Italian Night: Pizza Frutti di Mare & “Whit’s Spritz”
You know how much it sucks when you spend hours slaving over a hot stove, preparing a beautiful meal for a dinner party…
…and then you drop it in the sink?
No? Not that clumsy/stupid?
Well, I do. Though I was totally exaggerating about the “hours” part. This recipe only takes about 20-30 minutes total.
For today’s WIAW, I’m treating you to an Italian feast (after we get through my horrible mishap).
Ever since returning from Italy, I’ve been dying to recreate some of the delicious treats I experienced there, namely the Spritz cocktail and Pizze Frutti di Mare (Seafood Pizza).
So for a recent dinner party, I decided to display my cultural-cuisine skills and treat our guests to these two delightful Italian favorites.
The night started off perfectly, with everyone raving about how much they loved the Spritz.
Even one of my strict Whiskey-drinking pals said it was “delicious.”
Traditionally, a Spritz is enjoyed as a pre-dinner drink or “apertif,” aka our version of happy hour. It is a very simple combination of Prosecco and a bitter liqueur, usually either Campari or Aperol.
On our vacay, we liked to get ours with Aperol, which is slightly less bitter than Campari but also has an orangey taste.
Unfortunately, we couldn’t find Aperol anywhere, so we settled on Campari and threw in a bit of Triple Sec (orange liqueur) to give it that hint of sweetness.
The result was legen — wait for it — dary (sorry, How I Met Your Mother is back on and I’ve got Barney Stinson on the brain).
I call it “Whit’s Spritz.”
4 oz Prosecco
1/2 oz Campari
1/2 oz Triple Sec
Lemon Slice to Garnish
1. Put it all in a glass, swirl, and sip.
Total Calories: 170
(reduce to 1/4 oz of each liqueur — 1/2 T.— for only 125 calories a glass)
With the birth of the Whit’s Spritz, and its undeniable popularity, I was riding high. This dinner was to be a great success.
Following a toast to the evening, I headed back to the kitchen to prepare the night’s main event, the pizza.
Before I get into the details and directions for this fabulous dish though, I’ll finish my story.
I had perfectly cooked all the fresh seafood for my meal, baked the pizza, and was prepared to serve it to my guests, when I noticed it looked a little watery on top.
Now, most people would probably dab that moisture off with a paper towel. However, being the one-Spritz-down-genius I was that evening, I decided to tip it over the sink and let the liquid drain off.
I’m sure you see where this is going.
Unfortunately, I don’t have a picture of the devastating wreckage — a mountain of beautiful seafood piled high in a dirty sink — so you’ll just have to imagine it. It was heart-wrenching.
The night culminated in an sad call to D’Amores and vow to never tip a fully cooked meal over the sink again.
Lucky for you though, I’m not a quitter. I gave the pizza another try last night and am happy to report that this one is certified, sink-free.
I made my own whole-wheat crust from scratch for this but didn’t enjoy it as much as the pre-made crust we usually get from Whole Foods, so I won’t share that recipe today.
Unless you have your own dough recipe that you love, I recommend buying Boboli’s Whole Wheat Crust or the 365 Whole Food’s Whole Wheat Crust. Both are low-cal and perfectly crispy on the outside, chewy on the inside. Save yourself the time and get one of these so you can focus on the seafood.
Seafood Pizza (Pizza Frutti di Mare)
Whole Wheat Pizza Crust
1/2 lb. raw de-shelled Shrimp
5 Calamari Tubes
1/2 C. Dry White Wine
1 C. Red Sauce (just pick your favorite)
1 C. Cherry Tomatos
2 Garlic Cloves
4 T. Parsley
1 T. Olive Oil
1. Pre-heat oven according to directions for your pizza crust. Usually it’s about 450.
2. Wash and scrub the mussels. Cook in a covered pot with the white wine over medium heat for about 5 minutes.
3. Cut calamari tubes into 1/4 inch rings.
4. Heat olive oil in and saute garlic, tomatos, and 2 T. parsley for about 3-5 minutes, until tomatoes will pierce easily.
5. Add calamari tubes and continue to saute for 2 minutes.
6. Add shrimp and saute for 2 more minutes until shrimp are slightly pink, but not fully cooked.
7. Place the pizza on a noon-stick baking sheet or pizza sheet (we just got this great one from Target with ventilation holes on the bottom). Top pizza crust with red sauce and then seafood mixture. Leave mussels to the side.
8. Bake for 10-12 minutes. If you need cheese, remove the pizza at 10 minutes, add a 1/4 cup Parmesan, and return to the oven for 2 more minutes.
9. Remove pizza from the oven, top with mussels and remaining parsley.
*Remember to remove mussels from their shells before slicing and serving.
Total Calories: about 140 per slice, 8 servings
For large slices, 6 servings = 185 calories each. Both estimates are without cheese.