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Posts Tagged ‘Pizza’

Pizza Pizzazz

Written on December 12th, 2009 by 2 shouts

PizzazMost people are delighted to eat pizza several times a week, it’s a staple dish everyone loves.  You can save lots of money if you make your own crust, and the toppings are easy to assemble.

A few years ago, Julie gave us a Pizzazz Pizza Maker for Christmas and we’ve been making our own pizzas ever since.  It has turned out to be the center of many parties, the easiest, most creative way to use leftovers, and the most useful appliance I own.

Once I start thinking about toppings, the sky’s the limit!  Each pizza is different.  David tried to write a recipe for his very favorite pizza, but we haven’t been able to duplicate it.  This is real one-of-a-kind, “designer-style” pizza!

I’ve tried many, many recipes for the crust, which seems to be the biggest challenge in making pizzas with the Pizzazz maker.  Finally, I found the perfect recipe for pizza crust in my now-favorite cookbook, The Ultimate Collection, by Alison Holst.    The longer the dough is allowed to rise, the more tender the crust.

2 teaspoons active dry yeast
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons warm water
2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons olilve oil
3 cups flour

Measure the first 5 ingredients into a large bowl with 1 cup flour and mix thoroughly. Cover and leave for at least 15 minutes in a warm place. Stir in the remaining flour, adding extra, if necessary to make the dough firm enough to knead.  Knead for 10 minutes by hand or with an electric mixer until it forms a soft ball and springs back when pressed lightly.

I use my Kitchenaid electric mixer to do the kneading.  It saves my effort, I couldn’t be without it.  Drip a few drops of olive oil on the dough ball and turn it around in the bowl.  Cover with a kitchen towel and let rise at least 30 minutes.   Then, oil the cooking pan and press half the dough out with your fingers to make the crust.pizasauce3

The best pizza sauces are available in Boquete for about 85 cents a packet.  They come in mushroom, meat, vegetable, garlic and many other varieties.  They are exactly the right amount to use on a Pizzazz pizza.

Use your imagination when laying out your toppings, pepperoni, chopped garlic, oregano, basil, onions, anchovies, cooked sausage, roasted red peppers, ham, sliced black olives, or anything you like.  Top with sliced or grated  mozzarella cheese and start up your Pizzazz.

We like to sprinkle the oil that comes packed with anchovies on top at the very last minute.  As the pizza bakes, we pour a glass of good red wine and enjoy the aroma as we watch the pizza brown.   We set out our pizza cutter, grated Parmesan cheese and dried red peppers.  The rest of the evening is pure delight!pizza

Il Pianista Means Italian

Written on November 2nd, 2009 by no shouts

IlPianistaIl Pianista is a tiny restaurant tucked up on the Alto Lino loop on the side of the Palo Alto River where two waterfalls converge.  Hence the name “Pianista”.  The waterfalls sound like a piano playing as you enjoy Giovanni’s famous Italian cuisine.  Doris Day and husband, Giovanni specialize in pizza, lasagna and pasta dishes, prepared with their “secret” sauce.

The first sign of the restaurant is the Italian chef standing out front offering you the specials of the day.  No, that’s not Giovanni, but he’s just as handsome.

The stone restaurant, which was once a boat house, is decorated with lovely paintings, plants and table settings to give a cozy, comfortable atmosphere.  We ordered an onion, garlic and pepperoni pizza, and it came loaded with “real” mozzarella cheese and the crust was exactly to our liking.  You can see the strings of cheese dripping along the plate, yum.    pianistapizza

Anyone can tell that Doris and Giovanni enjoy their work, they are always smiling and chatting with their customers.  Last night, there were lots of folks to chat with.  A family of four visiting from Canada found their way up the Alto Lino loop to enjoy lasagna, crusty bread, wine and batidos, fruit drinks made with fresh fruits and ice cream.

I noticed a couple of diners admiring some of the artwork at Il Pianista.  This painting compliments the sound of the waterfalls outside the window.Pianista
The prices at Il Pianista are reasonable, considering the amount of care Giovanni puts into his specialties. If you’re looking for “designer” Italian cuisine, this is the place not to miss while you’re in Boquete.  To get there,  just drive across the new bridge in the town center and turn left, that’s the “Alto Lino” loop. Il Pianista will be on your right about 2 miles from town, just past Finca Arco Iris.  After dinner, keep driving along the loop and you’ll return back into the town center.   Buon Appetito!

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