A Tale of Two Pizzas

Un Racconto di Due Pizze

Due PizzeFunny the convoluted paths that some of my posts take before being published. Today’s is a case in point. Originally this was to be a post about Naan pizzas. Originally.

For almost as long as I’ve lived in Chicago, Friday night has been “little or no cook” night. When I worked in The Loop, I often went out with my workmates for a “quick one” after work, which then led to several more before food somehow made its way to the table. On other Fridays, I met friends at a nearby watering hole and we often ended up at a restaurant or in one of our apartments ordering dinner before heading out for the night. Pizza was often a part of the remaining Fridays — but they were delivered.

Much has changed in my life since then but the 2 things that have remained constant are that I don’t do a lot of cooking on Friday nights and I still love pizza. Enter Naan pizza. With Naan as my pizza crust, I can easily prepare pizza with whatever toppings I want or that I have on-hand — just like my “clean out the fridge frittata”, another Friday night favorite. And that was to be the post: making Naan pizza. Then I went to the wrong grocery store.

Naan is available at all the grocery stores where I shop — save one and, of course, that’s where I found myself on a recent Friday afternoon. I’d been running errands all morning and, once I discovered my mistake, I didn’t feel much like heading to another grocery, That’s when inspiration struck. Realizing that I had some very active sourdough starter on my counter, I decided to go traditional and make my own pizza crust. My “Naan Pizza” post suddenly became “A Tale of Two Pizzas”, one old-style and one Naan.

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Prosciutto Pizza 1*     *     *

Prosciutto Pizza Recipe

Ingredients

  • Pizza dough (Recipe follows)
  • a few tablespoons of Pistachio Pesto
  • marinated artichoke hearts, well-drained
  • several asparagus spears, chopped and briefly sautéed in butter or olive oil, drained
  • diced prosciutto
  • mozzarella (See Notes)
  • Fontina cheese, grated
  • diced prosciutto, garnish

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Directions

  1. Pre-heat oven to 425˚ F (220˚ C). Lightly coat a 9 X 13″ (23 X 33 cm) baking sheet with olive oil.
  2. Use a rolling-pin to create a rectangle with the dough. Do not try to make it as large as needed. Place the dough in the center of the baking sheet and, with your fingertips, gently move/stretch the dough until it covers the entire sheet. If the dough recoils, let it rest for 5 or 10 minutes before resuming.
  3. For a slightly thicker crust, pre-cook the crust for 10 minutes in a pre-heated oven before proceeding.
  4. Apply a light coating of pesto to the top of the crust. The less oil used, the better.
  5. Place the artichokes, asparagus, and prosciutto on the crust.
  6. Evenly arrange the mozzarella cheese before covering the entire pizza with freshly grated Fontina cheese.
  7. Bake in pre-heated oven for about 15 minutes, more or less depending upon your preference.
  8. Garnish with more diced prosciutto and let rest 5 minutes before serving.

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Pizza Crust 1*     *     *

Pizza Dough Recipe

This dough recipe is based on the Celia’s Bread #101 — A Basic Tutorial recipe in her encyclopedic blog, Fig and Lime Cordial. (Seriously, if you’re looking for a bread recipe, forget Google and head over to Celia’s.) Her recipe makes 4 crusts which is too much for me. So, I reduced the amounts but not by half. I added 50g more flour to accommodate my addition of sourdough starter, which by the way, also, came from Celia. She’s named her sourdough starter “Priscilla”, while mine has been christened “Bart, son of Priscilla”.

Ingredients

  • 300 g bread flour
  • 5 g yeast (See Notes)
  • 1/4 cup sourdough starter
  • 5 g kosher salt
  • 160 ml water
  • 25 ml olive oil

Directions

  1. Combine all ingredients and, using a stand mixer’s dough hook, knead until a nice dough forms.
  2. Separate into 2 equal parts. (Mine were 280 grams apiece.)
  3. Place each in lightly oiled, container with lid, cover, and place in a warm place for an hour or until doubled in size.
  4. Punch down dough, re-cover, and let rise again till doubled — about 1 hour more.
  5. Take one ball of dough, wrap it tightly in plastic/cling wrap, and freeze. The night before it’s needed, place in the fridge to defrost.
  6. Prepare the remaining dough ball as you would normally when making pizza.

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Now that the traditional pizza is out-of-the-way, we can turn to the “I want pizza now!” pizza recipe. These pizzas shouldn’t take more than a half hour to prepare — and that’s from start to burning the roof of your mouth. Use whatever toppings and as much of each as you like. Following the prosciutto pizza, I’ve listed 3 more, 2 of which are meatless.

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Spinach~Prosciutto Naan Pizza

Prosciutto Pizza Topped 1*     *     *

Ingredients

  • Naan
  • Pesto Genovese – get recipe HERE.
  • mozzarella (See Notes)
  • crumbled goat cheese
  • hand-torn pickled cherry bomb peppers ( See Notes)
  • fresh baby spinach, very lightly dressed with olive oil, red wine vinegar, salt & pepper (See Notes)
  • thinly sliced prosciutto

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Directions

  1. Pre-heat oven to 425˚ F (220 ˚C).
  2. Lightly coat top of the Naan with pesto.
  3. Place the mozzarella and then sprinkle with the grated goat cheese.
  4. Add the cherry bomb peppers.
  5. Bake in a pre-heated oven for 12 to 15 minutes, depending upon your preference.
  6. Remove from oven and immediately top with the dressed spinach leaves. Place torn slices of prosciutto on the top of the pizza and serve.

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Variations

Originally, the above 3 pizzas were to be part of a Naan Pizza post. Once I made a pizza using my own crust, however, these 3 took a back seat to the prosciutto pizzas. Still, they do prove my point that the topping possibilities are endless and oftentimes my Friday night pizza, much like my Friday night frittata, helps me clear out my fridge. On the left is a pizza topped with sardines and kale, the top right is an anchovy and caper pizza, while the bottom pie is made with spicy salami and kalamata olives. Click on an image to reveal that pizza’s remaining ingredients.

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Notes

When making these pizzas, I often use small mozzarella balls called ciliegine, so named because they are cherry-sized and ciliege is the Italian word for cherries. Other times, I use “mozzarella pearls” which are about half the size of ciliegine.

When using Naan for my crust, I use a baking sheet and wouldn’t suggest baking your pizza on a pizza stone. Naan is already fully cooked and it will likely burn on a pizza stone while your pizza’s toppings are being heated.

I used yeast this time around because I wasn’t sure that I’d have enough time to allow the sourdough to rise, having spent the day running errands. Normally, I start the dough in the morning and, when it’s ready, pre-bake the crust, then hold it until I’m ready to fix dinner.

Use as much or as little of any ingredient listed, according to your own preferences.

The pickled cherry bomb peppers I used here came from my garden and added a bit of heat to the pizza. Use whatever pepper/chile you prefer.

Dress the spinach leaves sparingly with oil and vinegar. Remember that any excess will drain on to your pizza.

I prefer to place the spinach on the pizza first so that the pizza’s heat will lightly wilt the leaves. You may prefer to place the prosciutto on first.

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It’s déjà vu all over again …

Pasta al SalmoneToday’s look back features Pasta al Salmone, Pasta with Salmon. I first tasted this delicious pasta while in Italy for the first time. It was love at first bite. It took me a number of years to replicate that dish but I finally did and now I can enjoy Pasta al Salmone without having to deal with airports and surly flight attendants. You can see the recipe by clicking HERE.

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Coming soon to a monitor near you …

Homemade GarganelliHomemade Garganelli Pasta

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153 thoughts on “A Tale of Two Pizzas

  1. I love that pistachio pesto. Friday night has always been pizza night for us as well! Start the dough in the morning before work, have all the ingredients ready, and hey presto, pizza in a jiffy that evening. It is a way of celebrating the work week’s end, with family and friends.

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    • If I think ahead, I’ll make a sourdough crust but, usually, it’s Friday afternoon and I’m buying Naan. I’m really surprised just how many others have “Pizza Fridays”, too. We are not alone. 🙂

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    • I agree with you on all counts. That pizza with the spinach and shaved prosciutto, whether on sourdough or Naan, is a regular Friday night visitor. You can’t buy one nearly as good.

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  2. This looks fabulous! I love naan pizzas…I really do, but I’m kind of glad the store didn’t carry them.. Because you must have been reading my mind! I was just thinking yesterday how I’d like to get a starter dough going.. Now I don’t have to search for one! Thank you for that!!
    I’m loving the combination of cherry peppers, goat cheese, pesto, prosciutto..crazy delicious!
    I look forward to the upcoming garganelli! 🙂

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    • Thanks, I’m glad you liked the post. I’ve a starter in the fridge and now keep a couple frozen in jars in the freezer. As much as I enjoy a sourdough crust, there’s a lot to be said for the convenience of using Naan.
      I just had that pizza again for dinner tonight. I’m running out of pickled peppers, though. I better pickle twice as many this Summer. 🙂

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    • Thanks, Marie. Pizza night is a sure thing around here and, according to what I’ve been reading, it’s the same in quite a few homes. I say do whatever is easiest for you. If anyone deserves a night off, you do. 🙂

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  3. Ok, so I was a bit excited when I saw you’d blogged about pizzas, but then I saw you used Bart to jazz up our old dough recipe, and THAT just made me day! Thanks so much for the shout-out, dear friend! Your pizzas all look superb, but can I just say…the goat cheese and cherry bomb one is.. well.. just the bomb! 🙂 xxx

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    • Thank you so much, Celia, both for the compliments and for “Bart”. I’m really making him work for his keep! I just made the cherry bomb, goat cheese, & prosciutto pizza for dinner again tonight. It’s soo good! 🙂

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  4. I love how you have casual and laid-back Friday nights. It’s much the same here. I consider it my ‘night off’. Like you, pizza is our first go-to option. I love your two versions and yes, naan can make a great pizza base. Another option is one of Celia’s recipes and yes, she does have a few. I didn’t know you have the son of Priscilla – he’s very well travelled. I loved your comment on my farm post about how you need to go out and make new friends! If you lived here I’d introduce you to a few of mine! xx

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    • It seems we’re not alone. According to the comments, there are many of us who opt for pizza on Fridays. And why not? It’s a crowd pleaser and they’re a great way to usher in the weekend. Yes, Priscilla is making the rounds, I’ve sent some to a friend and am in the process of making crystals to ship her off again. 🙂

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  5. Love Friday night pizza night. When we make our own crusts it’s always better! That prosciutto and spinach look wonderful. Be awesome with arugula as well.

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    • When I’ve the time and energy, I love to make my own crusts. Naan, though, makes the process so much more streamlined. I’ve used arugula, too. I usually opt for spinach because I prefer its taste when wilted over arugula — but I’m quibbling. Either one is darn good! 🙂

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  6. Two tales with an exquisite ending… the naan pizza I have to try, it looks quick and tasty. I love the toppings you used, especially the pistachio pesto and your pickled cherry bomb peppers! You have made me hungry and I just had lunch 😉

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    • Thanks, Cole. I don’t know if you’ve read the comments but it seems that from Europe, through North America, and over to NZ and Oz, Friday night is Pizza Night. I’d no idea. Have a great weekend!

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  7. Funny, I have had a naan pizza post planned for ages. Somehow I never get to it. I discovered it when staring down some leftover curry lamb meatballs and the only bread product I had was naan and no time. The curry naan pizza was born! Friday nights are pretty low key here too. Many times I call my husband and say let’s meet somewhere on the way home from work, I can’t stand to cook again! We do pizza night more on Saturdays since my husband likes to be in charge of that. I am waiting for the garden to have the first grilled pizza with fresh basil pesto, peppers and tomatoes from the garden. My mouth is drooling already. I will have to look at that dough recipe, we have one we like but I always like to test out more. Thanks for sharing.

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    • Gosh, that curry Naan pizza of yours sounds good, as does those you’re planning once your garden starts producing. Homemade pizza is so good and when the ingredients are that fresh, it cannot be beat. i do hope you find time to blog that curry pizza, as well as your pizza crust recipe. I’m more than willing to give both a try … well, once I make the curry lamb meatballs. 🙂

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  8. Everyone who does a lot of cooking deserves a night off – Friday or any other night that suits. I’ve had friends say, “why do you want a night off, you love to cook?” Only another food lover would understand.

    I’m in the mood for one of these wonderful pizzas.

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    • Thanks, Maureen, and you’re so right. I really do love to cook — just not every night. Using Naan for the crust give me all the pizza I want with very little effort. Perfect! 🙂

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  9. Friday nights are usually Fajita Fridays (also very little prep and cooking required) or naan pizza too! I usually make my own naan and it’s ridiculously easy, but the best part is that when I make a batch of naan dough, it’s enough for two so one always goes into the freezer! On my soapstone counter (nick-named the “heat sucking stone”, seriously), I can defrost it in 30 minutes, or less. It’s such a forgiving dough that once defrosted you may allow to rest and then roll out and rest again, or just roll out, rest for 20 minutes and bake off one side (at 450F on a cast iron pizza pan), flip, top with toppings and finish baking 10-15 minutes and presto, fresh naan pizza! The dough bubbles up a lot while baking giving you the traditional crunchy and chewy parts. Here is the link, delete it if you choose http://wp.me/p8neK-298
    Its been raining cats and dogs two days in a row here, and it’s been chilly, very chilly; perfect weather for making pizza, turning the oven on just takes the chill off like an old fireplace would at the cottage. At least the garden seems happy, lilacs are budding (although, I think I may have lost one if my white beauties in our awful winter), even the little Japanese lilacs have the beginnings of their little purple blooms. The bulbs are however, taking their time poking up out of the frigid ground! I have seen only a fraction of what I planted over the years, unless my squirrel-friends dined on them! Sigh, I have a bad feeling about the weather this summer…it may be filled with oven-pizzas and stews! Hope your weather is a lot nicer.

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    • Thanks, Eva, for always being so kind with your comments and for the link to your Naan recipe. I will definitely give it a try, especially being it will freeze so well. It’s been chilly here, too, with rain off and on. I think you’ve been a bit cooler, though. My lilac is budding, too, and my azaleas are in bloom, though I lost one over Winter, along with a bed of bearded iris, half of the crocus, and some daffs. I’m still waiting for 4 of the roses to resuscitate and I’m getting a little anxious. We need a few warm, sunny days for me to know for sure. Even if they revive, I’ve never lost so much in one Winter. I agree with your feelings about Summer, too. I’d heard forecasters say that our Spring would be much cooler because the ice capped Great Lakes would take longer to warm. They didn’t mention Summer but I think that was in order to avoid widespread depression among their viewers. Tomorrow is supposed to be the best day for the next 5. I hope your forecast is at least as good. Enjoy your weekend!

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  10. Friday nights are meant for pizza as far as I’m concerned. Both varieties look fabulous, as do all of the topping options. I do love a good white (sauce less) pizza and the pesto you offer looks perfect! Thanks for sharing your recipes and for posting them now…allowing me time to shop for the ingredients before this week’s Pizza Friday!

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    • Thanks, Nancy. Considering the recipes you’ve shared, I bet you’ve come up with some pretty delectable pizzas yourself. I started making pesto pizzas a number of years ago, when I had a bumper crop of basil. With my freezer full of pesto, I needed to branch out. I struck gold when I tried it on pizza. I’ve been using it ever since. I hope you had a great Pizza Friday and a great weekend.

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  11. That prosciutto pizza has my name written all over it John. Gorgeous! My girls and I LOVE making pizza. The girls roll out their own little individual pizza and put on their favourite toppings. I love the idea of using naan bread to make them. Seeing as I haven’t had the heart to be in the kitchen much, that is a great idea, one which I will probably use this week-end.

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    • I think Naan pizzas would be perfect for you, Lidia. Your girls could still be involved, each individualizing her own pie. You’ll be amazed at how quick they are to make and how relatively clean your kitchen is when you’re through. I made that prosciutto pizza again tonight. Every week I tell myself that this is the last time I make one for fear that I’ll tire of it. And every Friday I’m buying prosciutto and making one later that night. This could go on indefinitely except that tonight I opened the last jar of pickled cherry bomb peppers. Uh, oh!
      Have a great weekend, Lidia. I hope the weather is improving “up there.”

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  12. Oh, I love pizza, and your recipes sound delicious. The photos have me drooling. I really fancy the anchovy and caper one tonight. 🙂 The Pasta with salmon also looks so tempting. Thanks so much for all your delicious posts.

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  13. happy for the sourdough crust recipe–thanks! I love that you just happened to have starter on your counter 🙂 Both pizzas look like great fun.

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    • Thanks, Liz. I’ve not only got it on my counter, I’ve got a jar in the fridge and jars of it frozen, too. I’m bound and determined not to let this one “go”. 🙂

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  14. Now I am double inspired to make sourdough pizza dough. I just finished reading Serena’s post this morning… and never having had sourdough pizza crust before I’m looking forward to trying. Well, I have a bit to learn about the sourdough starter first. I also like the idea of using naan…hmmm, I’ll try that first. Did you see Serena’s post? http://foodfulife.com/2014/04/30/make-the-best-pizza-dough-part-2/

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    • Naan pizza is, by far, the easiest pizza to make. Sourdough does make a delicious crust. The only problem with is is it usually takes a bit of time to rise, unlike yeast breads. With a normal crust, I can start it in the afternoon and will have no problem with it being ready at dinner time. Sourdough is a bit more iffy and I have to start it in the morning to make sure it’s ready at dinner time. On the other hand, if it’s 4:00 and I decide I want pizza for dinner, I can run to the local grocery, buy some Naan, and pizza is served within an hour. No muss, no fuss.
      I did check out Serena’s post and her pizza crust looks fantastic. Thank you for providing the link.

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  15. Delicious. Oddly I’ve never seen anyone selling naan pizza. Considering the number of Indian restaurants there are in Britain you’d think there would be a naan pizzeria or two. I particularly like keema naan – naan dough stuffed with meat before baking in a tandoor oven 😉

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    • Thanks, MD. I live within walking distance of “Little India” and I’ve never seen naan pizzas being offered there, too. I’ve not seen keema naan, either, and it sounds like I’d enjoy one. I need to check out a few places other than my normal haunts. Sounds like a fun day, if and when the weather cooperates. Thanks for the tip.

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    • Hello! I’ve made the dough a day in advance and refrigerated it after the 2nd rise. Lightly coat it with oil, place it in an oiled container with a lid or cover with clear plastic wrap, and refrigerate for a day. Take it out of the fridge 30 minutes before needed. If you wish to keep it longer, wrap it in plastic wrap, put it in a sealable plastic bag, and freeze it for up to a month. To defrost, place it in your fridge the night before needed.
      Hope this helps. The pizza crust in the photos was made and frozen 2 weeks before.

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  16. Matt and I were just conspiring last night that we need to make some pizza and right now easy is better — Naan to the rescue. 🙂 However, when I’m back in the kitchen at full speed, sourdough pizza crust in on my list!

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    • I so agree, Judy. When time or energy are lacking. Naan is definitely the way to go. Instead of kneading dough, you can spend that time searching for exotic ingredients. Clean up is so much easier, as well. Hard to beat them.

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    • Ni pizza for a while? You need to try making a naan pizza. They’re so easy to make and much smaller than a 12-inch pie. Most importantly, they taste great!
      Have a great weekend!

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  17. Friday is usually a down night for us too, at least cooking-wise. And pizza is a bit favorite of ours. We have a problem, though. A good problem! We living withing a 5 minute walk or drive of 4 really good pizza places, so when we hanker after it, we either order out or go to the restaurant and enjoy. Thus my problem is I’m never motivated to make it! I really should — it’s been years since I’ve done it. Love both your versions, and the Naan one is particularly easy and creative. Thanks!

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    • Thank you, John. Yes, I see your “problem”. I only wish I had the same. Though there are plenty of pizza places around, none of the good ones are very close, meaning a good pizza can take well over an hour to get here — and I tip! 🙂
      A Naan pizza can be in front of me in a half-hour at most. I especially like them when I change the cheeses. Fontina, Asiago, goat, and ricotta cheeses are all fantastic and none are available from the local parlors. Even so, I wonder if I’d think so highly of them if, say, a Lou Malnati’s was just around the corner. 😀

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  18. All the versions looks so scrumptious and tasty!
    I too sometimes use Naan,or split pita bread, as a quick base, but the truth is nothing beats fresh pizza dough. Guess it’s a primal things, the smell of freshly baked breads….
    Thanks for the tip about ciliegine Mozzarella. I will look for it now that I see how nice it melts. 🙂

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    • Thank, Ronit. You are so right! Naan makes a great base but freshly made pizza dough is in another class. When looking for ciliegine, keep an eye out for “pearl” mozzarella. These are even smaller and will melt more quickly as a result. I think they’re an American invention because I’ve not seen them referenced by an Italian name anywhere.

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  19. Ah, inspiration once again! Naan is the perfect pizza base. Also, I’ve been meaning to try fresh ready made pizza dough that can be found in our local Trader Joe stores (don’t know if you have those in Chicago), I think that will be a project for next week.

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    • Thanks, Angeline. Yes, we do have Trader Joe’s here in town. I’ve always had trouble finding things when I shop there but that’s about to change. I’ve found a store nearby and by restricting my shopping to only this store, I’m determined to learn its layout. I’ll look for their pizza dough. To be honest, I’ve always got active sourdough starter on my counter now, so, it’s nothing to whip up a batch of dough for pizza the following night. And it freezes well for my next pizza night. I’m using Naan less and less.

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  20. Very tasty pizze, John. Interesting to see how ‘American’ they are 😉 I find it interesting that even in Italy both thick bottomed pizzas (like yours, usually sold in bakeries in Italy) and Napoli style thin pizzas are called ‘pizza’. My favorite homemade one is thin, margherita and then topped with arugola, balsamic, prosciutto and shaved parmezan. A bit like your spinach and prosciutto. Looking forward to the garganelli. I made them once a long time ago and they flattened too much.

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    • Thank you, Stefan. Probably the best pizza I’ve eaten was from a little place in Naples. It was a margherita and just unbelievable. I’ve made the spinach pizza with arugula but prefer the spinach. I feel spinach wilts better than the rocket does.
      The garganelli are coming but you’ll have to wait a bit more, for reasons that will become known in my next post. Oh, how mysterious! 🙂

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  21. OMG these are incredible. What a great idea to make a naan pizza. I’m a sucker for sourdough so I think I’d go with your second recipe. And i LOVE goat cheese and spinach. Wow. I normally dedicate my Friday evenings to drinking.

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    • I agree. I love to spend Friday night drinking. 😀
      Sourdough is definitely my preference but Nan pizza is so much easier. No dough to mix or raise. Only a piece of flat bread to decorate with anything you like. Do try adding some prosciutto. It is soo good. It’s even worth staying home on a Friday night for. 🙂

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  22. Excellent post John!! Yesterday I found a new place – right next to my hair stylist – which had the most amazing thin crust pizza. I ended up eating the whole thing! I chose the one named for the restaurant, which features fresh moz., black olives (I don’t know where he got them – theywere so sweet…) thin slices of pepperoni and halves of cherry tomatoes. Soooo good! I’m going try to replicate it on some Naan – if I can find any I like. The last Naan I bought – at an actual Eastern Food Store – didn’t have the taste I was looking for.

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    • Thanks, Cecile. That pizzeria sounds fantastic. Yes, we are the home of deep dish pizza and I do have my favorite place to get one BUT there is a lot to be said for a good thin crust pizza, as well. The only requirement I have, whether thick or thin crusted, is that the crust not be soggy. That will ruin the pizza for me.
      Although I live with a few blocks from the strip called Little India, the Naan I use I discovered at my Italian market. Aficionados may not like it but my garlic Naan makes a mean pizza. 🙂

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  23. I love pizza night! Admittedly my pizza night has turned into sushi night. Still pizza makes it’s way to my plate at least every other week. We used to eat pizza every Friday night when we lived in the city too. It was always a glutinous feast – thin crust garlic pizza followed by a deep dish sausage pizza. Mmmm. Oh – and don’t forget the plate of fried calamari. Probably better on our arteries that we don’t live across the street from the pizza place anymore. 😉

    I love the idea to use naan as a crust. That’s such a simple and fast way to fix up a pizza. The kids will love this too. They’ll have a blast creating their own individual pizzas. And I have no doubt your pistachio pesto will make it’s way onto a few of them as well. Now I just have to find a good place to get naan. I’m sure there’s a dozen stores around here that have it, I just have never sought it out. That’s about to change! And as for the ciliegene, well, Miss A pops those as a snack quite frequently. I don’t know that they’d make it to her pizza. Have a great day John!

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    • You nailed it! This is the main reason I quit ordering pizza. It’s too easy to add on calamari, maybe a salad, a beverage and, $35.00 & 90 minutes later, I’m waiting at the door with $10 in my hand to tip the driver. An hour later I’m snoring on the couch. My Naan nights are so much quicker and cheaper. And I’m not in a food coma when they end.
      Naan are great for a pizza party. You can get garlic flavored, original, or whole wheat Naan. Just set out the toppings and let every one have at them. The SousChefs are going to have a great time. It a pizza doesn’t get at least 3 stars, they can only blame themselves. 🙂 Tell Miss A that I pop ’em too. I should have enough to make enough pizzas for a few weeks but I always seem to be short.

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  24. Both pizzas look so rich, warm and tasty! They are very creative in their toppings, as well. I do love a classic or pistachio pesto on a pizza. Pizza “A” looks to be extremely portable; it would make a great lunch at work with a little salad! I can’t wait to see your upcoming post on fresh pasta, John. Your blog makes me ravenous!

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    • You’re always so generous, Shanna, with your comments. Thank you. Pizza A is really portable because you can easily cut pieces and take them with you. The Naan isn’t quite as easy to carry but what it lacks in portability it makes up for in taste. As you’ll soon see in my next post, the garganelli will have to wait. In the meantime, I’ve created a “Handmade Pasta” page with links to all of the pastas I’ve made from scratch and shared. I hope that will tide you over. 🙂

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    • Thank you and I hope your Dad’s starter works for you. I’ve not only got some on my counter, I’ve got a jar in my fridge, and crystals & more starter in my freezer. I am bound and determined not to “lose” this one. 🙂

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  25. Oh yum…..nobody does pizza better than Chicago…..and now Chicago John! I make my own pizza as well and even have my sauce shipped in from Chicago’s Pastorelli Foods (not distributed much out west).

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    • Oh, you’re too kind. Thank you. A few years ago, I stopped using pizza sauce. I like using diced tomatoes — fresh or canned — that I season with oregano once they’re drained and placed on the pizza. They taste fresher to me than a sauce does. I will look for Pastorelli’s pizza sauce, though. I make pizza often enough that there’s room for experimentation. 🙂

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  26. I should have known that you wouldn’t be showing us just ONE pizza option. I can’t say that I’d be able to pick just one because they all look indescribably good. I notice that you’re like me, going with what I call a ‘white’ pizza (not tomato sauce based). My husband could eat pizza every night but he really loves one I make with caramelized onions on the bottom. As you say though, the toppings are endless. I’m really going to have to look into this Naan more since the pizza from scratch can take so long. What section is it found in…refrigerated?

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    • Thanks, Diane. There were more pizzas to write about but this post would have gone on forever. I’m with your husband, i could eat pizza — with a pasta break — all the time. Your idea of caramelized onions sounds terrific. Why didn’t I think of that? That would be so much better than a sauce-based pizza.
      Depending upon the store, Naan can be found — sometimes in its own display rack — in the area where freshly baked bread is sold, or, among the flat breads in the sliced bread aisle. The ones I normally buy come 2 to a package and each is slightly larger than an NYC thin slice. Whole Foods sells smaller ones, 4 to a package. They come in regular, garlic flavor, or whole wheat. Naan aficionados will probably object to these but, for pizza, they cannot be beat. I don’t have any on hand and cannot remember the brand name. I’ll come back with it, though, the next time I have pizza night. Um … that would be this Friday. 🙂

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  27. one of my favorite books is Tale of Two Cities… so I opened your post with a smile, but of course, I always have a smile when I come here. Part of your aura..

    Sourdough starter: I am the Mother of Dan, named after Dan Lepard… I should bring Dan out to play soon… I’ve been cheating and using commercial yeast lately, am I too naughty?

    John, if you are going to blog on HOMEMADE garganelli, I might need to take Prozac before opening your post – I will feel too much like a blogger-wimp. It sounds like such an overwhelming cooking project!

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    • Thanks, Sally. I wanted to continue the allusion but no matter how I did it, I couldn’t get passed the first lines. It was the best of pizzas, it was the worst of pizzas? No! It was the best of crusts, it was the worst of crusts? No! Etc, etc, etc.
      I’ve only had Bart for a few months but he sure is going strong. I’ve got back-up Barts in the freezer, in the fridge, and in crystal form, not to mention the one on the counter. In the past, my starters (Blanch, Rose, Dorothy, and Sophia) have all met untimely deaths. I’m bound and determined not to let this happen to Bart.
      I hate to tell you this but, due to unforeseen circumstances – which will soon become known to you all – the garganelli post has been delayed. Even so, the pasta is not at all hard to make. In fact, it’s one of the easier ones to make. A for the delay, I assure you it’s for a good reason. Stay tuned … 🙂

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  28. Oh what fun! Have ‘cheated’ with naan [and a few other flatbreads] forever and love your fillings. But really think your prosciutto one so elegant with its toppings – the pesto [yes, have made!], artichoke hearts and asparagus present such a stylish picture. Have not seen mozzarella balls as small as yours here rurally, but we have a number of very interesting buffalo mozzarellas in small plastic tubs measuring about 1 1/2 to 2 cms across

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    • Hello, Eha! I do love a good sourdough pizza crust but I just don’t want to spend a day fussing with dough. Naan or any flatbread makes things so much easier. As for the toppings, you’d be surprised what I’ve used. I really do clean out my fridge sometimes and it all ends up on a Naan. Cover it with a thick layer of cheese and dinner is served! I wish I could find mozzarella di bufala like you’ve described. (Notice the spelling? I’m practicing my Italian.) I’ve only found it in 1 lb (450g) balls. I still use them, hand tearing pieces and placing them atop the pizza.
      I hope you’re getting some rest. I know you’ve been up nights watching your boys cycle. 🙂

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    • Thanks, Margot. That is a great crust and it freezes very well. Having dough in the freezer makes it just about as easy as using Naan but the oven smells better. 🙂

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  29. For a long time, Friday night was “give Mom a break night” and pizza was always on the menu (the kids at least agreed on that). I have been carb-deprived and right now the prosciutto pizza in calling me. And I shall answer.

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    • Good for you. I’ve always been an anchovy pizza guy but, I must admit, my love for prosciutto pizza knows no bounds. It is now my favorite. I say, go for it!! 🙂

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  30. Enjoyed thinking of you in Chicago on Friday nights, John. I want to start a sourdough. I like the idea of naming it!
    Your pizza looks excellent. And I know it is delicious

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    • Oh, Ruth. We had such a good time on Friday nights, some going on until 4 or 5 in the morning. I cannot imagine doing that now. “What a drag it is getting old.”
      Thanks, Ruth, for never missing an opportunity to comment. 🙂

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  31. Oh em ge! these look absolutely tasty. I have a few old go to pizza recipes…but I haven’t tried any new ones. I’m gonna use this recipe when I’ll make my next pizza! 🙂

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  32. I can’t believe I never thought of using naan before! It’s pretty much everywhere, as you note, and I love it just as it is, but as pizza, of course! This sounds wonderful. And the toppings sound like a great combination. I think making Friday night pizza night is a really good idea! I have recently made mini brioche pizzas as appetizers. I found it in a cookbook given to me at Christmas, and they are so good. If I had any ability to take decent food photos I might post that myself. LOL! Alas…I do not. But I’ll suggest you try that sometime…just for fun. Brioche is too rich for a large pizza, but for appetizers, really fun! Look at me…giving you a recipe idea. Ha! Friday night we’re having naan pizza! Thank you!

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    • Hello, Debra. Thank you for the complements. You’re too kind. Now, what’s this about not taking photos. Are you kidding me? I’ve filled these web pages with many rotten photos. You’ll do much better. Trust me. People are very kind and really only want to see the recipe. Your brioche pizza appetizers sound wonderful. You really should make them and post the recipe.
      I hope you did make Naan pizzas and do try them again with your girls. They can let their culinary creativity soar and end up with a great dinner, too. Best of all, your kitchen shouldn’t look like a cyclone hit it, as it would if you all made dough. Have a great week, Debra.

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  33. Bouno Sera John, I agree there needs to be one do not cook day and Friday pizza night is perfect. Well that just means my kids cook instead and the naan bread idea is great as they can really mix and match their topping like you did. I must say I am kind of partial to proscuito and spinach but I also love marinated artichokes. Can I have a slice of each please? Looking bake at the Pasta al Salmone recipe is making me hungry. I hope you are doing well. Take Care, BAM

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    • Buongiorno, BAM! Naan pizzas are meant for your boys. They’ll love it and you won’t have a big mess to clean up, like you would if pizza dough was being made. Naan are great for pizza parties, too. Everyone can grab one and make their own dinner. As host, all I do is sip my cocktail until everyone’s fed. Easy peasy!
      I fell in love with pasta al salmone during my first trip to Italy and that love hasn’t waned one bit. Be sure to check out my next post. 🙂
      Have a great week, BAM!

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  34. I think Friday night is the cook’s night off (sort of) in so many places – here it’s often take away or curry or pizza night 🙂 Love the idea of using a naan base – I could almost have curry night and pizza night all in one! But don’t make me choose John as I’d like a big slice of each please…

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    • Hello, Tanya! You’re right. Reading through the comments, Friday night is pizza night from one of the globe to the other. I never realized how widespread it is. I need to learn how to make a few quick curries, though. It would be nice to have No Cook Saturday nights, too. 😉

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  35. I wish I had no cook nights 😦 Sometimes it feels like I never leave the kitchen! The only times I get the treat of not caking is wen I’m laid up in bed with a bad knee! Then it’s mediocre pizza. Nothing like these beauties. I absolutely love naan and the million things you can do with it. Naan pizza is one of my favourites. Now, the sourdough dough is quite thrilling too! I’ve been meaning to start my own Colorado sour dough, but it hasn’t materialised yet. Hopefully, sometime this summer and then I’ll be making me some pizza! Hope you’re having a great week, John!

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    • I fully understand, Nazneen. You’ve a family depending upon you for their meals. It’s hard to introduce a change to the routine and still please everyone. I’m sure my Mom felt much the same way oftentimes.
      I thought you would know about Naan pizzas. I should have come to you for your expert opinion before posting this. They are very good, aren’t they? They really have become my Friday night dinner. And I love them!
      I hope you, too, are having a great week, Nazneen.

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  36. I hear you John, easy pizza is music to my ears! I just love the idea of asparagus, artichoke hearts and of course pesto on pizza. I love pesto on pizza and it’s been a long time since I added artichoke. That has me craving it again, sounds delicious!

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    • Thanks, Brandi. With this being asparagus season, how could I not make a pizza with the tasty spears on top? Believe me, there will be more to follow. Pesto, to me, is so much better than a pizza sauce. Love the flavor it brings to the crust. I’m glad you liked the post.

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  37. We love to make pizza at our house because it’s so creative. But I never make my own pizza crust because I’m never happy with the crust I make. However, I like the idea of a sourdough crust. I’m bookmarking this page for Future Reference.

    So glad to see this pizza post. It really is a fabulous meal.

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    • Thanks, Ruth. I remember as a boy what a treat it was when Mom made pizza on a Saturday night. Being Catholic, meatless Fridays were still the rule. No pepperoni meant no pizza. Now, many decades later, I still view homemade pizza as a treat. Using Naan delivers that treat so much quicker. Either way, though, it sure is a great meal. I’m glad you liked the post and hope you’ll like the sourdough crust, as well.

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  38. Friday is cocktail night for me and therefore I don’t cook! Coming to your house for pizza seems like a good plan. I use naan, too and I also use bobolis. Unfortunately, we have not found a good pizza place near us. Love your combos! Good post, John. who doesn’t love pizza?

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    • Wait a minute. Why can’t I come to your house for a cocktail. If you make ’em right, we won’t give a damn about pizza in about an hour or so. 😀
      I’ve used boboli, too, but they are larger than Naan and, for me, that means leftover pizza. Leftover pizza has a very short shelf-life here. Naan is forced portion control for me. I am glad you enjoyed the post, Abbe. And don’t worry, I’ll supply the pizza and cocktails if you show up at my door. 🙂

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  39. You have saved our Friday nights 🙂 Our habit of Friday night DIY pizza backslid to home delivery from a new local Italian restaurant but then their quality and service inevitably backslid. So problematic to get good home delivery pizza around Newtown – ordinary abounds! But we do have a great Indian restaurant I can call into on my walk home, who make the best [garlic] nana, 2 doors down from a quite good little grocer if toppings need to be stocked up on. Last night we devoured our lovely creations – mine was pancetta, green olives, artichokes and goats cheese, the G.O.’s 2 x salamis and olives while watching Australia vs New Zealand rugby league on TV, and said a quiet thank you to you – did you hear it from all this way. And, we have leftovers for breakfast, which as it’s rainy and cool is a good thing.

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    • You’ve made my night, EllaDee. I’m finally getting caught up with the blog and your gracious comment is just what I needed to carry on till the end! How fortunate to have a great source of Naan so near to you. You’ve given me an idea, too. I live a few blocks from “Little India” and something tells me I could get some very good, freshly made Naan there on a Friday afternoon. My Naan pizza are about to take a giant leap up, thanks to you I, too, have used pancetta on my pizzas, as well as a good salami. Really, it i so hard to make a bad pizza. You really have to try and, if you succeed, just add more cheese and I bet it will still taste OK. I’m glad you liked the post and hope your week is going well.

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  40. Firstly, once again, I am going to unfollow then follow you again because your lovely posts are still not coming to my email and secondly YUM!!! and thirdly thank you for the link to Celia’s pizza base recipe, I was going to troll through and find it and you have done all the hard work for me! My sourdough starter that came from your starter that came from celia’s Priscilla is still going very well, it is such an active wee thing. My Dad has one too now! Love love.. c

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    • I’m having the same problem with another’s site, Celi, and it’s irritating. I’ve tried everything and still don’t receive notifications. If I remember, I’ll send an email to Support about the problems. Maybe they can do something about it for us — in the next 10 days. 😉
      Celia’s starter is such an active thing. I’ve some in the freezer and, if I take it out in the morning and feed it once it thaws, I can bake with it the next day. None of my starters have ever been this good.
      It will be interesting for us to bake something in a year, using the same recipe, and see the differences in taste between our 2 starters. They’ll be different but I wonder how much. We’ll have to find out. Hope you’re having a good day.

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  41. I love this idea because I can recruit the kids to help with these. Of course they don’t look quite as nice as yours… We made a version of the prosciutto (since I had leftover from our last post!) and it was great. The boys have requested we try all of these EXCEPT the sardines!

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    • Exactly! I’ve used Naan for pizza parties and you can do the same with your Boys — and there will be no mess from making the dough. Flour + 3 Boys = Trouble.
      Yeah, sardines may be a bit much for them. Glad you didn’t force the issue. I would hate to see my name in their very negative review of Naan Pizza Night. Glad you all enjoyed the pizzas. 🙂

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  42. This is a truly delicious post John! I’ve never thought of making naan pizza (mostly as I don’t really have any good places to buy naan over here, other than the Indian reastaurant… but then I get curry to go with it!) but I love your variations. I imagine that it must make a delicious pizza base! As for Celia’s sourdough crust? YUM. You are so right, she is a cooking legend in blogging circles. I’ve consulted her blog many times for bread tips! Loving your Friday night tradition. I might just have to start that in our household too! 🙂

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    • Thanks, Laura. I’ve told Celia that if this keeps up, I’ll just rename my blog “Fig and Lime Cordial, USA Branch.” I refer to her blog all of the time — and she is such a lovely person, too. A real bright spot in the blogosphere.
      Funny you mentioned an Indian restaurant. EllaDee mentioned that she bought Naan from a nearby Indian restaurant before making Naan pizza. I live a few blocks away from Little India. Guess where I’ll be shopping for Naan next Friday afternoon? Why didn’t I think of that? I’m glad you enjoyed the post and, c’mon, Laura, jump on the bandwagon. Join the No-Cook Friday Brigade. 🙂

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  43. Oh, wow! A tale that melts in your mouth delightfully bite after bite. Now I’m dreaming of being in Pizza heaven floating on cloud 9 as I savor each flavor, texture and all that pizza goodness. Yum!

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    • Wow! Pizza heaven? You must really love your pizza. Sounds like there must be a little Italian somewhere in your ancestry. 🙂
      I hope you and your loving family are having a great week.

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  44. These look delicious John. I know how wonderful homemade pizza dough is. My dad made/makes (he still does whenever I’m home) homemade pizzas for us pretty much every weekend. I’ve yet to perfect my own pizza dough skills but in a pinch when I don’t have the time to spend making dough what a great idea naan pizza is! I love naan, thanks for the fabulous inspiration.

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    • Thanks. You pretty much recapped the post, Laura. You can make the dough if you’ve got the time — or a wiling Dad — but if you don’t, Naan to the rescue! It is so quick and easy to make a Naan pizza, you may even let that sweet girl of yours make her own — under your watchful eye, of course. You’ve reminded me. I’ve got to get out and get my Naan for tomorrow. It’s pizza night again! 🙂

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  45. Great idea with the naan John – not too dissimilar ‘bread’. Both look great. Interested in your comment about the sourdough for the base – a local pizza place used sourdough and I’ve been meaning to try it myself since. Time permitting….

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    • Thanks, Phil. Using Naan for the crust is so easy. Serving pizza for myself or a group is no problem at all. In fact, everyone can make their own and I’m free to do what I do best: enjoy a beer.
      Do try the sourdough. It adds another flavor element to pizza. I enjoy it.

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  46. Naanpizzas are an all timefa in my house,and as we eat a lot of them,I end upbuying frozen ones from Indian grocery stores. I love the versions you hae here…..Friday nights I also am inclined to take it easy, but then I tend to take it easy on Sat and SUnday as well…hahaha!!

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    • Ha! As a Mom, I doubt you get to take it easy that often, Minnie. You’re always “on duty”. I thought that you would know all about Naan pizzas. They are good, aren’t they? I need to head over to Little India and find some freshly-made Naan for my next pizza night. I live close enough that the Naan would still be warm when I got it home. Now that will make some great pizzas! 🙂

      Like

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