1) Pizza (Italian for "Pie") by Francesco Daniele, Joanna’s Italian Bakery

   Pizza is one of America’s most popular foods. Carry out, eat in, delivery, topped full or topless, thick or thin any way its great. What about home made? When I was young, every Saturday was bread and pizza day. What a day! Fresh made dough used to make your favorite style pizza. Everyone had a hand in the preparation and it was great family fun. With the cold weather approaching, designate a night a week for family time to make homemade pizza and have some fun.

   In a 2 quart bowl mix 1 cup warm water (105-115 degree F) and 1 envelopes of dry yeast, (dissolve yeast and let stand for a few minutes)

2 1⁄2 - 3 cups unbleached flour
1⁄2 teaspoons Salt
2 tablespoons Olive oil
Plus oil to grease pans or 
Cornmeal to dust pizza peel

   Mix well until a soft dough forms. Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead, adding more flour if necessary, until smooth and elastic, approximately 10 minutes. Place dough in a lightly oiled 3 quart bowl cover top of bowl with plastic wrap and let stand in a warm draft free place for the dough to rest and raise. Pre-heat your oven to 400 degrees. If using a pizza stone place it in the oven at this time. When the dough has doubled in size uncover the bowl and punch down the risen dough. The dough is now ready to be used. For a finer textured crust, allow the dough to raise a second or even a third time. Place the dough on a lightly floured surface and cut in half. Form the dough slightly larger than the shape of your pans, lightly oil pans with olive oil, transfer the dough to the pans and allow it to “relax” for a minute or two, form dough to the pans. If you are using a pizza peel, sprinkle lightly with corn meal and place the dough on the peel. Sauce the pizzas with Franco’s Classic Red Sauce, your favorite toppings and cheeses. Place in oven and bake the pizzas to a golden brown or your desired doneness.

Yields 2 pizzas


2) Gnocchi, Italian Dumplings by Francesco Daniele, Joanna’s Italian Bakery

   At Joanna's Italian Bakery, we hand craft gnocchi and other pastas upon request. This recipe for Gnocchi is a twist on the traditional potato gnocchi. Gnocchi are easy to make at home and require no fancy equipment or tools. The whole family can participate and feel a great source of pride with the finished product.

2 lbs. Ricotta cheese
3 large eggs
2 1/2 cups Durum flour or all-purpose flour
1 cup grated Pecorino Romano or Parmesan Cheese

   Beat the eggs lightly together in a medium size bowl. Add Ricotta cheese, flour and grated cheese. Mix gently with your hands until all the ingredients are well incorporated and the dough is smooth.

   Turn the dough onto a lightly floured flat surface. Lightly knead the dough and add a little more flour if the dough is overly sticky. Let the dough rest for 10 minutes, uncovered.Roll the dough into one-half-inch thick logs and cut into one-half-inch pieces. Use a generous amount of flour. Press each piece against your thumb tip to make a dent or roll it over the back of the tip of a floured fork tines to make the traditional ridge shape. Place the finished gnocchi on a lightly floured sheet pan. Cook them as soon as possible in boiling salted water. (For every 5 quarts of water add 2 tablespoons of salt.)

   Add the gnocchi to the boiling water. When they rise to the top, let them cook for a minute or two and then remove them with a slotted spoon. Drain well and add them to your favorite sauce.

Sauce suggestions:

   In a large saute pan, simmer Franco's Classic Red Sauce, then add the cooked well-drained gnocchi and toss together and allow the sauce and gnocchi to marry for a few minutes. Plate and serve.

   Or, in a large saute pan on medium heat melt one stick of butter a pinch of salt and pepper and one-half cup chopped fresh sage. Allow butter to turn slightly gold then add the cooked well-drained gnocchi and toss together. Plate and serve.

   You can freeze the gnocchi on the sheet pan. Once frozen transfer them to a zip seal bag. Do not thaw them before cooking or they will stick together. To cook, toss the frozen gnocchi directly into the boiling salted water without thawing. Their cooking time will be slightly longer.