I love quick lunch ideas, and I also love pizza. When I saw the gorgeous head of fresh, live basil in my local box this week, I started dreaming of tasty Italian dishes. When I saw we had more fresh Shitake mushrooms, I got thinking of how tasty those two things would be on a pizza pie! Making pizza dough from scratch is far from “quick”, and buying those pre-made crusts is a waste of money and take up too much room to store, in my opinion.
Solution? Pitas! If you have a brand of pita you enjoy, keep them in the freezer and they’ll be ready to act as personal pizza crusts when you need a healthy, quick meal. We love the whole wheat pitas we buy from Melitsa’s, they are restaurant quality and bake up soft and yummy.
2 Whole wheat pizzas
½ -3/4 cup pasta sauce of choice (I like a premade tomato pesto for pizzas)
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
2 Tblspns butter
1Tblspn garlic, diced very fine
10 shitake mushrooms
6 large fresh basil leaves
salt and pepper to taste
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2. Slice your mushrooms nice and thin. Heat a small saucepan on medium heat and saute garlic in butter until butter just begins to brown. Add mushrooms and cook, stirring, just for a few minutes (don’t overcook as they will also be baking in the oven).
3. Ribbon your basil leaves. (To ribbon, layer leaves on top of one another and roll tightly. Take a small, sharp paring knife and make quick, thin cuts to the rolled-up leaves, producing pretty basil “ribbons”).
4. Once your oven is ready, remove your pitas from the freezer. Sprinkle just a few drops of water on a baking sheet and place the pitas on top of the water drops (this helps keep them soft and not dried out). Put sauce to your liking on the pitas.
5. Put most of the cheese on the sauce, saving a few pinches to sprinkle on top of the toppings. Evenly distribute your sauteed mushrooms and garlic, as well as your basil ribbons, on the cheese, and cover with just a few shreds of cheese. Add some fresh ground pepper to taste.
6. Bake in oven for about 10 minutes or until the cheese is melted. I you like nice browned, bubbly cheese like we do, switch the oven to a medium broil for the last two minutes (but be careful you don’t burn your hard-made pizzas!). Serve immediately.
You may find, depending on your pita size and your appetite, that you really need more than one per person. They go great with a green salad or a bowl of soup. Enjoy!
-Nicole Marsh-Mueller loves to cook locally and seasonally for her family and blogs at The Armchair Housewife
photo credit: Nicole Marsh-Mueller