Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Wine and Pizza Night

Since this was likely my last chance to hang out with my new fellow Southern buddy Josh before he moves back to DC, I decided to host an impromptu wine and pizza night. My neighbor and co-worker Ms. Goldberg is also temporarily widowed this week with her husband traveling on business, so I convinced her to bring a couple of cans of Pillsbury Pizza Crust and I'd make her dinner and the three gays would entertain her for the evening. Quite the deal for her.

Anyhoo - the pizzas were fabulous and the wine was equally tasty. The first pizza was amazing and consisted of the following:

1 Can Pillsbury Thin Crust Pizza Crust (it's new - try it! It's real good)
1/2 cup of 10 minute tomato sauce (spiked with minced garlic and lots of crushed red pepper - use Muir Glen fire roasted canned whole tomatoes to make the sauce smokier)
2 slices of thin-cut prosciutto - chopped
1/4 cup mixed gourmet sliced mushrooms (baby bella, shitake, oyster, etc)
2 cups shredded cheese (I used a blend of smoked mozzarella and provolone)
20 slices of Turkey Pepperoni

Spread the pizza crust on a 15 X 10 in rimmed baking sheet; spread evenly with slightly cooled tomato sauce; sprinkle with half of the prosciutto, half the mushrooms and about 12 slices of pepperoni.; Sprinkle with 2/3 of the cheese; Sprinkle on the remaining ingredients finishing with the cheese. Bake at 375 degrees for 15 minutes, or until crust is golden brown around edges and cheese is bubbly.

I also made a second pizza (Josh was still hungry and demanded another round - how could I say no when the wine was only half-drunk) with regular Pillsbury pizza crust. This time, I subbed in about 4 oz of fresh grated smoked cheddar but kept the other ingredients constant. The crust was a similar depth, but not as flavorful. The new pizza was, however, more pronounced in smokey flavor as the smoked cheddar played up the smoky flavors in the sauce and pushed the cured proscuitto to the forefront.

So what about the wine - I'm still a little foggy on it, but both varieties we enjoyed were quite pleasant:

1) Penfolds Koonunga Hill Shiraz Cabernet - South Australia 2006 - slightly sweet, very drinkable and smooth table wine with a little oak, berry and cherry-chocolate - perfect for casual eating

2) Natura Syrah - Valle Colchuagua 2005 - a Chilean wine with a twist made from organically grown grapes - this one had a more adventurous dimension created by the vintner's attempt to capture and showcase the terroir of the region. Thick with a little mocha and subtle dark fruit undertones. I didn't enjoy it as much, but it gave some interesting challenges to the palate that I appreciated.