Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Left-over Magic: White Pizza Edition

Sometimes - ok, often - my fridge is a disaster; full of left-over bits of this, and unused bits of that. If I've been cooking a lot, the shelves will be a melange of monkey dishes featuring half-cups of veggies, perhaps a solo portion of meat - the sum of which would not quite yield a full meal, much less dinner for two. I suspect I'm not alone in this.

At such times, the answer, my answer is: pizza. Pizza is the perfect vehicle for combining the stray portions of several meals ... with the added bonus that, ultimately, you feel like you're eating an entirely new meal. Sweet!

Such was the case last week, when I was itching to use the remains of that roasted zucchini and tomato dish, and the 1/2 cup or so of left-over chicken sausage and peppers. Ultimately, I decided to go with a white pizza, which turned out to be an inspired idea, indeed!

I took the easy way out and used purchased, prepared pizza dough - and to that, added a garlic-y white sauce, some seasoned low-fat ricotta cheese, the zucchini and tomatoes, the bits of sausage and peppers, and topped the whole thing off with shredded low-fat mozzarella and some Parmesan cheese. It was spectacular!

I'm not so much giving you a pizza recipe here today, as I am encouraging you to think creatively about your use of left-overs. I will, however, include a recipe for the garlic sauce and for the seasoned ricotta. The rest is up to you. You're smart, you'll figure it out.

White Garlic Sauce:
  • 1 teaspoon butter
  • 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 large cloves of garlic, peeled and minced
  • pinch of crushed red pepper flakes, optional
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons flour (I used white whole wheat)
  • 1 cup of fat-free Half and Half, at room temperature
  • 1/8 cup of grated Parmesan cheese
  • pinch of Kosher salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • dash of freshly ground nutmeg
1. Heat the butter and olive oil in a small sauce pan over medium-high heat until melted. Add the minced garlic and a pinch of crushed red pepper flakes, if desired, and saute stirring, for one minute. Add the flour and stir well to combine with the oils, saute for one minute.

2. Add the room temperature half and half and immediately raise the heat to high, whisk well to incorporate the roux with the liquid. Bring the mixture to a full boil and let boil, while whisking constantly, for a couple of minutes until the sauce thickens and is reduced to the consistency of Alfredo sauce. The thickened sauce should coat the back of a wooden spoon. Reduce heat to low when properly thickened.

3. Add a pinch of Kosher salt, some freshly ground black pepper to taste, and a grating of fresh nutmeg if desired. Add 1/8 cup of grated Parmesan cheese and whisk to melt into the sauce. Taste and adjust the seasonings, adding more of anything you like. Remove from heat, cover the sauce pan and reserve until pizza time. (Hint, be sure to whisk the sauce again prior to use to smooth as it may thicken further as it cools.)

Seasoned Ricotta Cheese for White Pizza:
  • one 15 ounce container of part-skim ricotta cheese
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
  • Kosher salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1. Combine all ingredients in a small mixing bowl and stir well until thoroughly incorporated. Taste and adjust the seasonings, adding more of whatever you like. Reserve until ready to make the pizza, chilled in fridge if necessary.

Some rough directions for pizza assembly: spread crust with an even layer of white garlic sauce, top with dollops of seasoned ricotta cheese, using a fork to spread ricotta in an even layer. Pile on your pizza toppings (meaning use up your left-overs!) then top with a handful of shredded low-fat mozzarella and a dusting of freshly grated Parmesan cheese.

Bake in a pre-heated oven, according to pizza dough directions ... or your own pizza wisdom.

Of course, once you've turned the lonely bits and pieces in your fridge into a new and exciting meal, you'll sometimes - ok, often - end up with left-overs of your left-overs. Worse things could happen.

Bon appetite!


Kitten with a Whisk said...

The garlic white sauce sounds divine!

Charmian @Christie's Corner said...

Did you look in my fridge? You described it exactly -- only add in a wedge of watermelon and something that used to be smooth and white but is now grey-green and fuzzy. Not exactly pizza material.

Love the sound of the white garlic sauce. I'll have to give that a try. Might go well on pasta too, no?

Same Sweet Girl: Memoir of a Southern Belle said...

YUM!!!!! That sauce sounds delicious!!!!! What a great idea to throw the leftovers on a pizza! I never thought of that!!!

stephchows said...

oooooo I'm ALL over this one. That white garlic sauce sounds like heaven!

Heavenly Housewife said...

This sounds absoulutely divine, that sauce.... I'm coming over. I'll bring the diet coke so we can pretend like we are being extra healthy daaaaaahling.
*kisses* HH

Mo Diva said...

I have been known to do the same thing... but with odd results. Ever hear of the diet coke chicken? you will soon enough (i made some) and then added it to a pizza for BBQ Chicken pizza. see, when i fail, i want to fail so good i never do it again.
mission accomplished.. lol

you however, rocked this pizza out! looks awesome

The Duo Dishes said...

You have taken this to new heights. It's probably more flavorful than the white pizza at a neighborhood pizza spot! Of course, your sauce is a great base, but the toppings help too. This might be better than our last taste of white pizza this past April.

Healthy In Heels said...

I stumbled across your blog and am in LOVE! It sounds like you have the same healthy eating mentality I do!

Fresh Local and Best said...

This pizza recipe sounds so gourmet with the white sauce. There's nothing quite like a well made pizza and a glass of wine in the summer, is there diva? :)

Anonymous said...

The garlic sauce must be heaven!
Pizza is an easy and very tasty solution for these days that there is no much time to do anything!

Molly said...

I've never done a white sauce with pizza, going to give this a whirl, especially since I'm a pizza devotee!!!

pixelgal said...

Since I live in the pizza capitol of the world, I rarely (read never) make pizza but it's a good idea and one you may just entice me to try. Thanks Diva dear!

Laura said...

leftover buffet! love it-it's one of my favorite meals of the week! have fun at blogher and just 2 months till we party down-are you interested in a Chez Panisse blogger lunch? let me know!

Sook said...

Mmm that pizza is what I want right now! Looks so good!

Carla and Michael said...

I could put your white garlic sauce on pasta too and be a very happy girl! Your fridge sounds like mine too. We cook like there are still 4 of us and there's only 2 now. Thanks for the ideas.

The Diva on a Diet said...

Thanks, everyone!

Sarah - I'm sorry the pizza turned out a little runny. Mine wasn't - but I wonder if that's because my crust was pretty substantial. Was your crust very thin? If so, maybe a bit less sauce and less ricotta next time?

In any case I'm delighted that you tried it. Thanks!

doggybloggy said...

long time no see - I still need to crack open that syrup - maybe it will be a nice glaze on some salmon - I love this pizza....

Lazaro Cooks! said...

The pizza looks awesome. Great recipe. I am a big pizza freak! Love it.

Tangled Noodle said...

Gotta love the Remains of the Day pizza! I am on a personal quest to reduce the waste that goes on in my kitchen by being as creative as possible to use up leftovers and remnant ingredients. Pizza is a perfect helper! 8-)

Jenny said...

Really good I made it for my black and white bday party....didn't use any peppers. I used mushrooms and olives also.