye.  California Pizza Kitchen pizzas are all available with a honey-wheat with whole grain crust, too.  We loved the CPK frozen pizza that we tried, so it will be fun to try to the real deal!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Hawaiian Ham and Pineapple Pizza Recipe

Today I found myself with a lot of leftover ham and decided to experiment with a pizza recipe!

1 prebaked 12" pizza crust (I used a Boboli crust)
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 cup shredded pizza cheese (mixture of mozzarella and provolone)
1 cup cubed baked ham
1 cup pineapple chunks, drained and chopped
1/4 cup minced green pepper
1 green onion, minced

Preheat oven to 425 degrees or according to package directions for crust.  Place pizza crust on a pizza pan or cookie sheet and brush it with the olive oil.  Sprinkle shredded cheese on top of crust, the top evenly with ham, pineapple, green onion and green pepper.  Bake for approximately 10 minutes or until cheese is melted and toppings are heated through.

Slice and serve!

Pizza Paradise and Pizza Wars Today on the Travel Channel

The Travel Channel is airing two pizza shows this week:  Pizza Paradise and Pizza Wars:  New York vs. Chicago.  It's a little late notice for today - Pizza Paradise is on at 4 p.m. and Pizza Wars at 3 p.m - but they are both on the schedule throughout the week.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Glutino Gluten-Free Spinach & Feta Cheese Pizza

My favorite sister called me this week to rave about Glutino's Gluten-Free Spinach and Feta Cheese Pizza - she said it is absolutely the best frozen pizza she has ever tried, gluten-free or not.   She reports that the crust is light and crispy with a good crunch, and that the filling is luscious, cheesy and absolutely delicious.  My sister has a sophisticated palate and is an awesome cook, so when she says something is good ... believe it.

Glutino's website describes the pizza as "topped with spinach and a blend of feta, mozzarella and ricotta cheese" with a "crispy, flakey" crust.  Glutino has three other varieties of gluten-free pizzas:  Spinach Soy Cheese Pizza with Brown Rice Crust,  3 Cheese Pizza with Brown Rice Crust, and BBQ Chicken Pizza.   Glutino products are available at Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s among other stores.

Sis also reports that Mom's Take and Bake Pizza offers a gluten free crust, and we plan to do a taste test when we visit her a little later this spring.  
In the Pittsburgh area, Mandy's and Pizza Fusion both offer gluten free pizzas, but I have not yet tried either - both menus look wonderful, so I hope to try them soon.