Pizza Night for Two: {Hers} Ricotta & Squash Pizza {His} Strawberry Tomato Sauce, Bacon & Mozzarella

Every time I break out my rolling pin and pizza dough, I am reminded of Nana, my maternal grandmother and a huge reason why I started this blog. When I was little, she would often make trips down to Virginia from New Jersey, with big jugs of olive oil in hand, fresh pizza dough and her signature tomato sauce. She would literally put the pizza ingredients in a box and tuck them into the trunk of her little blue Toyota Corolla and drive them all down south. I’m still not sure why she pre-cooked the sauce and dough four hours away, but I do know that whenever she visited, cooking for our family of six was the focal point of the weekend.

ricotta squash pizza keys to the cucina 1 Nana would post up on our butcher block in the middle of the kitchen, work out the dough with a rolling pin, and stretch it gently to fit into the rectangular pizza pan. Mostly she would let me observe, or if I was lucky, I’d get to dust some parmesan cheese on top of the pizza before we placed it into the oven. I still remember how patient she was as she worked with the dough, and can still see the dimples that her fingers left on the dough before we poured on the sauce and toppings.

In making these personal pizzas last weekend, memories of cooking with Nana came flooding back.  Though the toppings aren’t what she used, I took some creative license and combined my love the of red onions and ricotta cheese. You get a luxurious creamy texture with the cheese and a slight bite from the red onion. I added in some sliced squash to complete my pizza, while Bryan went for the meat and piled his high with bacon. Pizza night is a great way to cook with each other and you also get to choose your own ingredients with these individual pies. What could be better?

ricotta squash pizza keys to the cucina 2

Pizza Night for Two: {Hers} Ricotta & Squash Pizza & {His} Strawberry Tomato Sauce, Bacon & Mozzarella
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: 2
Ingredients
  • Hers:
  • ½ lb pizza dough
  • 1 tbs extra virgin olive oil
  • ¼ large yellow squash, sliced thinly into rounds
  • ¼ red onion, sliced thinly
  • ½ cup ricotta cheese
  • ¾ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp crushed red pepper
  • 1 tsp basil, fresh or dried
  • His:
  • ½ lb pizza dough
  • ½ c strawberry tomato sauce (see below for link to recipe)
  • ½ c mozzarella cheese
  • 4 slices of bacon, cooked and chopped
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. On a floured work surface, roll out pizza dough into two rectangles.
  3. Place on a sheet pan and cook for 20 minutes until they begin to golden.
  4. In a saute pan, combine evoo, squash and red onion and cook for 3-4 minutes, just until the squash begins to soften.
  5. Season with a dash of salt and pepper and remove from pan and set aside.
  6. In a small bowl, combine ricotta and salt, crushed red pepper, and basil. Mix together thoroughly.
  7. To assemble {hers}, spread ricotta over one piece of dough, and top with the onion and squash mixture.
  8. To assemble {his}, layer strawberry tomato sauce, mozzarella, and bacon on pizza dough.
  9. Cook both pizzas on 350 for 5 minutes and broil the last few minutes to make golden and crunchy.
  10. Enjoy!

*See last week’s recipe for how to make the strawberry tomato sauce here

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ricotta squash pizza keys to the cucina 3

Another highlight of Nana’s trips was that I would sing to her in our family room. I would be armed with a microphone and a CD and sing over top of the vocals of people like Celine Dion and Whitney Houston. Since “The Bodyguard” soundtrack was quite popular in the early 1990s, she especially loved hearing me sing “I Will Always Love You.” Though Nana has trouble remembering these days, I know that I will always remember cooking with her and singing this song to her with my slight lisp and dressed in my Osh Kosh B’gosh overalls.

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  • http://mysavoryspoon.blogspot.com cheri

    what a beautiful post! thanks for sharing.

    • Alexe

      Thanks so much Cheri, in case you couldn’t tell, my food memories started real young :)! Thanks for stopping by, and I can’t wait to make your Rosemary and Dried Cranberry Raincoast Crisps, they look divine!

  • http://chasethatilove.com/ annie @ chase that I love

    I also have great memories of my Nana and fresh pizza dough.Sometimes I can’t smell it without thinking of her. And mothballs. For a long, long, time, I thought mothballs smelled good because they smelt like all her closets.

    P.S.That is a lovely photo of your Nana!

    • Alexe

      Hi Annie! Thanks for your comments, I vaguely remember my Nana smelling like moth balls as well haha! It’s crazy how smells can cause memories to flood back. Thanks for sharing your food memories, talk with you soon!

  • cindy

    This blog and Nana’s picture sure brought tears to my eyes

    • Alexe

      Aww thanks Mama, glad you enjoyed a little trip down memory lane!

  • http://whatjessicabakednext.wordpress.com/ Jess

    These look delicious! I always remember making fresh pizza and bread doughs! Lovely post and recipe :)

    • Alexe

      Thanks so much Jess!

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