One of our favorite things to do in the summer/fall is to go wine tasting. We are really lucky to have so many wonderful tasting rooms right here in town, but sometimes it’s fun to pack up a picnic and go on a road trip. That’s exactly what we did last month.
Toby and I took our dog, Charley, on a road trip to Northern California to tour the Sonoma Valley wine country. That picture, above, was taken at our favorite stop, Ridge Vineyards Lytton Springs. And that is where we enjoyed our Pizza Rustica.
My inspiration for this treat was a picnic I took with a wonderful group of friends to the Black Forest wine region of Germany. We were on a weekend field trip from Cesar Ritz College in Le Bouveret, Switzerland, and we brought with us a leftover pizza from our cooking lab earlier that week. After a long drive on the autobahn, and several wine cave tours, we set up our picnic in the middle of a vineyard surrounded with grape vines and huge oak trees. Pizza NEVER tasted better!
So, prior to our recent Sonoma Valley trip, I prepared what I like to call Pizza Rustica. It’s a savory and filling combination of cheese, tomatoes, cured meats and peppers.
Since it’s best served at room temperature (and in a vineyard), Pizza Rustica is the PERFECT treat for a wine tasting picnic. EnJOY!
- 1 pizza dough ball, divided
- 3 – 15oz cans Italian-style stewed tomatoes
- Italian seasoning blend
- 4 cups mozzarella cheese, shredded
- 1 lb. assorted, sliced Italian deli meat (pepperoni, salami, sopressata,etc.)
- 1 jar roasted bell peppers, drained
- 1 jar marinated and pickled spicy peppers in oil, drained
- Fresh basil
- Preheat the oven to 375°F.
- Coat the bottom and sides of a 9-inch cake pan with pan coating.
- Press half of the pizza dough into the bottom and up the sides of the pan. Bake for 10 minutes, or until it starts to brown.
- Sprinkle the crust with about 2 cups of cheese and the tomatoes. Season with Italian seasoning blend and salt.
- Layer on the meats and peppers.
- Top with the remaining cheese, basil leaves and the top crust.
- Bake for 30-40 minutes until the top crust is golden brown and the inside is heated through.
- Serve hot, or at room temperature.