Arugula, Chile and Smoked Mozzarella Pizza

Garlic, red onions and plenty of hot green chilies make for a spicy pizza charged with feisty flavors.

Don't relegate sun-dried tomatoes to 80's dining nostalgia; they've been around forever in Mediterranean cuisine.

Outside of mid-late Summer, the best option when purchasing fresh tomatoes seems to be choosing grape or cherry varieties. They're less likely to be mealy and generally have a more pronounced flavor than the larger anemic ones in the produce aisle.

Cafe Drake HRV loosely adapted this recipe from Linda Fraser's Vegetarian: The Best Ever Recipe Collection. The original called for spinach and cheddar cheese but we prefer our substitutions of arugula and smoked mozzarella.

The arugula, onions and tomatoes are spread out on a partially baked, hand-thrown pizza crust.

Straight out of the oven, our pizza has perfectly browned and crispy edges.

Dinner at Cafe Drake HRV: two wedges of pizza with a chopped salad (lettuce, cukes, radishes and onions) and our omnipresent roasted vegetables.

First things first: bring 1 package fresh pizza dough to room temperature (about 30 minutes) and roll out to your desired shape and thickness. Place on an oiled baking sheet.

Heat 2 T. olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add 1 onion (diced), 2 cloves of garlic (chopped) and 2 fresh red or green hot chilies (chopped finely). Saute gently for 5 minutes or until the onion is soft but not browned.

Add about 10 roughly chopped sun-dried tomatoes along with 1 14-oz. can of chopped tomatoes and 1 T. tomato paste. Season boldly with salt and black pepper. Simmer, uncovered, for 15 minutes. If the resulting sauce becomes too thick add a tablespoon or two of water, no more.

Now add to the tomato mixture 2 large handfuls of chopped arugula. Cook until the arugula has wilted completely, a matter of only a couple of minutes.

Remove the saucepan from the heat, and while the tomato and arugula sauce cools, bake your rolled-out pizza dough for 7 minutes in a pre-heated 425 degree F. oven. If you are using any other sort of base for the pizza other than the fresh dough, you can skip this step.

After 7 minutes remove the pizza dough from the oven and top with the sauce.

Sprinkle over the sauce and crust 1/4 cup grated Parmesan. Sparsely and strategically top with slices of fresh smoked mozzarella. Bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes, or until the crust is crisp and browned on the edges and the cheese melted.

Allow the hot pizza to rest for a couple of minutes before serving with a drizzle of your best olive oil.


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