Friday, January 23, 2015

Pizza "Rotolos" with Layered Pizza Dough, Homemade Creamy Ricotta Cheese, Slices of Mortadella, + Rustic Pistachio Pesto

My inspiration for the recipe creations featured on H+H come from multiple places. But some of my favorite dishes come about by just eating at restaurants. And today's recipe is just exactly that. My Mountain Man and I were watching a new special series called "Best Ever" on the Food Network, and the first episode revolved around the best pizzas around the country. To be honest, all of them looked amazing, and even Antico Pizza from Atlanta made the top ten (yay). However, one specific idea stole my heart and practically peer pressured me to try and recreate it the next day. It hails from Pizza Vetri in Philadelphia and they are known for their pizza "rotolos". This signature dish is comprised of pizza dough, mortadella, ricotta cheese, and a topping of pistachio pesto. Think of it like a hybrid, combining the technique of making cinnamon rolls, but with the ingredients of a calzone. I started the process by making a batch of my favorite pizza dough recipe, letting it proof overnight, and then separating it into three equal dough balls. Next, roll out the pizza doughs into rectangles (try to use minimal flour because we want them to stick together), and then stack all of the dough rectangles on top of one another and, using the rolling pin again, make sure the layered dough is rolled out to about ¼ - ½ inch thick and rectangular in shape. This process is very similar to making homemade, laminated croissant dough, so that it creates a flakier pizza dough once it is baked. 
 After your dough has finished being prepped, it's time to add the yummy fillings in layers of sliced mortadella, followed by spreading on some homemade creamy ricotta cheese. Season the top of the ricotta with a little bit of kosher salt + cracked pepper and finish it all up with some freshly grated parmesan cheese. All you have to do now is roll this bad boy up into a long log. 
 Now that all the fillings are added to the mix, roll the dough (making sure to keep it as tight as possible) and pinch the seam, so that the ricotta cheese will not melt out onto your baking sheet. You can decide for yourself how thick/big you want each individual rotolo to be, but we decided to make eight rolls. Place the finished rotolos onto silpat-lined baking sheet and bake in the oven until they have reached a golden brown color on the outside, as well as some melting of the ricotta cheese, while also making sure that the center of the dough is completely cooked through (we don't want any gummy, unbaked pizza dough here). Remove them from the oven and top the rotolos with some homemade rustic pistachio pesto while they are still warm. I loved the texture of the pesto because it had such a nice crunch from the toasted pistachios, but was also just as aromatic as a blended pesto. Well, I'm glad to report that these rotolos turned out fabulous and we will most certainly be making these again in the near future. So, I think y'all should give it a try!! If you don't want to make every component by scratch, like I did, you could easily go pick up the pizza dough, ricotta, and pesto at your local grocery store. It's extremely versatile and could also be used with any type of charcuterie, creamy cheese, and Italian based sauce!! Enjoy :)

For the Pizza Dough:

3 ¾C AP Flour (plus a little extra for when you roll out the finished dough)

2t Sea Salt + 1t Sugar

¼t Active Dry Yeast

1 ½C Water

For the Homemade Creamy Ricotta:

3C Whole Milk

1C Heavy Cream

½t Kosher Salt

3T Freshly Squeezed Lemon Juice

For the Rustic Pistachio Pesto:

1C Shelled Pistachios (½C should be coarsely chopped & ½C should be finely chopped)

2C Fresh Basil, Finely Chopped

3-4 Larges Cloves of Garlic, Finely Minced (it can also be grated or pressed)

½t Dried Red Pepper Flakes

2T Fresh Lemon Juice (also zest the lemon before juicing it, and add it to the mixture)

2T White Balsamic Vinegar + 1T Honey (you can add more honey, if you like it sweeter like me)

¾C Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Kosher Salt & Fresh Cracked Pepper, To Taste

For the Pizza “Rotolos”:

Prepared Pizza Dough (the dough should be separated into three balls of dough)

1lb of Sliced Mortadella

Prepared Creamy Ricotta Cheese

Kosher Salt & Fresh Cracked Pepper, To Taste

Freshly Grated Parmesan (enough to cover the ricotta or to your preference)

Prepared Rustic Pistachio Pesto

1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees and line a baking sheet with a Silpat. Set it aside.
2. For the Pizza Dough: Whisk flour, salt, and yeast in a medium bowl. While stirring with a wooden spoon, gradually add 1.5 cups water; stir until well incorporated. Mix dough gently with your hands to bring it together and form into a rough ball. Transfer to a large clean bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let dough rise at room temperature in a draft-free area until surface is covered with tiny bubbles and dough has more than doubled in size, preferably 18 hours (but anywhere between 12-18 hours would work as well). Transfer dough to a floured work surface. Gently shape into a rough rectangle. Divide into 3 equal portions. Working with 1 portion at a time, gather 4 corners to center to create 4 folds. Turn seam side down and mold gently into a ball. Dust dough with flour; set aside on work surface or a floured baking sheet. Repeat with remaining portions. Let dough rest, covered with plastic wrap or a damp kitchen towel, until soft and pliable, about 1 hour.
3. For the Homemade Creamy Ricotta Cheese: Pour the milk, heavy cream, and salt into a 3Q non-reactive saucepan. Attach a candy or deep-fryer thermometer. Heat the milk to 190 degrees, stirring it occasionally to keep it from scorching on the bottom. Remove from heat and add in the lemon juice, then stir it once or twice (gently + slowly). Let the pot sit undisturbed for about 5 minutes. Line a colander with a few layers of cheesecloth and place it over a large bowl (to catch the whey). Pour the curds and whey into the colander and let the curds strain for at least an hour. After an hour, you should have a tender, spreadable ricotta. At two hours, it will be spreadable, but a bit firmer (similar to the consistency of cream cheese). This ricotta will firm as it cools. Use the ricotta right away for maximum flavor + creaminess.
4. For the Rustic Pistachio Pesto: Place the shelled pistachios into a medium-sized sauté pan over medium heat (do not add oil). Toast the pistachios for 2-5 minutes until they are lightly browned + being to release a nutty fragrance. Coarsely chop half of the toasted pistachios, so that you’ll have some amazing texture when you spoon it over the tops of the “Rotolos”. Place the coarsely chopped pistachios into a mixing bowl and set it aside. In the bowl of a food processor, add in all of the fresh basil leaves, the 4 large cloves of garlic, the remaining half of the toasted pistachios, fleur de sel, + fresh cracked pepper. Pulse this mixture until every ingredient finely chopped/minced, but without turning it into a puree. You want this mixture to remain rustic + slightly chunky in texture. Using a rubber spatula, scoop out the minced basil-garlic-pistachio and put it into the bowl with the coarsely chopped pistachios. In a small bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, white balsamic vinegar, and honey. Then mix it until the honey completely dissolves into the lemon juice + white balsamic vinegar. Add this liquid mixture to the bowl of the prepped pesto components and stir to combine. Lastly, pour in the olive oil and gently stir until you reach a cohesive mixture. Season it with salt, pepper, and sugar to taste (if needed). Set this pistachio pesto aside until you begin assembling the “Rotolos".
5. Preparing & Assembling the “Rotolos”: After your dough as rested for one hour, it is time to layer the pizza dough for optimal texture. Take one of the pizza dough and roll it out to about ¼inch thick, and follow this process with the two remaining dough balls. Once they have been rolled out, stack the three rolled pizza dough balls on top of one another. Using the rolling pin again, roll the pizza dough stack out until the layers become one and also reach a thickness of ¼ to ½ inch thick (by stacking the dough and rolling it into one rectangle, you will create a flakier “rotolo”, similar to how a croissant is made with its’ buttery layers). Now, it’s time to assemble the “rotolos”. Evenly lay out the slices of Mortadella all over the pizza dough, followed by spreading (or using a dollop method) all of the ricotta on top of the Mortadella. Try to make sure that all of the dough is completely covered, but also leaving about ½-1inch borders, so that the ricotta cheese will not spill out. Sprinkle the top of the ricotta with some salt, pepper, & freshly grated Parmesan for extra seasoning. Lightly press down the grated Parmesan into the ricotta, in order to keep it from falling out. Now, starting at the opposite end, begin rolling the Mortadella + ricotta filled dough in a neat line towards you. Keep the roll relatively tight as you go. Next, pinch the seam of the rotolo to seal it. Cut the rotolo into rounds (you can do as thick or thin as you like, we ended up making 8 rotolos total). Place the rotolos onto your prepared silpat-line baking sheet. Sprinkle with the tops of the rotolos with a little more salt & pepper, if you like. 
6. Baking the “Rotolos”: Place the baking sheet into your preheated oven and bake the rotolos for 25-35 minutes (depending on the heat of your oven, the time can vary depending on how thick you cut them, so you have to watch them closely). You can tell that the rotolos are done when they have puffed up, reached a golden brown color, and the ricotta has begun to ooze out a little. Also, it is important that you allow the rotolos enough time in the oven, so that the middle of the rolls are completely cooked through and no raw dough remains in the center.
7. Serving the “Rotolos”: When the rotolos are done baking, generously spoon some of the rustic pistachio pesto over the tops of the rolls until the pesto cascades over and drips down the sides. Garnish the rotolos with a mound of freshly grated Parmesan and eat while they are still warm!

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

#instagrub: Eggplant Parmesan with Homemade Brown Butter-Heirloom Tomato Sauce, Creamy Burrata Cheese, Fresh Basil, + a Drizzle of Balsamic Reduction

Eggplant Parmesan with Homemade Brown Butter-Heirloom Tomato Sauce, Creamy Burrata Cheese, Fresh Basil, + a Drizzle of Balsamic Reduction
Tag team, back againnnnnn. It's our official first recipe of the new year!! Hip-hip-hooYAY. Anyway, it's been pretty dreary here in Atlanta. Not only has it been 20-30 degrees outside, but it's raining too, which makes it 10x worse. But with all things in this world, you gotta find that silver lining. With cold weather comes sitting by the fire, wearing cozy sweaters, and eating hearty, warm + toasty, food. That means, we will be eating a-shit-ton of casseroles, soups, pot roast, and roasted winter vegetables. One of those go-to dishes for us is Eggplant Parmesan. Because, lez'be'honest, crispy fried food + melty cheese are practically synonymous with comfort. And as always, I had to give this Italian classic a little oomph. Slices of eggplant are coated into crunchy herbed panko breadcrumbs and fried until golden brown + crispy on the outside and have reached a soft eggplant velvet on the inside. I don't know about you, but I'm jealous of the eggplant, I want to be velvet on the inside... amirite? Instead of the traditional marinara that is thinner and heavy on the tomato paste flavor, I decided to make a tomato sauce by browning a heap of butter until nutty in fragrance, followed by throwing in a mound of baby heirloom tomatoes, so that they can caramelize until they burst. This fresh brown butter-heirloom tomato sauce is oh-so-simple, yet surprisingly equal in flavor to any other sauce I've ever made. More importantly, it thickens to almost a tomato jam-like consistency, which I think lends to a way better Eggplant Parmesan because it maintains great layers and also does not make the fried eggplant any less crispy. That's called a "win-win" y'all. Arguably the best part of any dish is the cheese component. And in this case, it is amped up with something that is better than fresh mozzarella. What could be better than that, you might ask... Burrata. Yes, mozzarella's cream filled cousin is already luscious and dream-worthy on its' own, so why not use it this casserole-style Eggplant Parmesan? Finally, you have to use whole fresh basil leaves in between the other hearty layers, which gives it an extra delightful note that you cannot, will not, and should not miss. After the dish has baked, we like to spoon servings onto our dinner plates with a drizzle of balsamic reduction, followed by a mound of freshly grated Parmesan cheese + a garnish of minced basil!! So you see y'all, as long as it is cold outside, we get to enjoy the little things in life, like this decadent Eggplant Parmesan. Gather 'round your honey, close friends, and family because this is something that you should be required to make if the temperature outside drops below freezing. It is that good!! Enjoy :)

For the Brown Butter-Heirloom Tomato Sauce:
2 Sticks of Unsalted Butter
4 Cloves of Fresh Garlic (2 minced + 2 thinly sliced)
½C Vidalia Onion, Finely Chopped
4C Baby Heirloom Tomatoes
2T Balsamic Vinegar
¼t Dried Oregano
1t Dried Red Pepper Flakes (or less if you don’t want it that spicy)
¾C Fresh Basil, Minced
Pinch of Sugar (or to your desired liking)
Fleur de Sel & Fresh Cracked Pepper, To Taste

For the Breaded Eggplant:
1 Large Eggplant, Sliced ¼inch Thick Slices
2T Kosher Salt
½C AP Flour
1 Beaten Egg + ¼C Buttermilk 
Herbed Italian Breadcrumbs (you can use traditional or panko style)
Canola Oil, For Frying

For the Eggplant Parmesan:
Prepared Brown Butter-Heirloom Tomato Sauce, Room Temperature
Breaded Eggplant Slices (already fried until crispy & golden brown)
2 Balls of Creamy Burrata Cheese, Cut into Slices
Fresh Basil (whole, large leaves)
4T Freshly Grated Parmesan
A Sprinkling of Dried Red Pepper Flakes
Balsamic Reduction, For Drizzling

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and spray a baking dish with Pam. Also, for a helpful hint, it is important that you make sure that you have an equal amount of slices of the eggplant + burrata cheese, as well as that many large fresh basil leaves.
2. For the Brown Butter-Heirloom Tomato Sauce: In a medium skillet, melt the butter over medium heat. Sauté the diced onions + the fresh garlic (both minced and sliced) and cook until translucent. Reduce the heat to low, add the tomatoes and cook until the tomatoes begin to soften and burst and the butter turns brown, about 15-20 minutes. Stir in the balsamic vinegar, dried oregano, red pepper flakes, and basil. Season the sauce with fleur de sel, fresh cracked pepper, and sugar to taste.
3. For the Breaded Eggplant: Cut the eggplant in ¼inch slices and toss the 2T of kosher salt. Arrange in a single layer in a colander for 45 minutes to an hour. Then dry completely with paper towels, making sure to press down and remove any more moisture and excess salt. Next, you have to set up a battering station. I use 3 pie tins. For the first station, I use plain flour. For the second station, I whisk together the eggs and buttermilk. For the third station, I use herbed Italian breadcrumbs. Now, place the slices of prepared eggplant into the flour mixture, then into the egg wash, and finally the breadcrumbs (making sure they are completely covered).
4. Frying the Eggplant: Heat a deep sauté pan to medium heat with the canola oil. Once the oil has heated, fry the slices for 2-3 minutes each side (depending on the size of your fryer, mine is pretty small, so I do 2 at a time). The eggplant should be golden brown on the outside and velvety soft on the inside. Once they are done frying, place them onto a paper towel to drain, and sprinkle them with salt & pepper immediately. After all of the eggplant is fried, you can begin layering your Eggplant Parmesan.
5. Layering the Eggplant Parmesan: Begin the assembling process by spreading a ladle-full of room temperature, brown butter-heirloom tomato sauce into the bottom of the baking dish as a base. Layer the crispy eggplant slices, a piece of creamy burrata cheese, & whole fresh basil leaves, following this shingling technique, repeatedly, until all of the components have been used up. Finish by freshly grating some Parmesan cheese and sprinkling some red pepper flakes over the top of the Eggplant Parmesan.
6. Baking the Eggplant Parmesan: Place the finished dish into the oven and bake until the burrata cheese has melted until ooey-gooey and everything has reached a golden brown color. This should take about 15-20 minutes.
7. Finishing the Eggplant Parmesan: Once it has all melted, crisped, baked, and cooked through, spoon a portion of the eggplant onto plates and garnish with freshly grated Parmesan + a drizzle of balsamic reduction. Enjoy with a hearty glass of red wine! 

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Our Top 10 Favorite Recipes of 2014: Savory + Sweet

Another year is down in the books...
Although 2014 might not have been the most productive food blogging year, 
I certainly had good reason for the drastic drop in recipes.
We got married, DUH.
And as the planner, organizer, + DIY-er of our wedding day,
it took up 95% of my time, err, year.
I do apologize for that and as a new years resolution, I promise to get those numbers back up!!
I will say that just because we had less recipes this year, this does not mean less quality.
We had some fabulous food (even more that I didn't get to post),
so don't fret...
Enjoy these recipes from 2014 as much as we did + get excited for an inspired 2015 :)
Thanks y'all for the likes, follows, comments, pins, and love
XOXO, Juliana


Our Top 10 Favorite Recipes of 2014: Savory

Caramelized-In-Bacon-Fat Peaches with Bleu Cheese, Serrano Ham, White Balsamic Reduction Drizzle, + Fresh Herbs
Fancy Pot Roast with Caramelized Shallots
Goat Cheese Queso Fundido with Crumbled Smokehouse Sausage + Pepper Jelly Drizzle
"Southern-Style" Jalapeno, Crystallized Aged Cheddar, Bacon Cornbread with Cilantro, Buttermilk, + Scallions, Fried in Bacon Fat Filled Skillet
"Mountain Man Pleasing Chicken" with Peach Preserve-Honey Mustard Marinated Chicken, Colby Jack Cheese, Mushrooms, + Bacon
Copycat Recipe: Zoe's Kitchen Protein Power Plate with Greek Yogurt Marinated Grilled Chicken, Greek Feta Coleslaw, + Caramelized Onions
The Ultimate Reuben Sandwich with Bacon Fat Fried Rye Bread, Russian 1,000 Aioli, Honey Mustard Glazed Corned Beef, Peppered Bacon, Melted Emmentaler Cheese, + Sauerkraut
Brown Butter Shrimp Scampi on Crispy Parmesan Polenta Cakes with Sun Dried Red Pepper Puree, Slow Roasted Cherry Tomatoes, + a Drizzle of Balsamic Reduction
Date Night: Squid Ink Pasta with Calamari, Mussels, + Scallops braised in a Herbed, Spicy Heirloom Tomato Sauce and topped with Brown Butter Panko
Herbed Strawberry Bruschetta with Whipped Feta, Pink Peppercorn Balsamic Reduction, + Olive Oil Fried Multigrain Bread

Our Top 10 Favorite Recipes of 2014: Sweet

Homemade Peppermint Bark Topped Red Velvet Brownies with Chocolate Fudge Icing, White Chocolate, + Crushed Peppermint Candies
Layered Brown Sugar Pavlova with Sour Cream Whipped Cream, Meyer lemon Zabaglione, + Macerated Berries
"Better Than" Better Than Sex Cake with Triple Fudge Dark Chocolate Cake, Dulce de Leche Soaking Cream, Toffee Bits, Mascarpone Whipped Cream, Salted Caramel Whipped Cream, Salty Bourbon Caramel Sauce, + Ruffled Potato Chips
Burnt Caramel Custard Puddings with Bittersweet Ganache, Whipped Cream, + Fleur de Sel
Gourmet Spiced Turtles with Vanilla Bean Caramel, Dark Chocolate, + Sprinkled with Vanilla Bean Fleur de Sel and Toffee Chips
Homemade Summer Honeysuckle Simple Syrup
Mulled Moscow Mules
Revamped: Red Hot Velvet Cinnamon Rolls with Cream Cheese Icing Glaze
Salted Butter Caramel Ice Cream with Bourbon Caramel Swirls + Praline Bits in a Pretzel Cone
Sweet + Salty Pie with Black Himalayan Salt + Maple-Bourbon Whoop
YAYYYYYYY :) I hope you love them as much as us!!