Pizza is a great energy food, packed with protein-rich cheese and meat and Vitamin C, which it gets from tomato sauce. Served with a hearty green salad, a pizza menu can be a healthful way to solve a cook's what-to-fix dilemma. Pizza is also a crowd pleaser. Choose one of the pizzas suggested here to serve the family, or include them in a buffet featuring other Italian favorites like antipasto. A light, fresh fruit salad is a good way to round out the menu.
Italian Pizza Wreath is a simple variation on the pizza theme, made extra special with a dressed up crust. Its braided edge is easy to make with packaged hot roll mix. The deep-dish pie encloses a delicious filling of Italian favorites--sausage, mushrooms, onion and green pepper. The filling for Spinach Florentine Pizza is an intriguing combination of spinach, cheese and water chestnuts. This meatless version packs a powerhouse of nutrition in one slice.
Japanese Pizza calls upon a culinary delight from a Japanese child's memory--the crunchy, scorched rice (called okoge ) that lines the rice cooking pot. In it, a rice, green onion, cheese and egg mixture is formed into a pizza shape and pan fried, making a crunchy wedge suitable for appetizer serving or sliced as usual. The use of rice for the pizza crust is a nutritious plus as well.
Nicoise Pizza features an oregano-flavored dough topped with Jack cheese, tomato slices, anchovy fillets, Nicoise olives and basil. Part-skim mozzarella cheese is a better choice than Jack, if dietary fat is a concern. Pizza Pot Pies are baked in and over soup crocks, brimming with a rich sausage, mushroom and cheese sauce for an individual version of deep dish pizza. But watch out for added calories in this one.
ITALIAN PIZZA WREATH
1 (16-ounce) package hot roll mix
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1 1/4 cups hot water (110 to 120 degrees)
2 tablespoons oil
1 (10 1/2-ounce) can pizza sauce
1/2 pound Italian bulk sausage, cooked, drained
1 cup sliced mushrooms
1/4 cup chopped onion
1 small green pepper, cut into rings
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
Combine flour mixture, yeast from foil packet and Italian seasoning. Mix well. Stir in hot water and oil until dry ingredients are moistened. Turn dough out onto lightly floured surface. With greased or floured hands, shape dough into ball. Knead dough 2 to 3 minutes until no longer sticky.
Divide dough in half. With greased hands, pat half of dough into bottom of greased 12-inch pizza pan. Generously pierce dough with fork. Divide remaining dough into 2 equal parts. Shape into 2 (36-inch) long ropes. Twist ropes together and place around outside edge of pan, stretching to fit and pressing against rim of pan to secure. Bake at 425 degrees on lowest oven rack 8 to 10 minutes until crust is golden brown.
Spread pizza sauce evenly over crust. Top with sausage, mushrooms, onion, green pepper and cheese. Bake at 400 degrees 18 to 28 minutes until cheese is melted and light golden brown. (If crust becomes too brown, cover with foil during last 5 minutes of baking.) Makes 8 servings.
PER SERVING: 380 calories; 17 gm protein; 48 gm carbohydrate; 13 gm fat; 850 mg sodium; 220 mg potassium.
Protein 25% Riboflavin 30% Vitamin A 10% Niacin 25% Vitamin C 25% Calcium 20% Thiamine 35% Iron 15%
SPINACH FLORENTINE PIZZA
1 (16-ounce) package hot roll mix
1 cup hot water (110 to 120 degrees)
4 tablespoons oil
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
1 cup sour cream
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 cup sliced water chestnuts, drained
2 (10-ounce) packages frozen chopped spinach, thawed and well drained
1 (2-ounce) jar pimientos, drained, chopped
2 cups shredded Swiss cheese
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Combine flour mixture with yeast from foil packet. Mix well. Stir in hot water, 2 tablespoons oil and 1 egg until dry ingredients are moistened. Turn dough out onto lightly floured surface. With greased or floured hands, shape dough into ball. Knead dough 2 to 3 minutes until no longer sticky.
On lightly floured surface, shape dough into 13-inch circle using floured rolling pin or hands. Place on generously greased 12-inch pizza pan, pressing to fit. Fold overlapping edge of dough under, press well to seal and form stand-up rim. Flute edge, if desired. Generously pierce dough with fork. Cover with plastic wrap or towel and let rise on countertop, 10 minutes. Uncover dough and bake on lowest oven rack at 400 degrees for 10 minutes, until light golden brown.
Meanwhile, in large skillet, cook onion in remaining oil until tender. Remove from heat. Combine sour cream, nutmeg, cloves, cayenne and remaining egg and blend well. Stir in onion, water chestnuts, spinach, pimientos, 1 1/2 cups Swiss and mozzarella cheeses. Mix well and spread evenly over crust.