June 12, 2012

Zucchini and Mushroom Flatbread with Homemade Tomato Dipping Sauce

Like many people, but perhaps more than most, I am a creature of habit.  

For example:

Since all of my yoga classes are taught either in the morning or in the late evening, I am almost always home between the hours of noon-5:00PM.  As a result, from 3:00-4:00PM I watch back-to-back episodes of Giada at Home, and from 4:00-5:00PM I watch back-to-back episodes of the Barefoot Contessa, Back to Basics.  As you might expect, I frequently get ideas for new recipes from their shows.  Just the other day Giada made this Zucchini and Olive Flatbread.  Since we had been craving Italian cuisine - especially pizza - for a few days, I thought that this recipe might just fit the bill...

The problem was, although I find them delicious, Bo really dislikes olives.  Therefore, I couldn't simply remake Giada's recipe.  No, instead, I would need to rework it to suite our tastes (not to mention what we had on hand in the refrigerator/pantry).

After gathering up some mushrooms that we bought at the farmer's market this past weekend, as well as a few additional spices and concocting a homemade tomato dipping sauce, I knew that I was onto something good!

With its thin crust and herb-infused flavor, this flatbread is one of the many perfect ways to enjoy summer's most beautiful vegetables.  As a suggestion, don't smother the delicate flavors of the zucchini and mushrooms by drowning them in cheese.  Instead, sprinkle on just enough to complement the freshness of both the vegetables and the herbs.  You will leave the dinner table satisfied - but not stuffed - with ample room for dessert! ;)

Zucchini and Mushroom Flatbread
Serves 4-6

All-purpose flour for dusting
1 lb. homemade pizza dough (or pre-made from your grocery store or local pizzeria)
2 T EVOO, divided
3 small zucchini, sliced into half-moons
7 portabellini mushrooms, chopped
2 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp garlic powder
4 oz. shredded organic mozzarella cheese (or cheese substitute)
salt and pepper, to taste

  • Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
  • On a floured surface, roll out the pizza dough into a thin, large rectangular shape.
  • Transfer the dough onto a greased baking sheet.
  • Prick the dough with a fork, and drizzle 1T of EVOO on top.
  • Arrange the zucchini and mushrooms on the flatbread.
  • Drizzle the other 1T of EVOO on top of the vegetables.
  • Bake for 18-20 minutes.
  • Pull the flatbread out of the oven.  
  • Sprinkle the oregano, garlic powder, salt, pepper, and cheese on top.
  • Return to the oven to bake for an additional 5-7 minutes.
  • Allow the flatbread to cool for 5 minutes.
  • Serve alongside Homemade Tomato Dipping Sauce (recipe below).

No surprise here, but I love a little tomato something-or-other with my Italian cuisine.  As good as the Zucchini and Mushroom Flatbread was, it seemed to be calling out for some tomato-based pairing.  Since I didn't have any canned pasta sauce on hand, I decided to use what I did have to whip up something homemade.  And whaddya know but my tomato sauce experimentation turned out better than any canned sauce I have had in a looong while!

Homemade Tomato Dipping Sauce
Serves 4

1 can diced tomatoes
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp dried oregano
2 tsp dried basil
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

  • Pour the diced tomatoes into a small saucepan warmed over medium high heat.
  • Immediately add the minced garlic cloves.
  • Once the mixture begins to boil, reduce heat to low and use a potato masher to crush the tomatoes and garlic.
  • Add the garlic powder, oregano, basil, and cayenne pepper.
  • Cook for an additional 5-10 minutes until the mixture begins to thicken.
  • Serve with homemade bread sticks, flatbread, or on your favorite pasta!

Question of the Day:

Do you usually follow recipes "by the book," or do you experiment and tweak them as you go along?!

Ally and Bo

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