That's what one of my colleagues said to me as scores of Amazon employees began piling into a conference room one afternoon last week for a visit from Giada De Laurentiis, who was in Seattle to talk about her new book, Weeknights with Giada. One conference room wasn't nearly enough, so we had to create an overflow room with video feeds. Turns out Amazon follks really, really like Giada.
The Food Network star and perennial bestseller was charming and funny as she took questions from the audience. As per the subtitle of her new book--"quick and simple recipes to revamp dinner"--she shared a few tips on weeknight cooking: frozen foods are perfectly acceptable (edamame, peas, corn); always have canned tomato, tuna, and assorted pastas on hand; it's okay to have breakfast for dinner.
See more photos below, or visit our Facebook page. And give this recipe a try this week.
Arugula Pesto, Ricotta, and Smoked Mozzarella Pizza
Creamy ricotta cheese is the base for all the delicious flavors here, most notably smoked mozzarella, which really gives the pizza a pronounced taste and aroma. Arugula makes the ricotta mixture a nice green hue, and the sliced red tomatoes help make this pizza as beautiful as it is yummy. This is total comfort food.
Serves 4 to 6
- Cornmeal, for dusting
- Â½ cup whole-milk ricotta cheese
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- Â¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 2 cups (8 ounces) shredded smoked mozzarella cheese
- 1 packed cup (1 ounce) arugula
- Flour, for dusting
- 1 (1-pound) ball store-bought pizza dough
- Olive oil, for drizzling
- 2 plum tomatoes, sliced Â¼ inch thick
Place an oven rack in the center of the oven. Preheat the oven to 475Â°F. Sprinkle a heavy baking sheet (without sides) with cornmeal.
In a food processor, blend the ricotta, garlic, salt, and pepper until smooth. Add the smoked mozzarella and arugula. Pulse until just combined but still chunky.
On a lightly floured work surface, roll out the dough into a 14-inch circle, 1/4 to 1â„8 inch thick. Transfer the dough to the prepared baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil. Spread the ricotta mixture on top, leaving a 1-inch border. Arrange the tomato slices on top and drizzle with olive oil.
Bake for 15 to 16 minutes, until the crust is golden. Cut into wedges and serve.
(Reprinted from Weeknights with Giada by Giada De Laurentiis. Copyright Â© 2012. Photo copyright Â© 2012 by Amy Neunsinger. Published by Clarkson Potter/Publishers, a division of Random House, Inc.)