I looked on the blog for my work pizza kebab “recipe” the other day–thinking it would be great for Super Bowl snacks– and couldn’t find it. I had posted it on Facebook, but hadn’t blogged it. Perhaps because you might not really need a recipe for pizza kebabs. On the other hand, you might never have thought of them either. I had to search out the photo, get the date, and save it to iPhoto as I hadn’t even kept it. A very sorry management practice!
For part of 2014 and nearly all of 2015, I worked as a Jenn-Air and Dacor chef, demonstrating and teaching cooking techniques at the local high-end appliance store. It was mostly great fun and one of the things that most interested me was the need to invent quick attractive-to-the-masses recipes.
While I often teach a cooking class about pizza, I couldn’t figure out how to fit it into the time frame of my weekly demonstration. (And yes, in the class you do get to eat your work. You also take dough home to try it out in your own kitchen. See below. I teach 1/2-sheet pan pizza-making. No special equipment needed. Feeds a bunch.)
One day as I was thinking about what could go on kebabs — always popular and easy for demonstrating — I thought about pizza. True, it might mean skipping the crust, but most people were avoiding carbs like the plague anyway. The small fresh mozzarella balls called bocconcini (boh-kan-CHEE-nee)–which means “little bites” in Italian–would be good, and they come in an even smaller cherry size called ciligine. No cutting involved-YES! Cherry tomatoes? Why not? Olives…perfect. Something green for textural interest and taste could be fresh basil leaves. And I might easily fry up Italian sausage links and slice them afterward, right? A purchased jar of great marinara (I like Rao’s) would be the much-loved dip and would save me making my own sauce. And so the little cocktail nibble (meal?) I dubbed PIZZA KEBABS was born. I think they’ll fly right along with the Broncos this Sunday for a big win and are easily transportable. Buy some local sausage if you can. In Colorado, I like Sara’s Sausage, made right up the hill from me in Palmer Lake. Try this:
makes about 10 4-6 inch skewers
You can also add pepperoni, sautéed bell pepper or onion chunks, and so on to make the kebabs your very own. You may get more or less pieces of each ingredient depending upon size or how it’s sold in your market. No fresh basil? Sub some fresh spinach leaves. For those needing a gluten-free version, please check each individually purchased item’s ingredient list.
- 10 4-6 inch wooden skewers (You can cut the longer ones in half.)
- 4 Italian sausage links, hot or mild, fried ’til done through (165 degrees F–no pink), chopped into about 1-inch pieces (You’ll get maybe 5 pieces? out of each link for a total of 20 pieces.)
- 20 cherry-size fresh mozzarella balls –about 30 ounces (These come in pint or quart containers in the cheese or deli section of a typical supermarket.)
- 20 each large pitted kalamata olives and cherry tomatoes
- 20 large fresh basil leaves
- 1 1/4 cups good-quality marinara sauce for dipping
For each skewer, thread first the sausage piece, then a basil leaf, an olive, next a cherry tomato, another basil leaf, one bocconchini, and, last, a second piece of sausage. Serve warm or at room temperature with marinara sauce for dipping.
Make your own marinara sauce–recipe here.
WINE: Zinfandel, please, with Italian sausage. I like the somewhat drier versions versus the jammy ones out of Lodi, Seghesio — only a tiny splurge for the entry level — being a longtime favorite.
PRINTABLE RECIPE HERE: Pizza Kebabs
Sing a new song,