Entertainment

10 for the recipe book

Now that we’re squarely in 2010, we can look back on 2009 and the hundreds of recipes published in the Los Angeles Times food section and call it the year of meltingly delicious caramelized onions, or the year we fell in love with quinoa all over again, or the year we discovered we could make fantastic, crisp-crusted pizza at home.

We’ve chosen our 10 favorite recipes of 2009, remembering how many times we sneaked into the kitchen during testing for Julienne’s graham cracker chewy bars or Paula Wolfert’s sizzling shrimp, both of them instant hits.

Food Editor Russ Parsons inspired us to get behind the stove with 5 pounds of onions, cooked until they’re a burnished mahogany in color and have the texture of marmalade. They’re so good simply spread on grilled bread, but then he wowed us by putting them into a luscious potato gratin with prosciutto, a little cream and Gruyere cheese.

Test Kitchen manager Noelle Carter, after hauling in firebricks from her car and lining the kitchen’s ovens with them, had a pizza breakthrough: pizza at home as good as any from a pizzeria.

Her pizza Margherita rocks.

And there was so much more to love last year: bell pepper and corn slaw; ragù to make your Italian grandma proud; white chocolate bread pudding with whiskey caramel sauce (made in a slow cooker); and orange shortcakes with strawberries and cream.

Enjoy our best recipes from 2009.

Neapolitan-style ragu

The pork butt cooked in this recipe is not part of the final dish; it flavors the sauce as it cooks and is to be served separately.

2 lbs. boneless pork butt, in 1 piece

2 teaspoons salt, divided, more to taste

Pepper

2 tablespoons finely minced parsley

1 lb. onions, chopped

4 cloves garlic

1/3 cup chopped pancetta

1/4 cup chopped prosciutto

1/4 cup olive oil

2 cups dry red wine

1 can (6 oz.) tomato paste

1 cup crushed tomatoes or tomato puree

1/2 lb. Italian sausage, crumbled

1 lb. dried pasta, such as rigatoni, penne or fusilli

2 tablespoons butter

3 tablespoons grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, plus more on the side

Season the pork all over with 1 teaspoon salt and pepper to taste.

In a food processor, chop together parsley, onions, garlic, pancetta and prosciutto to make a very coarse paste.

Heat the olive oil in a Dutch oven over medium-low heat. Add the seasoning paste and another teaspoon of salt and cook until the paste is fragrant and no more liquid appears when it is stirred, about 7 minutes.

Add the pork roast, cover and reduce the heat to low. Cook, turning every 15 minutes, until the meat is lightly browned and the onions have begun to color, about 1 hour.

Add the red wine, loosely cover and continue cooking until the wine reduces to a thick sauce, about 1 hour, stirring occasionally. If, after 1 hour and 15 minutes, the wine has not reduced sufficiently, remove the roast to a plate, increase the heat to medium-high and cook the sauce until it thickens.

Over low heat, stir in the tomato paste, 2 or 3 tablespoons at a time, stirring in each addition until it mixes into the sauce and darkens to a brick color. Stir in the crushed tomatoes, return the roast to the pan if previously removed, and cover and continue to cook, turning the meat every 30 minutes and stirring the sauce until the meat is tender enough to be easily pierced with a meat fork, 2 to 2 1/2 hours. If the sauce dries out too much and the meat begins to stick to the bottom of the pan, stir in a tablespoon or two of water.

Remove the roast to a plate and keep warm until ready to serve. Crumble the Italian sausage into the sauce and cook until the sauce is extremely dark, shiny and thick, stirring occasionally, about another hour. (The dish can be prepared to this point and refrigerated overnight.)

Cook the pasta in plenty of rapidly boiling, heavily salted water. Warm the sauce if it has been refrigerated.

When the pasta is cooked but still slightly chewy, drain it and toss it in a bowl with the butter. Spoon over half of the sauce and toss just to coat lightly. Transfer to a serving bowl and spoon more sauce over the top. Sprinkle over the Parmigiano-Reggiano and pass more on the side. Makes 6 to 8 servings.

Per serving, based on 8: 472 calories; 17 grams protein; 56 grams carbohydrates; 4 grams fiber; 16 grams fat; 5 grams saturated fat; 24 mg. cholesterol; 7 grams sugar; 980 mg. sodium.

-- The Wichita Eagle—01/13/10

Orange-flavored shortcakes with strawberries and cream

Coarse sugar can be found at baking and cooking supply stores and well-stocked markets.

Shortcakes:

2 cups flour

3 tablespoons granulated sugar

1 tablespoon baking powder

3/4 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon grated orange zest (about 1 large orange)

6 tablespoons cold butter, cut into cubes

2 hard-boiled egg yolks

3/4 cup heavy cream, plus extra for brushing

Coarse sugar for dusting (granulated sugar can be substituted)

Strawberries:

3 pints strawberries, washed, hulled and quartered

2 tablespoons sugar

1 tablespoon orange juice

1 cup whipping cream, beaten to soft peaks

To make shortcakes: Heat oven to 375 degrees.

In a food processor bowl, pulse together the flour, granulated sugar, baking powder, salt and orange zest. Add the cold cubed butter and the egg yolks and pulse together just until the mixture has the texture of lightly moistened cornmeal. There may be a few pea-sized chunks of butter remaining; that's fine.

Pour over 3/4 cup heavy cream and then pulse 4 to 6 times just to moisten the dough. Do not over-mix or the dough will be tough.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and gather into a shaggy mass. Knead 3 to 4 times to make it cohesive and then pat into a rough circle 6 to 7 inches in diameter and a fairly consistent 3/4-inch to 1 inch in thickness.

Using a sharp knife, cut the circle into 6 wedges. Brush the tops very lightly with heavy cream (there should be enough left in the measuring cup) and sprinkle lightly with the coarse sugar.

Transfer to a cookie sheet and bake until risen and golden brown, 18 to 20 minutes. Turn the pan around halfway through to ensure even cooking. Remove to a cooling rack.

For strawberries: While the shortcakes are baking, toss the strawberries, sugar and orange juice together in a bowl. Let stand several minutes. (If the strawberries are extremely firm, do this 30 minutes in advance.)

Split the shortcakes in half horizontally and set the tops aside. Place the bottoms on dessert plates and heap strawberries over them. Spoon whipped cream generously over the strawberries and replace the shortcake tops. Serve immediately with any remaining whipped cream on the side. Makes 6 servings.

Each serving: 599 calories; 8 grams protein; 57 grams carbohydrates; 4 grams fiber; 39 grams fat; 24 grams saturated fat; 193 mg. cholesterol; 567 mg. sodium.

-- The Wichita Eagle—01/13/10

White-chocolate bread pudding with whiskey caramel sauce

This recipe calls for finishing the bread pudding in the oven so the topping is lightly toasted and colored, as with oven-made bread pudding. If possible, cut the bread the night before making the pudding to allow the cubes to dry out.

Bread pudding:

2 cups heavy cream

1 1/4 cups white chocolate chips

1 1/2 cups sugar

2 cups milk

2 eggs, beaten

3 egg yolks, beaten

2 teaspoons vanilla

1 loaf (1 lb.) stale French or Italian bread cubes, cut into 1-inch pieces

2 cups toasted pecans

Caramel sauce:

1/3 cup whiskey

1 1/3 cups sugar

1/2cup water

1 teaspoon corn syrup

1 3/4 cups heavy cream

6 tablespoons ( 3/4stick) butter

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 1/4 teaspoons vanilla extract

In a medium saucepan, heat the cream over medium heat. Meanwhile, place the chocolate chips in a large mixing bowl. When the cream comes to a simmer, remove the pan from the heat and pour the hot cream over the chocolate chips, whisking until the chips dissolve. Whisk the sugar into the mixture, then the milk, eggs, egg yolks and vanilla to form a custard base.

Add the bread to the bowl, gently stirring to coat the cubes with the custard base. Set the mixture aside to allow the bread to soak, about 45 minutes, tossing every several minutes so the cubes completely and evenly soak in the custard base.

Toss the pecans into the soaked bread mixture, then pour the mixture into a greased slow cooker insert. Cover the insert and place it in the slow cooker. Set the cooker to high heat and cook just until the custard is set in the center, about 1 1/2 hours (the time will vary depending on your model and type), or about 3 hours over low heat. The pudding is done when the custard is set in the center. Turn off the slow cooker, uncover and remove the insert.

While the custard is cooking, heat the oven to 400 degrees.

Place the slow cooker insert in the oven and continue to bake just until the top of the pudding is lightly colored and toasted. Remove to a rack to cool slightly.

To make sauce: In a small saute pan, pour the whiskey and place the pan over medium-high heat. Gently and carefully tilt the pan over the flame to flambe the alcohol (the alcohol will catch fire). Immediately remove from heat and let the flame continue to burn; the flame will self-extinguish when the alcohol is burned out of the whiskey. Set the whiskey aside.

In a large saucepan, combine the sugar, water and corn syrup, stirring until the sugar has the consistency of wet sand. Place the saucepan over high heat and cook until the sugar dissolves and begins to boil. Do not stir the sugar, as this may cause it to seize.

While the sugar is cooking, combine the cream, butter and salt in a saucepan over medium heat. Keep an eye on the sugar while you're heating the cream to keep it from scorching. Cook until the butter melts, stirring it into the cream. When the mixture has come to a simmer, remove from heat.

Continue to cook the sugar until it darkens to a rich caramel color, 7 to 10 minutes — the sugar will darken quickly and noticeably and will smell faintly nutty. Swirl the pan as the sugar darkens to judge the true color of the caramel (the sugar may darken in patches if there are hot spots on the stove). Watch carefully as the sugar can easily overcook at this point and burn.

As soon as the color is a rich caramel, immediately remove the pan from the heat and quickly add the cream mixture in a slow, steady stream. The sugar will bubble and steam as the cream is added; be careful as both the mixture and steam are very hot. Carefully stir in the whiskey and vanilla.

Stir the caramel until it stops bubbling, then remove to a heat-proof container until needed. This makes about 2 1/2 cups sauce.

When the pudding is baked, spoon generous helpings into warm bowls. Drizzle the whiskey caramel sauce over it and serve immediately. Makes 8 to 10 servings.

Per serving, based on 10: 1,023 calories; 13 grams protein; 101 grams carbohydrates; 3 grams fiber; 64 grams fat; 30 grams saturated fat; 242 mg. cholesterol; 423 mg. sodium.

-- The Wichita Eagle—01/13/10

Bell pepper and corn slaw

6 large bell peppers, assorted colors

2 ears corn, shucked

Juice of 2 lemons, or to taste

Zest of 1 lemon

1 clove garlic, minced

1/4 cup olive oil

1 tablespoon agave syrup or honey, or to taste

1 teaspoon salt, or to taste

1/2 teaspoon chipotle or New Mexico chile powder, or to taste

1/4 cup chopped cilantro

Core the peppers and cut them into lengthwise strips no thicker than one-eighth inch and about 2 1/2 inches long. Place the sliced pepper in a large bowl.

Slice the kernels off the cob, and toss them with the peppers.

In a small bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, zest, garlic, olive oil, agave syrup, salt and chipotle powder to form a dressing. Taste and adjust to taste.

Pour the dressing over the pepper-and-corn mix and toss well to coat completely. Stir in the cilantro and toss until evenly combined. This makes about 6 cups slaw.

Cover and refrigerate the pepper slaw at least 1 hour before serving. The slaw will keep for up to 2 days, refrigerated. Makes 6 to 8 servings.

Per serving based on 8: 117 calories; 2 grams protein; 14 grams carbohydrates; 3 grams fiber; 7 grams fat; 1 gram saturated fat; 0 cholesterol; 302 mg. sodium.

-- The Wichita Eagle—01/13/10

Potato gratin with caramelized onions and prosciutto

The caramelized onions can be prepared separately. They'll keep tightly covered in the refrigerator for at least a week.

Caramelized onions:

5 lbs. brown onions (about 6 large)

1/2 cup oil

1 tablespoon salt

Potatoes:

3 lbs. waxy potatoes, unpeeled (about 7 potatoes)

3 5/8 cups milk

1/2 cup heavy cream

2 cloves garlic, crushed

1 bay leaf

2 teaspoons salt

Butter

1 cup caramelized onions

4 slices prosciutto, thinly sliced crosswise

3 oz. Gruyere, Comte or Emmentaler cheese, very thinly sliced or grated

To make onions: Cut off the stem and root ends of the onions, then halve them lengthwise and peel away the dried brown skin. Cut the onions lengthwise into one-fourth-inch-thick slices. As you finish, gather the onions in a large, heavy-bottomed pot (preferably cast iron). A 7-quart pot will work just about perfectly.

When all the onions have been sliced, pour over the oil and the salt and stir to combine. Set over medium heat and cover. Cook until the onions begin to wilt, stirring every 10 to 15 minutes to keep from sticking. As the onions soften, they will reduce in size quite dramatically.

After 20 to 30 minutes, the onions will be quite soft and will begin to stick to the bottom. Reduce the heat to low and continue cooking with the pot covered, stirring every 10 to 15 minutes to keep from sticking.

After 45 to 50 minutes, the onions will be silky and will be swimming in moisture. Remove the lid and increase the heat back to medium. Cook, stirring frequently, until the moisture has mostly evaporated and the onions have begun to turn golden, about 25 to 30 more minutes.

Once again, reduce the heat to low and continue cooking, stirring every 15 to 20 minutes, until the onions really begin to brown more deeply, about 2 more hours (this will make 2 1/2 to 3 hours total).

At this point, you'll need to watch the onions very carefully, stirring every couple of minutes or so. Cook until the onions have been reduced to a deep, reddish-brown marmalade, watching that they do not dry out, about 1 more hour, making 3 to 4 hours total.

For potatoes: Heat oven to 375 degrees and put a jellyroll pan in the bottom of the oven to catch any drips. Slice the potatoes crosswise as thinly as possible.

Put the potatoes in a 3-quart saucepan and add the milk, cream, garlic, bay leaf and salt. Cover and bring to a gentle simmer. When the liquid starts to bubble around the edges, remove the lid and cook until the potatoes are firm but tender, about 20 minutes in all.

Rub the inside of a large gratin dish with a generous amount of butter. Using a slotted spoon, transfer about half the potatoes to the dish and arrange in an even layer.

Stir together the caramelized onions and the prosciutto and distribute this evenly across the potatoes (it will be just enough to form a very thin layer).

Pour the remaining potatoes and cooking liquid into the gratin dish, arranging the potatoes in an even layer. There should be enough liquid to almost cover the potatoes. Scatter the cheese over the top and bake until the top is bubbly and evenly browned, about 1 hour. Makes 8 to 10 servings.

Per serving, based on 10: 317 calories; 11 grams protein; 34 grams carbohydrates; 3 grams fiber; 16 grams fat; 7 grams saturated fat; 42 mg. cholesterol; 986 mg. sodium.

-- The Wichita Eagle—01/13/10

Julienne's graham cracker chewy bars

Serve at room temperature, so the flavors meld together.

Crust:

3 cups graham cracker crumbs

3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) butter, at room temperature

1/4 cup sugar

2 tablespoons flour

Topping:

2 1/2 cups brown sugar

4 extra-large eggs

2/3 cup graham cracker crumbs

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

3/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1 cup pecans, chopped

Powdered sugar, if desired

Heat the oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl with an electric mixer, or in the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the graham cracker crumbs, butter, sugar and flour until moist and well-blended. Press the mixture firmly and evenly over the bottom of a 13- by 9-inch baking pan. Bake until the crust is golden brown, 10 to 15 minutes.

While the crust is baking, in a large bowl, whisk together the brown sugar and eggs to blend. Whisk in the graham cracker crumbs, vanilla, salt and baking powder until well-blended. Stir in the pecans.

Spread the mixture over the baked crust and return to the 350-degree oven until the filling is light-golden on top and jiggles slightly when tapped, 20 to 25 minutes. Transfer the pan to a cooling rack and cool completely.

Sprinkle a light coating of sifted powdered sugar over the pan if desired, and cut into 24 bars. The bars can be made 1 day in advance. Wrap in plastic and keep at room temperature. Makes 24 bars.

Adapted from "Celebrating With Julienne" by Susan Campoy.

Each bar: 247 calories; 2 grams protein; 36 grams carbohydrates; 1 gram fiber; 11 grams fat; 4 grams saturated fat; 50 mg. cholesterol; 184 mg. sodium.

-- The Wichita Eagle—01/13/10

Rice noodles with Chinese chives, shrimp and pork

Chinese chives are significantly larger than Western chives, and their flat leaves have a delicate garlic, rather than onion, flavor. In Chinese and Southeast Asian markets, they are typically sold in 1-pound bundles.

1/2 lb. medium dried flat rice noodles (banh pho)

1 1/2 teaspoons sugar, divided

3 tablespoons fish sauce

3 tablespoons water

2 tablespoons canola or other neutral oil

3 cloves garlic, finely chopped

1/2 lb. shrimp, peeled, deveined and chopped into pea-sized pieces

1/3 lb. ground pork, coarsely chopped to loosen

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 lb. Chinese chives, bottom 1/2 -inch trimmed and cut into 3-inch lengths

2 or 3 limes, quartered

Place the noodles in a bowl and cover with hot tap water. Let them soak until they are pliable and opaque, about 15 to 20 minutes. Drain and use kitchen scissors to cut them into 3- to 4-inch lengths.

To make the flavoring sauce, in a small bowl combine 1 1/4 teaspoons sugar, the fish sauce and water, and stir to dissolve the sugar. Set aside.

In a wok or large skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and stir-fry just until fragrant, about 15 seconds. Add the shrimp and pork and stir briefly to break up the meat. Sprinkle in the salt and remaining 1/4 teaspoon sugar. Keep stirring until the shrimp and pork have turned opaque, about 2 minutes. Stir in the Chinese chives. Because there is so much food in the pan now, use 2 cooking utensils to stir and toss the ingredients, ensuring even exposure to the heat. (Think of tossing a big salad.)

When the chives have collapsed by one-third of their original volume, after about 3 minutes, add the noodles and combine well. When all of the ingredients are thoroughly combined, give the flavoring sauce a stir and pour over the mixture. Continue stirring and tossing 2 to 3 minutes longer, or until the noodles and chives are soft and cooked.

Remove from the heat, squeeze 4 lime wedges (1 lime) over the noodles, and mix well to distribute the flavors. Transfer to a serving plate and serve immediately with the remaining lime wedges. Servings: 2 to 3 as a main course, 4 to 6 as a side.

Per servings, based on 3 servings: 604 calories; 27 grams protein; 77 grams carbohydrates; 4 grams fiber; 22 grams fat; 5 grams saturated fat; 148 mg. cholesterol; 1,753 mg. sodium.

-- The Wichita Eagle—01/13/10

Quinoa salad with shiitakes, fennel and cashews

Quinoa is generally available at health food stores and well-stocked supermarkets.

2 cups quinoa

1 quart water

Salt

1/4 cup peanut oil

5 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced

2 cups thinly sliced fennel (about 1 large bulb)

2 cups sliced fresh shiitake mushrooms

1 cup sliced green onions, both white and green parts (about 1 small bunch)

1 tablespoon soy sauce

1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar

1/2 cup toasted, salted cashews

4 tablespoons minced fresh parsley

4 tablespoons minced fresh cilantro

Finely grated zest and juice of 1 lime

Rinse the quinoa under cool running water, then drain well with a fine-mesh sieve or cheesecloth-lined strainer (the grains are very small and will slip through a coarse strainer). Heat a wok over medium-high heat and toast the quinoa, shaking the pan frequently, just until the grains dry, are just beginning to color and have a nutty aroma, about 4 minutes. Set aside in a bowl.

In a medium, lidded pot, bring 1 quart of water to a boil over high heat. Stir in the quinoa with a pinch of salt, then reduce the heat to a simmer and cover. Cook the quinoa until the grains are translucent and tender and the germ has spiraled out from the grain, 12 to 15 minutes (be careful not to overcook). Remove from heat, drain and set aside.

Meanwhile, heat the wok again over high heat. Add the peanut oil and heat until it just begins to simmer. Stir in the garlic and fry, stirring constantly, just until the garlic is golden, about 30 seconds (the garlic can burn quickly). Remove the garlic with a slotted spoon, keeping the oil in the pan, and set aside.

Add the fennel to the oil and fry, stirring or tossing frequently, until it is caramelized, 5 to 7 minutes. Remove from the oil and set aside. Add the shiitakes to the oil and stir-fry until caramelized, 4 to 5 minutes. Stir the green onions in with the mushrooms and continue to stir-fry just until the green onions begin to wilt, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the soy sauce and vinegar to the mixture and stir or toss to combine, then remove from heat.

In a large bowl, gently toss the quinoa with the warm shiitake-green onion mixture, the fennel, garlic, cashews, parsley, cilantro, lime zest and juice. Season to taste with additional salt if desired and serve immediately. Makes 4 to 6 servings.

Per serving, based on 6: 497 calories; 17 grams protein; 65 grams carbohydrates; 9 grams fiber; 18 grams fat; 3 grams saturated fat; 0 cholesterol; 273 mg. sodium

-- The Wichita Eagle—01/13/10

Pizza Margherita

The tomato sauce recipe makes 3 cups sauce, more than is needed for two pizzas. The remainder can be refrigerated for up to one week, for another use. The dough makes enough for four pizzas. Leftover dough can be stored in the freezer in a tightly sealed bag for up to 1 month.

Basic pizza dough:

1 3/4 cups lukewarm water

2 teaspoons sugar or honey

4 cups bread flour, divided, plus more for kneading

1 pkg. active-dry yeast

2 teaspoons salt

3 tablespoons olive oil

Basic tomato sauce:

1 can (28 oz.) chopped tomatoes, preferably San Marzano

1 tablespoon minced fresh basil

1 1/2 teaspoons minced fresh oregano

1 teaspoon minced garlic

3 tablespoons pitted and chopped kalamata olives, from about 10 whole

1/8 teaspoon pepper

Salt

Pizza assembly:

2 prepared pizza dough disks

1/2 cup basic tomato sauce, divided

1 cup grated low-moisture mozzarella cheese, divided, plus more if desired

1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided, plus more if desired

To make dough: In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the water with the sugar and 2 teaspoons flour. Whisk in the yeast. Set aside until the yeast begins to foam or bubble, about 10 minutes. (If the yeast fails to bubble, discard the mixture and start over.) Meanwhile, whisk the salt into the remaining flour until evenly combined.

When the yeast is bubbly, stir in the oil using a fork. Begin adding the flour mixture, a cup at a time, stirring until combined. As more flour is added, it may become tough to stir the dough with the fork. Continue incorporating the flour with your hands, gently kneading it into the dough while still in the bowl. When all the flour is added, turn the dough out onto a well-floured board.

Knead the dough just until it comes together in a smooth, supple mass, 7 to 10 minutes. Flour the dough and board as needed to enable kneading, but do not over-flour the dough or it will be tough; the dough should be very moist and somewhat sticky throughout (the high moisture content will keep the crust from drying out when baked).

Clean and lightly oil the mixing bowl. Place the dough back in the bowl, lightly oil the top of the dough, then cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight (this slows the proofing process to allow the flavors to develop).

About 2 hours before baking, remove the dough from the refrigerator, punch it down and divide it into 4 equal pieces. Roll each piece into a ball and place on a greased baking sheet. Lightly oil the top of each ball and loosely cover with plastic wrap. Set aside until almost doubled in size, 1 to 2 hours.

Lightly flour each ball of dough to keep it from sticking. Gently stretch each ball into a flat disk, working from the center of the dough outward, then stretching the outer crust to widen the disk. If the dough springs back, set it aside to rest on a floured surface and move to the next ball. Continue to stretch until each disk is 10 to 12 inches in diameter.

Place each disk on a well-floured pizza peel or flat baking sheet before assembling to prevent the pizza from sticking before it is moved to the oven.

To make pizza sauce: Place the tomatoes in the bowl of a food processor or a blender and add the basil, oregano, garlic, olives and pepper. Pulse the sauce until thoroughly combined and smooth. Taste the sauce and season as needed (canned tomatoes will vary widely in sodium content, resulting in some sauces that require less salt than others). Remove the sauce to a bowl, lightly cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until needed. This makes about 3 cups tomato sauce.

To make pizzas: Prepare the oven, setting the temperature as high as it will go (most ovens will reach 500 to 550 degrees). It's best to start heating the oven at least 45 minutes before you plan to start baking.

Place one pizza disk on a peel sprinkled with extra flour or cornmeal to prevent sticking. Spread one-fourth cup sauce over the pizza, then sprinkle one-half cup mozzarella and 2 tablespoons Parmesan evenly over the sauce.

Slide the first pizza into the oven. The pizza will be done when the crust is puffed and rich golden-brown in color, the cheese is melted and the sauce is bubbling gently, from 6 to 12 minutes, depending on how your oven is set up (the hotter the oven, the shorter the time). Remove the first pizza and cool for a minute or two to set up for cleaner slicing, or set aside in a warm place until the second pizza is baked.

Allow the oven to reheat while you assemble the second pizza. Bake the second pizza and serve immediately. Makes 2 (10- to 12-inch) pizzas, about 12 slices. (Reserve remaining 2 crusts for using later.)

Each slice: 137 calories; 6 grams protein; 18 grams carbohydrates; 1 gram fiber; 5 grams fat; 2 grams saturated fat; 9 mg. cholesterol; 310 mg. sodium.

-- The Wichita Eagle—01/13/10

Sizzling shrimp with garlic and hot pepper

Use an 11- or 12-inch Spanish cazuela or straight-sided Flameware skillet. She also recommends using a heat diffuser for slow, steady cooking (especially if using an electric or ceramic stove top). Aleppo pepper can generally be found in Middle Eastern markets and cooking stores, as well as online. Marash pepper can be found at select Middle Eastern markets and online.

1 lb. peeled small (about 60) or medium-large deveined (24 to 30) shrimp

1 scant cup extra-virgin olive oil, preferably Spanish

1 tablespoon finely chopped garlic

1 teaspoon mildly hot dried red pepper such as Aleppo or Marash

2 tablespoons hot water

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1/4 teaspoon sweet pimenton de la Vera (smoked Spanish paprika)

4 to 6 slices chewy country bread

Rinse the shrimp and wipe dry with paper towels. Leave them at room temperature for 10 to 15 minutes so they are not ice-cold when they hit the pan.

Combine the olive oil, garlic and hot pepper in the cazuela. Set it over medium-low heat and warm the pan slowly, gradually raising the heat to medium or medium-high until the oil is hot. Continue to cook until the garlic sizzles and just turns golden, 2 to 3 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Immediately add all the shrimp and cook until they are firm and curled, 2 to 4 minutes, depending on their size.

Sprinkle with 2 tablespoons hot water and pinches of sea salt and pimenton. Serve at once right from the pot with the bread for soaking up the delicious oily sauce. Makes 4 to 6 servings.

Adapted from "Mediterranean Clay Pot Cooking" by Paula Wolfert.

Per serving, based on 6 servings: 415 calories; 15 grams protein; 15 grams carbohydrates; 1 gram fiber; 33 grams fat; 5 grams saturated fat; 112 mg. cholesterol; 0 sugar; 470 mg. sodium.

-- The Wichita Eagle—01/13/10

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