Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Pizza Night

For some strange reason I have had this crazy craving for pizza. I've been thinking about before my breaks at work and I've been seeing it on the boob tube too. I even went to the Il Vicino the other day with my friend and still had the craving. Or at least until tonight. I think I have been satiated—at least for the moment. 

One day, I was talking about pizza at work with the sushi chefs and one of them had suggested Il Vicino or Saggio's so I was thinking about stopping in when I had a chance. I never made it on my break but I finally had a
 single shift and was able to enjoy my evening not working. A friend and I went to Il Vicino on in the heights which was sort of in an unfortunate location. Or at least it appeared to be at first glance, obviously people knew they were there so they get business and they have a few locations in Albuquerque so they aren't lacking the clientele. 

One of the awesome things about Il Vicino, other than they rad wood ovens they have, is that they also brew their own beer. When I went in they had a selection of about five or so beers on tap along with a nice selection wines–local and national labels (I think). Their selection of pizzas is pretty impressive too. They had personal pizza, paninis calzones and more. I don't think I need to tell you, but I ordered a pizza. Number 11, the Molta Carne. It just sounds grand yeah? It had Kalamata olives, pepperoni, sausage, capocollo ham and mushrooms with a 
marinara sauce and fresh oregano. A nice little personal meat-lover's pizza. Delicious. And to make the experience even better, being that cold weather is perfect for brewing dark beers, I ordered a 22 oz. Porter (the formal name escapes me, but the taste lingers still). It was a great brew. Unlike their distant relatives, Stouts, Porters have a more chocolate, less roasted taste or bitterness. Their brew was very smooth with a slightly sweet finish to it. I even took home a growler of the Slow Down Brown for me and my dad to drink. It was an equally crafted brew. I was thoroughly excited about the pizza, but the beer was a plus. 

Today was my first full day off in a few weeks so I took the opportunity to cook something. I decided that pizza sounded easy and pleasing enough for everyone in the house
hold. My sister moved back home and my parents are usually home–aside from their short little visits to the Santa Ana Casino. So I picked up some the ingredients for the pizzas after my best friend, Kelly Robertson, and I watched Avatar. Definitely recommend it–awesome flick! 

My ex-boyfriend and I used to cook pizza a few times a month since it was so easy. It may not have been all-the-way-made-from-scratch, but it was close enough. We always bought a box or two of the Jiffy Pizza Crust Mix at the grocery store to plan ahead and usually had the rest of the ingredients in the fridge or picked them up as we planned for dinner: a big can of spaghetti sauce, veggies (usually mushrooms, onions and spinach) and some sort of meat (chicken or pepperoni). 

The spaghetti sauce is just as tasty, if not more so, and the pizza crust was easy to add any sort of flavors too. I like to throw some Italian seasoning in there and some garlic powder. Some minced garlic and sesame seeds around the crust make for nice textural and flav
or components. Go wild–just think of the boxed crust mixes as a piece of white bread for you to add some flavor too. You could very well make a dessert pizza with it too. 

My brother, Robert, was going to come by for dinner so I was planning for at least six or seven mouths to feed–he has an entourage you see. I made two pizzas tonight, one with Italian sausage and one with pepperoni; both with red onions and mushrooms, topped with mozzarella and cheddar cheeses. I tried to toast the crusts before topping 
them, but I think my oven was at too low a heat to achieve the crust I wanted. Other than that, the pizzas came out great. I love how the onions will caramelize and give off a nice charred flavor. and the sesame seeds were a nice, nutty contrast in taste from the creamy cheese and the salty sauce.

I think my hankering has subsided so I think I'll be good for a while. Or at least until morning—I have a few slices in the refrigerator waiting for me to eat them for breakfast. I love pizza leftovers–they're the best reheated. 

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