October is National Pizza month. It seems like we celebrate pizza 24/7 in our house, as do most people in the US. Interesting fact about pizza: the average American consumes approximately 23 lbs. of pizza every year. This is a food that clearly deserves an entire month of festivities.
Setting up a pizza parlor in your own kitchen is a great way to spend an afternoon with your kids. It is a little extra clean up for you, but in the end, dinner will be on the table. And if you let your kids in on the cooking they will usually be thrilled to eat it, no matter how it turns out.
A small investment in some pre-made dough at the supermarket or local pizzeria, a handful of flour, a rolling pin, and you are in business. At our house, we have four rolling pins. I have learned the hard way that sharing one rolling pin with three eager little chefs is a recipe for disaster.
Every one starts with their own lump of dough and small bowls of assorted pizza toppings. As with the rolling pins, it is a good idea for every chef to have their own set up of toppings to choose from. Usually the assortment is simply tomato sauce, grated cheese, and maybe some chopped up vegetables. The veggies are for the most part barely touched, but every once in awhile a piece or two find their way onto one of their pizza creations.
In the spirit of Halloween we made up a pie that we dubbed Worm Pizza – eaters beware!
1/2 box pasta spaghetti
1 ball pizza dough (16 oz.)
1 Tsp olive oil, plus extra for brushing on dough
Pinch of salt
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
1 can diced tomatoes, pureed
1 cup grated mozzarella cheese
Preheat oven to 500 degrees.
Break spaghetti in half before placing in cooking water. Cook pasta according to directions, do not overcook, make al dente. Drain and rinse with cold water to stop cooking. Mix in olive oil and set aside.
Meanwhile, take your dough and punch it down with your fingertips. This helps get some of the air out of the dough, which means fewer bubbles when it is baking. Roll out your dough on a floured surface and then transfer dough to a large baking sheet, which is lightly oiled. Brush the dough with olive oil and sprinkle a pinch of salt and the grated Parmesan cheese over the top. Place in oven for 3-5 minutes to let dough crisp up a bit before adding the topping.
While pizza is cooking prepare your worm topping. In a large mixing bowl, combine the cooked spaghetti, pureed tomatoes and mozzarella cheese. Remove pizza from oven; add worm topping.
Put back in the oven until edges are crispy and cheese is melted. About another 10-12 minutes.
And the VERDICT is:
Matthew (age 6): “Can you pack this for my lunch tomorrow?”
Liam (age 4): “I think Daddy is going to really like this!”
Dylan (age 4): “Not that many worms for me, please”
Image Source:// All Author’s Own