I have good friends in the UK and I owe them one! National Pizza Day was started in the UK. February 9th. I’ve already circled it on the calendar. I’ll make a pizza calendar. The new year beginning February 9. I can’t help myself, I was weaned on pizza, meatballs, macaroni, spaghetti, pasta fagioli (to the uninitiated, bean soup), and hard crusty Italian bread. I grew up hearing my dad say pizza was the perfect food and the other Italian foods were a close second. I never dared tell my dad I doubted him, even when he was in his nineties.
You are already thinking Ray’s going to tell us how to make pizza. Wrong, I’m going to tell you how to make a kale salad. Whoa, slow down, only kidding. I hear my dad whistling from heaven. Kale move over, you’re not the perfect health food and take your friend’s broccoli, spinach, and edema with you. The perfect food is pizza. I’ve locked the doors, turned off the iPhone, no harassing calls from the health police or Whole Foods, por favor.
Pizza is the universal, speaks all languages food. It is the one food that can unite the world, contribute to world peace, and stop global warming. Okay, I’m a first-born Italian male and given to exaggeration. All kidding aside, I can’t stop kidding. I don’t want to tell you how many detentions I got in school, it wasn’t pretty. I thought they added an extra hour of the school day to honor me.
Think about pizza possibilities. My uncle Tony liked anchovies on his pizza. Uncle Carmen, sausage. Uncle Joe, pepperoni. My dad, hot peppers, and salami. Uncle Pete, olives and ground beef. A party night for the extended family was like eating at the UN. Go for it. Pour on any kind of meat you want, the more the better. Don’t forget to triple cheese it. Me? I eat healthily. I can see my dad rolling his eyes. I’m going to give you my great tasting, eat it every night of the week and take it for lunch pizza. You’ll develop a six-pack, be able to do one-armed pushups. And, beat the Ethiopians in the Boston Marathon. Hey, I told you I was prone to exaggeration.
The Basics. Every great pizza has two basic ingredients, the crust, and the sauce. Ray’s rule, make it easy, healthy, and tasty. The crust takes ten seconds. “Ten seconds, you say? Surely, you jest.” I hear you. That’s how long it takes me to cut open a package of Flatout flatbread. There are six in a pack. I eat two flatbread pizzas. Let’s see, I’ll use my iPhone and ask Siri. I’m talking to Siri. She’ patiently listening. I’m waiting for Siri. She must be getting her nails done. Here she is, listen in, “Ray, you’ll have enough flatbread for three meals. Yum.” I say thanks to Siri. I have to talk to someone since I live alone.
I use the Flatout bread, it has extra protein and fiber, a healthy choice. I continue on the easy road. I line a pan with Reynolds Wrap non-stick aluminum foil. I saved a whole step. I’m on a roll. No, make that a pizza pan. The directions on the Flatout wrapper (I actually read the directions. Well, most of them. I stopped after I read, “Read the directions first.” It’s a guy thing. I put the flatbreads in an oven preheated to 380 for three minutes. In the meantime, I stir-fry my veggies. I said it’s going to be healthy. Toss out the vitamins. They’re going on my pizza.
You got to love this combo. I have jalapenos, a poblano pepper, a red pepper, and onions. I use my EVOO to make it even healthier. I put the cover on the pan. I use crushed tomatoes as my sauce. I like the CIRIO brand. Why? The name ends in a vowel like mine. Really, the crushed tomatoes are awesome.They are non-GMO (Does that stand for Good Morning Oregon?). I use my crushed tomatoes to cover the flatbreads once I pull them out of the sauna (AKA oven). Once I cover the flatbreads with the tomatoes, the flatbreads go back in the sauna for another three minutes. I want the tomatoes hot. Siri does the countdown for me. When she gives me the ring, I pull the flatbreads out, add fresh-cut basil and my veggies. I cover the flatbreads with non-fat Kraft mozzarella cheese and sliced tomatoes. They’re ready to go back in the sauna to melt the cheese.
Another few minutes and I’m ready to party – party for one that is. There will be no prisoners for this meal.