I Bled in Pizza Wars and got Wealthy

Bled, Slovenia has all of the postcard-perfect characteristics of a quaint European town:

  • Emerald coloured lake surrounded by rolling green mountains on all sides
  • Tiny island in middle of Emerald lake with picturesque white church
  • Castle sitting atop a sheer cliff face overlooking village
  • Narrow cobblestoned alleyways leading steeply up to aforementioned castle
  • Pizza restaurant

About 2 weeks into our Eastern European trip, I had become obsessed with Pizza, or perhaps I had just become consciously aware and accepting of my lifelong obsession with Pizza. So naturally, when I saw the sign leading to my most favourite thing to eat, I made a beeline for it. Never mind that I had had Pizza for dinner the night before, too. Just never you mind.

After a nerve-wracking 30 minute drive* from Ljubljana to Bled and a quick tour around the lake and village, we focused on our grumbling tummies and followed a sign leading up one of the narrow cobblestoned alleys that said: “Pizzeria Rustika”.

We had a seat on their raised patio that overlooked the lake and some of the village below, and scoured the menu, which conveniently was in Slovenian, Italian, German and English. Many of the English translations did not make much sense, but we were able to piece together explanations from the other languages. For example, we were perplexed as to why we kept seeing “Rocket” appearing. What the heck is Rocket?

I ordered the “Bogatija”, which had both the mysterious Rocket and Vratnik, or “Dried Meat” as toppings. Cheesler ordered the “Suhica”, which had something called “boletus” and “horse radish mixed with sour cream”. He claimed to understand what the boletus was by its German word, but I can’t remember what he called it. We topped it all off with a coupla cokes. How high-school-date-night was this? Pizzas and Cokes. Except…in Slovenia. And there was no necking the in car afterwards. I tried to order the local specialty which is some kind of cream cake, but they were sold out for the day. Now I will never know what a Slovenian Cream Cake tastes like.

Ok, maybe there was a little necking. Oh Cleo, the memories.

Anyway, back to the pizza. The “Rocket” turned out to be Arugula, and the “Dried Meat” is Prosciutto. I believe they call it Rocket because the French word is “Roquette”. This I learned back in Canada in a grocery store while studying one of those boxes of Baby Arugula. Which leads to the next segment of this post – my own re-creation of the Bogatija. In case you were wondering, the word means “Wealth”. So may I present to you, the Wealth Pizza.

First, I made my pizza dough from scratch, per usual (recipe below). I baked it on this nifty new pizza pan that has all kinds of holes in it that make for a perfectly crisp thin crust.

Then, I arranged my ingredients: Tomato Sauce, Fontina Cheese, Fresh Mozzarella, Black Olives, Prosciutto and…wait for it…Rocket!

I spread the tomato sauce on the crust and sprinkled on the Fontina and Mozzarella, and arranged the whole black olives on top. That went into the oven on its own, and in 15 minutes, the cheese was bubbly and brown. Now, this is the important part – I placed the prosciutto slices on top of the cheese after it came out of the oven, then put it back in for about 3 minutes – only long enough to warm the prosciutto. You don’t want it drying out and getting all gross and crispy. Finally, I took it out of the oven once and for all, and tossed the Arugula on top with a little black pepper.

Mmmm. The pictures do not do this baby justice. The arugula is fresh and peppery. The olives and prosciutto are salty, the cheese is ooey gooey, and the tomato sauce gives it that kick of acidity to balance out all of the other flavours.

So, in submission to the judges of Pizza Wars (You, dear readers), I give you:

Sample 1: Pizzeria Rustika

Sample 2: Sophie’s Kitchen

 

 

*DO NOT do the following when vacationing in Europe:

  • Rent a car without a GPS Navigation System;
  • Drive the car anyway without a GPS and only with a tourist map provided to you by the car rental agency – which, as it turns out, does not have any identifying numbers, road or street names, only names of major cities and towns. (“Okay, I think we’re on THIS bold blue line, but we could also be on THIS less bold blue line – no wait! Are we on the black line?”);
  • Figure it’s okay that you don’t know what any of the road signs mean;
  • Decide – following the harrowing experience of driving in a foreign country without a GPS – that you don’t really need one, anyway, and proceed to attempt any sort of logical navigation in Belgrade. (Stay tuned for more on The Parking Ballet, by Sophie Idsinga, or perhaps for a more suspenseful read, The Bitter End)

Thin-Crust Pizza Dough

Ingredients:

2 cups flour
1 package active dry yeast
¼ tsp salt
1 cup warm water
½ tbsp olive oil
cornmeal, for sprinkling

Directions:

Mix a little sugar into the warm water. Sprinkle yeast on top. Wait for 10 minutes or until it gets all foamy. Pour into a large bowl. Add flour, salt, olive oil. Combine. Knead for 6-8 minutes until you have a moderately stiff dough that is smooth and elastic (add a bit more flour if you need to).
Lightly grease two 12-inch pizza pans. Sprinkle with a little bit of cornmeal. Divide dough in half. Place each half on a pizza pan and pat it with your fingers until it stretches over the whole pan. If desired, pre-bake at 425 F for 10 minutes (I don’t always do this).
Then spread with pizza sauce and use the toppings of your choice. Bake at 425 F for 10-20 minutes longer or until bubbly and hot. Makes 2 12-inch pizzas.

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Categories: Food, Travel

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Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Duck prosciutto | Soph n' Stuff - January 9, 2014

    […] goes great in sandwiches or salads, on pizza, or just on its own in an antipasto plate, with a little melon. But it takes a long time to […]

  2. All hail pizza, queen of the world « Soph n' Stuff - September 20, 2011

    […] as well as the wealth pizza. […]

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