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Friday, August 24, 2012

Shrimp and Artichoke Pizza

Homemade pizza is so much fun to make because you can choose your favorite ingredients, and the amount of each topping to suit your own taste.  Thin or thick sauce, light cheese or a thick and cheesy pizza, you can build your pizza just the way you like it. 

The list of toppings is just about endless and making a pizza is also a great way to use leftover chicken or vegetables that might otherwise go to waste.  You can stick to the common toppings like cooked sausage, sliced ham or Canadian bacon, then add in some sliced red or yellow onion, an assortment of sliced red, green or yellow peppers, or even some ham with pineapple.  Use your imagination to discover a new flavor combination to your liking.

For the pizza crust, you can choose a homemade Bread Machine Pizza Crust, or some grocery stores now sell pre-made pizza dough in the bakery department.  One word of advice, the pizza dough that comes in a tube is by far the strangest product I have ever come across.  I tried it several years ago when I found it on sale and I thought I would try it. (A bargain, right? Wrong!)  No matter what we did to this dough, it tasted horrible!  I'm not sure I want to know what the dough contains, but fresh dough is easy to make at home and the grocery dough is a good second choice.  Either of these will taste far better than dough from a tube.

This pizza is a unique combination of tiny baby shrimp, slices of marinated artichokes and Italian cheese on top of a light layer of Parmesan sauce.  It is truly a delicious combination and it would be an incredible appetizer for entertaining.  Just cut the pizza into 3-inch squares and let your guests help themselves to this tasty pizza.  For a spicy side dish add a few Baked Buffalo Chicken Wings.

Pizza Dough for 2 Pizzas
Mezzetta Olive Oil
Garlic Powder

Pizza Sauce  (Makes enough for 2 pizzas)
3 TB  Butter
1 1/2 TB  Flour
1/2 tsp  Salt
1/4 tsp  Black Pepper
1/4 tsp  White Pepper
3/4 cup  Milk
3/4 cup  Shredded Parmesan Cheese

Toppings for Pizza
1/2 lb  Salad Shrimp (very small shrimp)
1  Small Jar Mezzetta Marinated Artichokes, drained
1 cup  Shredded Six-Cheese Italian Cheese

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

In a medium saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat.  Using a whisk, stir in the flour, salt and both peppers, then slowly add the milk while continuing to stir.  The sauce will begin to thicken slightly, then add the Parmesan cheese and continue stirring until the cheese melts.

When the cheese is fully melted and the sauce is smooth, remove pan from the heat and set aside to cool for 5-10 minutes.

Using a prepared Pizza Dough, grease a pizza pan with a light layer of olive oil.  Place the dough on the pan, spreading it to the edges.  Turn the circle of dough over a few times while spreading it out.  This will relax the dough and it will be easier to work with.  When the dough is spread out into a big circle, sprinkle a light layer of garlic powder around the edge of the pizza.

Bake the pizza crust for about 6-8 minutes or until the top just begins to brown and is no longer shiny or moist on top.  Remove the crust from the oven and spread the Parmesan sauce over the crust in an even layer, making sure to get the sauce all the way to the edge of the crust.

Next, add the pieces of shrimp and artichoke to the pizza, followed by the Italian cheese. 

Bake pizza for 15-18 minutes or until the cheese begins to brown around the edges.  Enjoy!!

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