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Italian Night

Every other Thursday night we host a small group at our house for young married couples. It is always so much fun--they are a great group! We always have a meal together and everyone contributes something. There's usually a theme, like last night's was Italian. It was so good, I thought I would share a couple of the recipes.

Zesty Deep Dish Pizza
3-31/2 cups flour, divided
1 pkg. rapid-rising yeast
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp. sugar
1/4 tsp. pepper (I like freshly ground)
1 cup warm water
3 Tbls. olive oil
1 egg, slightly beaten (this is only necessary if you don't use a stone for baking)

3 Tbls. Parmesan cheese
1 jar (15 oz.) pizza or spaghetti sauce
1 med. onion, minced
2-3 cups Mozzarella cheese
20 pepperoni slices
Optional toppings that we like:
black olives
bell pepper

In a large bowl, combine 1 1/2 cups flour, yeast, Parmesan cheese, sugar, salt and pepper. Add warm water and oil, blend until moistened. With a wooden spoon add enough remaining flour to make a firm dough (you can use a mixer w/dough hooks for this if you like). Turn dough onto a floured board. Knead for 3-5 minutes. When dough is smooth and elastic, roll into a circle 16" in diameter. Lightly brush top with beaten egg (if not using a baking stone). Flip dough, egg side down, into a greased 14" deep dish pan. Push dough halfway up sides of pan, cover with damp paper towels and let rise for about 20 minutes. Preheat oven to 425F. When dough is ready, sprinkle with Parmesan cheese, spread sauce over evenly, top with onions, then pepperoni and finally cheese (or use whatever toppings you like). Last of all, sprinkle the top with oregano. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until edges are lightly golden and cheese is melted. Serves 4.
(A funny sidenote: I got this recipe from a Seventeen magazine when I was a teenager, so I've been making this pizza for over 20 years now. It's definitely a keeper!)

The Best Salad Dressing Ever
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp. dried mustard
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 medium onion
1/2 cup vinegar
3/4 cup oil
1 tsp. celery seeds
Combine all above ingredients in blender and puree until onion is smooth.
Serve on salad of your choice. Mine included a bag of Italian mix lettuce, red onion, fresh mushrooms and craisins.
(I got this recipe from one of my students in our youth group--delish!)

Hope you enjoy these!


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