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About the auther: Taylor is from Bloomington, Illinois, and graduated from Samford University. She’s completing a dietetic internship at Vanderbilt Medical Center and enjoys working in both corporate health-wellness and nutrition coaching and counseling.

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H ealthy Table*

Pizza Across the Seasons

A celebration of fresh ingredients

By Taylor Kingston
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T here is a wide gap between Perugia, Italy, and Nashville, Tennessee, made up of oceans, miles and time zones, but the gap narrows when the conversation turns toward food, specifically pizza! Pizza is a dish for all seasons, and the secret to pizza “made right” is locally grown ingredients.

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*The secret to Italian pizza is not necessarily that the pizza is made in Italy, but that the ingredients are made and grown locally...

A foodie at heart, my college studies took me to Italy, and it was there that I not only fell in love with quality pizza, but also the rich tradition of gathering with friends and family to shop in the markets and share a meal. My favorite pizzeria was affectionately nicknamed “Pizza Med.” The Margherita pizza was like medicine for the soul...but not so much for the thighs. The combination of doughy bread, slightly hardened on the outside and drizzled with the richest olive oil; house-made buffalo mozzarella; thick, juicy slices of the most flavorful tomato; and fresh basil were assembled and cooked right before my eyes (and my nose)!

The secret to Italian pizza is not necessarily that the pizza is made in Italy, but that the ingredients are made and grown there. In other words, they are local ingredients, and delicious pizza can be made with our own locally grown foods in Tennessee. Bring your friends and family together to take part in the Italian tradition of making pizza with locally grown, seasonal ingredients.

Mangia!

Seasonal Pizza

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Easy Pizza Crust
Serves 4

Ingredients:

Flatbread from local farmers’ market; or prepared, store-bought pizza dough
1 tablespoon olive oil
Toppings of choice (suggestions below)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 425°F. Grease cookie sheet with olive oil and lightly spread the remaining olive oil over the flatbread or pizza dough. Place selected toppings on flatbread and bake on cookie sheet until bread is slightly crisp and brown and the cheese is melted (about 5-10 minutes). If using store-bought pizza dough, follow instructions on the package.

Seasonal Topping Suggestions

Winter: Butternut Squash Pizza

1 medium butternut squash (peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces, then roasted)
2 cups kale (rinsed, cut into 2-inch ribbons and sautéed)
3 garlic cloves, sliced
2 scallions, chopped
3 sprigs minced thyme
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

Spring: Pizza with Onions, Mushrooms and Brie

2 large onions, halved and thinly sliced
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, minced
1/2 lb. mushrooms, sliced
1/2 lb. (250 g.) brie cheese, chopped (rind removed)

Summer: Cherry Tomato Pizza Margarita

1 12-ounce bag cherry tomatoes
1 garlic clove, sliced
1/4 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
2 4-ounce balls of fresh mozzarella, diced
1/3 cup chopped fresh basil leaves (add after pizza is cooked)

Fall: Fig and Goat Cheese Pizza with Arugula

1 cup of figs, quartered
1 tablespoon minced fresh rosemary

8 ounces fresh goat cheese

After baking add:

2 cups arugula
1 pear, cored and thinly sliced

Credits ::: http://blog.williams-sonoma.com/pizza-with-onions-mushrooms-brie/ ::: http://www.bonappetit.com/recipe/cherry-tomato-pizza-margherita ::: http://www.bonappetit.com/recipe/fig-and-goat-cheese-pizza-with-arugula ::: http://bevcooks.com/2011/09/roasted-butternut-squash-and-kale-pizza
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