..continued from Part One….
We got married, and eventually moved into a larger home just outside of town. We revelled in the quiet of the suburbs and the swath of forest off our kitchen patio as we honed the art of stretching dough, finding the perfect combination of herbs, and experimenting with spicy salamis, aged cheddars and Parmesans. And, as is wont to happen when a couple moves out to the ‘burbs, we began to talk about starting a family. But, while my darling husband’s heart filled with images of couch forts and hopscotch, I couldn’t seem to shake my travel bug. We agreed: we would go on “one last adventure,” a two-week dream vacation in Italy, and then we would start “trying.”
Perhaps I was afflicted with the same fertility as the garden in my new yard, but as my tomatoes ripened over the summer before our big trip, so did a little person tenaciously determined to become a part of our lives, Italy or no Italy. Despite questioning the purpose of embarking on an overseas culinary adventure when one is not supposed to imbibe in such earthly (and decidedly Italian) pleasures as cured meats, unpasteurized cheeses and wine, I found myself looking down at my ever-swelling belly and a perfect margarita pizza in a trattoria in Rome that fall. We ate our way around the country, unabashedly consuming entire balls of mozzarella, licking cones of rich gelato thrice daily, and ordering pizza everywhere we went. Fresh basil, tart tomatoes, salty prosciutto, fragrant truffle oil and hot strands of mozzarella: we were taking notes, inventing new flavour combinations, and wishing we had a pizza oven of our own.
Now, the pizzas in our house are primarily of my husband’s creation. As I sit on the couch nursing our baby daughter, the smell of roasted garlic wafts through the house and I hear the sound of my love chopping tomatoes in the kitchen. He’s a more patient, detail-oriented tomato-chopper than I am. Where I quickly smash and chop uneven hunks of seedy fruit, he carefully and methodically dices tiny little cubes that distribute across the crust much more nicely than my tomatoes do. He is inclined to roast an entire bulb of garlic to mash and layer under spicy Genoa salami and fresh cheese; perhaps this is his way making my breastmilk pungently flavoured enough to ensure that one day our daughter shares our enjoyment of the food that has been woven through the fabric of our lives together. I know I hope she does.
For the pear and prosciutto pizza –
Here’s what you need:
1 pizza crust – I will leave this one up to you: store bought, homemade, just add water…whatever you normally use
Two pears, peeled, cored and sliced thinly (any type)
1 small white onion, diced finely
~1 cup white wine
Cheese (whatever you prefer: mozza, goat cheese, cheddar, whatever!)
Here’s what you do:
Preheat your oven to 400F.
To make the base of the pizza, throw the pears in a saucepan and cover with white wine and a bit of freshly ground black pepper. Bring the wine to a boil and then reduce the heat and simmer until the wine has been cooked off and the pears are nice and soft. You don’t want this mixture to be too runny as it will make your pizza crust soggy.
Place the poached pear slices on your pizza crust – this is your base. Add the onion, and then lay the slices of prosciutto over the pears and onion. Add the cheese and cook until the crust begins to brown and the cheese is bubbly. Enjoy!