Friday, August 6, 2010

Pizza Pot Pies

I've had Giada De Laurentiis' book Giada's Kitchen for about a year and a half now, and I've had my eye on this recipe that entire time. Unfortunately, I was missing one very important thing that I would need to make it: a set of ramekins. I've been wanting these forever; oh, to be able to make some molten chocolate cake in them! I'm sure those will be featured here on this very blog sometime soon...

But back to the Pizza Pot Pies. As I was saying, I've wanted to make these, and now that I finally have ramekins, I was presented with an opportunity to try them out! I wanted to make these during the week that my mother and father in-law were to be in town. They seemed so simple, not to mention adorable. What could be wrong with that?

These are a breeze to put together; the hardest part is portioning out the dough and fitting it over each ramekin. Simply make a quick tomato sauce, then mix that together with storebought rotisserie chicken, some fresh veggies, cubes of mozzarella cheese, and some salt and pepper. Giada says to use broccoli, cut into bite-size pieces, but we had tons of fresh zucchini to use up, so I went with that instead. I'm really glad I did, because I found out later that my father in-law really doesn't like broccoli, but everybody likes the zucchini!

Once you have this mixture, you divide it evenly into your ramekins. Then, you take your pizza dough, divide it into even pieces, and cover each ramekin with it. I took more liberties here; Giada would like you to cut circles out of the dough to fit over the ramekins. I used my kitchen scale here. I weighed the dough as a whole, then divided it evenly into 6 balls. These balls were then stretched to fit over the tops of the ramekins. Much easier this way, I think!

Finally, the tops of the dough are brushed with olive oil, then Parmesan cheese is sprinkled over that. They bake in the oven for about 25 minutes, and that's it! You want to let them rest briefly before cutting into them; they'll be screaming hot.

And now, a quick confession. I was all set to make these for my guests. I got my sauce made, threw all the chicken, zucchini, and mozzarella in a bowl to mix together, and made an easy pizza dough in my bread machine. hit. I'm still not exactly sure what happened to me, but I came down with some kind of bug, and it knocked me off my feet. Suddenly I found that the work I had yet to do in the kitchen was daunting; I didn't know if I could pull it off. My dreams of finally using those ramekins were fading fast.

Luckily, my wonderful hubby and his mom stepped in and took over. They were able to assemble the pot pies and bake them for me. I just wanted to get that off my chest. Anywhere above where you see that "I" did a part of the recipe, it could have either been me or one of them. I wanted to give credit where credit was due! Sadly, I wasn't able to eat dinner with them that evening; I was just too sick. But they did save me a pot pie, and I enjoyed mine the next night.

Everybody really loved these! They're fun, they're a snap to make (which I think we proved when I had to quit mid-preparation, and my lovely assistants were easily able to finish up for me!), and they're even fabulous as leftovers. I just wrapped mine in foil the next night and baked in a low oven for close to an hour. Delicious!

Pizza Pot Pies
adapted from Giada De Laurentiis
makes 6 individual pot pies

For the sauce:
1 Tbsp. olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp. minced fresh rosemary leaves
2 oz. diced bacon (Giada used pancetta)
1 (28-0z.) can crushed tomatoes
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

For the pot pies:
3 cups Tomato Sauce (see above)
2 cups diced roasted chicken (from a purchased roasted chicken)
2 cups zucchini, diced (the original calls for bite-size pieces of broccoli)
1 1/2 cups mozzarella cheese, diced
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 lbs. pizza dough, either purchased or homemade (we used homemade)
1/3 cup olive oil
6 Tbsp. freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Special equipment:
6 (10-0z.) ramekins (I only had a 9-0z. size, which worked fine)

Make the tomato sauce: 1. Warm the olive oil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add the garlic, rosemary, and bacon (or pancetta) and sauce until the bacon (or pancetta) is crisp and golden, about 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes, stir to combine, and simmer over very low heat for 15 minutes. Add the salt and pepper. Set aside.

Make the pot pies: 1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. In a large bowl, combine the tomato sauce, chicken, zucchini (or broccoli), mozzarella, salt, and pepper. Stir to combine. Divide the chicken mixture evenly among 6 ramekins.

2. Roll out the pizza dough 1/2- to 3/4-inch thick, and use a paring knife to cut circles that are 1 inch larger in diameter than the ramekins. Set the circles of dough over the filled ramekins and press down to seal, making sure to pull the dough over the edges of each ramekin.

3. Brush the pizza crust with the olive oil and sprinkle with the Parmesan cheese. Cut a small slit in the top with the paring knife. Bake until the pizza crust is golden, about 25 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool slightly before serving.

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