Portabello Pizza Bites
While things are starting to change now, for weeks – nay months – flipping on the computer each morning was a painful reminder of Connecticut’s delayed progression out of a dreadful winter. It was agony reading about people in warmer climates starting to experience the bounty of spring, when the ice layer over home hadn’t yet thawed. I remember someone mentioned fresh strawberries early on and I couldn’t get Aran’s stunning pictures of the cutest, ripest baby tomatoes out of my mind as I sifted through baskets and baskets of kale at the market. I don’t know about you, but when I march out in 19 degree wind chill, I expect to be rewarded with something far, far more exciting than yet another bushel of kale.
So instead of treating myself to local berries, I baked bread. And then I realized we hadn’t had bread on the site since my last minute Thanksgiving crisis last fall. And yea, that needed to be fixed. Bread is kind of a big deal. And an even a bigger deal if it’s in bite-size form. But every time I sat down to write about my newest bite-sized delight, I would stand right back up and make another batch. I’m only resisting the urge now because I’m a ten minute walk away from the comfort of my kitchen and that familiar feeling of dusting my hands in flour.
I saw these pizza bites on Annie’s site months ago and immediately wanted some. There was a little wrangling to be done since, last I checked, pepperoni didn’t fit into the pescatarian diet. And I hate the stuff regardless. I consulted with Amanda and the contents of my fridge and dreamed up a parmesan mushroom spinach concoction. My favorite combination remains pretty close to that first attempt. Green pepper and mozza are definitely invited to this party whenever they’re around. The pepper provides that extra snap-crackle-pop, and mozzarella’s creaminess here can’t be matched.
I thought I already had a pizza dough I was in love with, but figured I’d use Annie’s here. And now I’m wondering where this pizza dough recipe has been all my life. I’m not sure I noticed a change in taste, but it just feels like pizza dough should and shapes so much easier than pizza doughs I’ve dealt with in the past. I’m in love. Definitely make the full batch of dough, freeze away the other half and then rejoice when you find it and its shortcut to a fun dinner weeks later.
Dipped in a quick tomato sauce, these bites are so good. They’ll disappear far faster than you imagine.
Portabello Pizza Dough Bites
Adapted heavily from Annie’s Eats. As I’ve mentioned above, the filling is completely adaptable to your own tastes and available ingredients.
1/2 batch pizza dough
4 oz. mozzarella cheese, cubed (about 20-24 pieces)
1 green pepper, diced
10-12 baby bellas, chopped
Salt and pepper
Preheat the oven to 400˚F.
Heat about 1 tablespoon olive oil to saute pan. Add green pepper and baby bellas and saute until the mushrooms have released their juices, about 8-10 minutes.
Grease a 9-inch cake pan. Using a pastry scraper, divide the pizza dough into 20-24 roughly equal sized pieces. Take a piece of dough, flatten gently and then add one piece of cheese and a teaspoon or so of the vegetable mix. Pull the edges up and around the fillings and pinch closed. Place the bite in the cake pan seam-side down. Repeat until you’ve used all the dough.
Once finished, brush olive oil onto the bites and sprinkle with oregano. Top with grated Parmesan. Bake 20 minutes, or until tops start to brown.
Pizza bites are best served warm, dipped in a good tomato sauce. If you only have canned tomato sauce on hand, just add a little bit of salt and fresh basil for an easy and delicious compliment to the bread. Pizza bites keep well for at least one week in the fridge. Microwave for about 15 seconds to bring back to life.