Musing: Dining in the Time of Pandemic

A Pasta Frittata

Solace and joy. This is what I feel almost every night I prepare our dinner while confined during this pandemic. The relief and comfort that come from making an old family recipe or the joy from discovering a new one, along with a nightly cocktail, keeps us going.

Today, I’m highlighting just two examples of dishes from last week that sustained not only our bodies but our souls.

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Pizza Crust III


A Saturday night without guests for dinner offered us a chance to play with our new Breville pizza oven which I wrote about in my post last month. Rather than changing too many variables, I used the same NY Times recipe as I did the first time I used the new “toy.” However, to improve the balance between the crisp and chew factors, I made 10-inch rather than 11- or 12-inch pizzas and adjusted the amount of sauce used.

I found that making smaller pizzas gave me the perfect amount of chew without decreasing the pizzas’ crispness. I cooked one of the pizzas at the highest temperature (the “thin” setting) for 7 minutes and the second on at a slightly lower temperature (closer to the oven’s “medium” setting) for about 10 minutes.

Both pizzas were very good; but, as the second pizza was sauced a tad more heavily and had a longer cooking time, we thought it was better than the first. The extended cooking at a lower temperature allowed the sauce to develop more flavor and the edges to cook a little more evenly.

The second pizza
The second pizza

Some other variations from last month’s pizzas included using smoked mozzarella and topping one of the cooked pizzas with some wild arugula. Using the smoked cheese added a meaty flavor to the pies, which was perfectly complement by the wild arugula topping on the second.

One side note: when we purchased the oven at Williams-Sonoma a couple of weeks ago, it was $149. Last week, it went on sale for $129. We returned to the store with our emailed receipt and without any hassle they refunded the difference.

Wine Pairing: Lambrusco, Chianti