Food and Wine Pairing: Roasted Garlic, Tomato and Spinach Pizza and Llai Llai Pinot Noir, Bio Bio Valley, Chile 2008
Ohhhh, this was good — the easiest best pizza I ever made. Super fast and super simple, this pizza came together in just a few minutes time, though you’d never know it from how delicious it was. The secret is in the roasted garlic. This was my first time roasting garlic – I know, crazy, right?! — but now that I know how easy it is and the rich flavor it imparts, I’ll be doing it often.
I paired this pizza with the 2008 Llai Llai Pinot Noir from Chile, which I recently wrote about. The earthy smokiness in the wine was a nice complement to the roasted garlic flavor of the pizza – heaven.
OK, sure, I used a ready-made pizza crust rather than making one of my own, so sue me. But if you’re pressed for time and want something easy, delectable and fast, with minimal time in the kitchen, you can’t go wrong with this recipe.
Recipe: Roasted Garlic, Tomato and Spinach Pizza
• 1 whole head garlic
• 3 tsp extra-virgin olive oil
• 1 12” Boboli pizza crust
• 2 cups chopped baby spinach leaves
• 3/4 cup shredded mozzarella
• 1/4 cup grated Parmesan
• 3/4 cup halved cherry tomatoes
• 1 tbsp pine nuts
• Fresh basil leaves
• Roast the garlic: Slice 1/2 inch off the top of the garlic head and place cut side up on foil. Drizzle with 1 tsp oil and sprinkle with water.
• Wrap in foil and bake at 350°F for 50 minutes. When cooled slightly, squeeze roasted garlic out of the skins.
• Brush pizza crust with 2 tsp. of olive oil, then spread with the roasted garlic.
• Add spinach, cheese, tomatoes and pine nuts.
• Bake on baking sheet, or for a crispier crust bake directly on oven rack, at 450°F for 8-10 minutes.
• Remove from oven and garnish with basil.
• After halving the cherry tomatoes, I tossed them with extra-virgin olive oil and salt and pepper before adding them to the pizza.
• To make this recipe even easier, I did something I never, ever do – bought pre-grated Parmesan and mozzarella cheese – gasp! – but the good kind in the specialty cheese dept. of the supermarket. I didn’t know the difference from not grating it myself, to be honest. : )
Llai Llai Pinot Noir, Bio Bio Valley, Chile, 2008
Light-to-medium body. On the nose, a hint of cedar and earth. On the palate, delicate spice notes, a little earthy, a little smoky, tart cherry. A teensy bit tannic on the finish but not off-puttingly so. Excellent value for the price. You can find this wine locally at Temptations in Porter’s Neck for $11.99.
Tasting notes from Llai Llai website: This wine is intense deep red in colour, ripe and very aromatic. Fine and elegant, it has a good balance of alcohol and acidity. The nose has black cherry flavours, and a powerful bouquet surrounded by sweet earthy notes. Long and rich smooth finish due to the very ripe and soft tannins.
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