An Italian Dinner Party: Bruschetta, Pizza, and Flourless Chocolate Cake

This past weekend we had our friends Katie and Richard over for dinner.  At Alec’s suggestion we decided to do our homemade pizza–a big favorite of his in particular.  For appetizers I made some bruschetta and olive tapenade.  I thought the dinner turned out quite well.  It is a nice way to do pizza because no one needs to agree.  Every can just make their own half of a pizza.  We all had a nice time, and I can’t wait to have them over again.

I am going to save the tapenade recipe for another post (I am keeping this short because the baby is sick, and I am a little short on time here because of it).  Apparently it is actually French, though I usually eat it with either Italian or Middle Eastern food.  We served the appetizers with a French bread that Alec made (he is good at making bread).  However, feel free to serve this with any crusty white bread.

Bruschetta Recipe

This is not a very exact recipe.  Please adjust the quantities according to your own tastes.

Ingredients:

4 tomatoes chopped

2 shallots chopped small

2 cloves garlic finely chopped or put through a garlic press

Basil, preferable fresh but dried is fine

a pinch or so of sugar

olive oil

balsamic vinegar

salt and pepper to taste

Mix everything together and let it marinade for a bit.  I left mine for about an hour which worked just fine.

I served this with slices of fresh mozzarella.

The Pizza

Ingredients:

4 1/4 cups of bread flour (it must be bread flour otherwise it will not turn out)

1 yeast packet or 2 1/4 teaspoons yeast

1 1/2 teaspoons of salt

Put all this in a food processor and pulse a few times to mix.

Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil

Add 1 1/2 cups of warm-hot water

Run the food processor until it blends into a ball.  Take it out of the processor, make sure it is in a ball shape.  Put it in a greased bowl and it let it raise for about 2 hours.

This makes enough for two pizza dough crusts.  Cut the dough in half and roll into rounds.  The dough is ready for toppings at this point.  You do not need to pre-bake anything.

Top the crust with your toppings of choice.  Bake for 8-10 minutes at 500 degrees.  It is best if you can do this on a pizza stone.  This recipe is originally from the America’s Test Kitchen.  I have made it so many times I just do it from memory so it is not exactly the same.  You can also use this crust for a pretty good stromboli.

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