Date Night Flatbread Pizzas

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Rich and I had planned to go out to dinner last night and then maybe to a movie. Calvin has the day off from school today and had an overnight last night with my parents, so we were footloose and fancy free. Of course, when it came time to pick a restaurant, Rich and I were clueless. Even after running through a litany of old favorites and new possibilities, we ended up with a big, fat zero. The process of choosing was stressing us out, so we decided to stop trying to force it and make something at home instead.

Flatbread pizzas had caught my eye on several of the menus we perused. I do find that name kind of funny, and even redundant – what is a pizza, if not a flatbread, after all? But it is a recognizable thing on restaurant menus, so I’ll stick with the name, even if it offends my literal tendencies just a little bit.

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I mixed up our standby whole wheat pizza dough and let it rise while we concocted and gathered the rest of the ingredients. We had one shallot, which I decided to caramelize. It was as easy as pie to let it slowly transform to a lovely golden brown in the pan while we worked on the rest of dinner. I’m not sure why I have never caramelized shallots before, though if I had, we would have realized that a trip to the store for a few more would have been worth it. We both agreed we wanted at least twice as many shallots on our flatbreads.

In addition to the shallots, we used Jarlsberg, mozzarella, ricotta and Parmigiano-Reggiano, a little diced chicken breast from the freezer, fresh rosemary from my plant in the flowerbed, thinly sliced apple, garlic and olive oil.

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We made one flatbread with garlic, rosemary, chicken and mozzarella, one with rosemary, garlic and all the cheeses and two with apple, Jarlsberg and shallots. They were as good as some restaurant flatbread pizzas we have had. And we got to make them with exactly the toppings we wanted.

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Our evening was a little more low key than our original plans, but we weren’t complaining. We got a cozy evening together, cooking, eating and spending time doing exactly what we wanted – sounds like a perfect date night to me.

Roasted Parmesan Potatoes

I don’t fry things; in fact I have never deep-fried anything. Don’t get me wrong, I eat fried foods, but I am not a fan of working with large quantities of hot oil. I will do it one day, but when I do, it is going to be a doughnut, not a potato. Roasting potatoes that are coated with olive oil is about the closest I am going to get to making my own French fries. Roasted Parmesan potatoes will make you forget all about fries, and maybe even the rest of the meal.

You can’t get much easier than this recipe. Scrub and chop potatoes, toss with a little (or a lot) of olive oil, Parmesan cheese, salt, pepper and a little rosemary (or not). Spread on a baking pan, add a little more cheese and roast for 30 minutes, stirring halfway through. You end up with golden brown potatoes, crispy on the outside and soft in the middle. Another addition of cheese and you will be in potato eaters’ heaven.

Download or print the recipe here.

Roasted Parmesan Potatoes
From The Cook’s Life
Serves 4

4-5 medium potatoes (I used Yukon Golds, but any kind will do)
2 tablespoons olive oil
½ cup shredded Parmesan cheese (use the real stuff, not the green can), divided
1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary (optional)
Salt
Pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Lightly grease a large baking sheet and set aside. Scrub potatoes and peel, if desired. I didn’t peel them this time. Cut potatoes into approximately 1-inch cubes.

Toss potatoes with olive oil, 2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese, rosemary, salt and pepper. Spread in single layer on the baking sheet. Sprinkle with another 2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese.

Roast undisturbed for 15 minutes, then use a spatula to gently turn and stir potatoes. Roast for another 15 minutes, or until golden brown and crispy. Bake a few extra minutes if potatoes aren’t golden brown. Top potatoes with remaining Parmesan cheese and serve while hot.