Last month, I finally played with a new specialty that my mom has been recommending we try for the better part of the past year: Tortilla Pizzas.
They sounded so simple that I wasn't too intrigued at first, even though her food instincts are almost always spot-on. However, the need for a quick and easy appetizer made me revisit this idea, and now my family has two new favorites in our culinary arsenal.
Tortilla pizzas can be either savory, like a traditional pizza, or sweet, like the S'mores Pizza that had my son drooling just by looking at it. I use flour tortillas, which bake up to a wonderfully crisp, but still flexible crust, and are sturdy enough to support multiple ingredient toppings.
For savory pizzas, I use 8-inch tortillas as I can fit two of them on a half sheet pan and they're the perfect size for an individual snack. For this feature, I've made two versions - one with regular shredded mozzarella cheese, pepperoni, and thinly sliced green pepper and onion, and the other with fresh mozzarella cheese, sliced Roma tomatoes and Kalamata olives. If using fresh mozzarella, break the ball or slices apart into pieces about the size of your thumb and scatter them around the pizza for even melting.
Pepperoni is a topping of choice whenever we make homemade pizza, and while any kind will do, our favorite is an uncured pepperoni by the Italian brand Fiorucci that you can find in the specialty and imported meat section of the deli at most Hornbacher's stores. The pepperoni slices are larger and slightly thinner than the Hormel brand, and the flavor can't be beat.
The Red Wine Garden Tomato Sauce that I featured here on Sept. 19 is perfect for homemade pizza, but you can use any pizza sauce, or even canned tomato sauce seasoned with a little minced garlic and onion. The tortillas are thin, so be careful not to use too much sauce or they'll become soggy; about two tablespoons per 8-inch tortilla should suffice.
For the S'mores Pizza, I cover a 10-inch tortilla with a combination of mini marshmallows, chocolate chips, coconut flakes and chopped walnuts to create a sweet confection that is almost like candy. Resist the urge to cover the entire tortilla - the marshmallows will expand as they bake, so you only need to use enough to cover about 60 percent of the surface, with an even scattering of the remaining ingredients.
Oven temperatures vary, and I've had the best results with a setting of 400 degrees. The pizzas, both savory and sweet, take about 10 to 12 minutes to bake, but check them after about eight minutes and adjust the time and temperature as needed.
Tony and Gio shared my initial skepticism about these pizzas, but after the first batch, they were also hooked. The savory pizza can be prepared ahead of time and reheated in the oven for about five minutes, making them an easy, perfect snack for after school or game day parties.
Savory, sweet or both - however you slice them, I hope these tortilla pizzas are as much a hit in your home as in ours. Enjoy.
Savory Tortilla Pizza
Makes: 2 individual pizzas
2 8-inch flour tortillas
¼ cup pizza sauce
½ cup shredded mozzarella cheese or 1 ½ slices (about 1.5 ounces) of fresh mozzarella, broken into thumb-sized pieces
Toppings as desired
If using fresh basil, add immediately after the pizza is removed from the oven to prevent it from burning.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or grease lightly with cooking spray and place the 2 tortillas on the sheet.
Place 2 tablespoons of pizza sauce in the center of each tortilla. Use the back of a large spoon to gently work it around the surface of the tortilla, working in circles from the center out to the edges, leaving a ¼-inch border.
Sprinkle a quarter cup of shredded mozzarella around each of the tortillas, leaving a ¼-inch border, until it is evenly coated. If using fresh mozzarella, dot the surface with the torn pieces.
Top with desired toppings and bake in a 400-degree oven for 10 to 12 minutes until the cheese is bubbly, fully melted and lightly golden. Oven temperatures vary, so check the pizzas after 8 minutes and adjust time and temp as needed.
Remove from oven and transfer pizzas immediately to a cutting board. Add fresh basil now, if using.
Cut into slices as desired and serve. Leftovers may be refrigerated and reheated in the oven (for best results) until crisp, about 5 minutes.
Tortilla Smore's Pizza
Serves: 4 to 6
1 10-inch flour tortilla
¼ to 1/3 cup mini marshmallows
¼ cup chocolate chips
1 to 2 tablespoons coconut flakes
1 tablespoon walnuts, chopped into small pieces
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or grease lightly with cooking spray. Place the 10-inch tortilla on the sheet.
Scatter the mini marshmallows around the surface of the tortilla, leaving space between each one and a 1-inch border, so that the marshmallows cover only about 60 percent of the surface. They will expand as they bake, so resist the urge to fill the entire surface.
Sprinkle the chocolate chips around so that they are evenly dispersed, but not crowding the surface. Repeat with the coconut and walnuts.
Bake at 400 degrees until the marshmallows are puffy and a light, golden brown, about 10 to 12 minutes. Do not let the marshmallows burn. Oven temperatures vary, so check the pizza after 8 minutes and adjust time and temp as needed.
Remove from oven and transfer pizza to a cutting board. Cut immediately into slices and serve. Best when served immediately after baking, but leftovers may be refrigerated and served cold or at room temperature.
Recipe Time Capsule:
This week in...
• 2017: English Muffin Toasting Bread
• 2016: Sarah's Best Sloppy Joes
• 2015: French Bread Mini Pizzas
• 2013: Bagna Caoda Hot Dipping Oil
"Home With the Lost Italian" is a weekly column written by Sarah Nasello featuring recipes by her husband, Tony Nasello. The couple owned Sarello's in Moorhead and lives in Fargo with their son, Giovanni. Readers can reach them at email@example.com.