May 15, 2012

Dining Alone: Tortilla Pizzas

Dining al fresco; this pizza is topped with pattypan squash and arugula.

Things are busy these days. While my hubs and I normally dine together, the last few weeks have hosted an unusual number of solo dinners. Ryan is taking some evening classes (for fun things, not school-related), and when I'm left to "fend for myself" for dinner, things in the kitchen can get a little strange.

And by strange, of course I mean delicious. 

When I'm cooking for myself, I tend to take risks. With no one but me to impress (or let down), the pressure's off. This usually involves curry, or eggs, and always the mandoline. Something about paper-thin vegetables lends itself to a feeling of upscale dining. 

Everything is nice and crispy and delicious!
The words "tortilla pizza" don't normally conjure ideas of fresh vegetables and good cheese. They're a quick and unfancy way to shovel food in your mouth, right?

Wrong. My impromptu tortilla pizzas that were inspired by the garden and an arugula craving are quick, healthy, and even a little gourmet. They are bright and fresh and even totally worthy of a dinner party—for one, two, or twenty!

I made a couple of versions; some with zucchini, some with squash, some without arugula... But my favorite by far was the zucchini and arugula. Feel free to experiment!

Arugula, Zucchini, and Goat Cheese Tortilla Pizza
Serves 1* 

2 whole wheat tortillas**
1 small zucchini, sliced paper-thin on a mandoline
2 cups (or handfulls) fresh arugula
1-2 ounces goat cheese
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
parmesan, salt, and pepper to taste
1-2 lemon wedges

Prep the veggies. Place the tortillas on a baking sheet and top with a generous layer of the paper-thin zucchini slices. Add one cup or one handfull of arugula for each pizza. Drizzle the olive oil on top and evenly disperse the goat cheese. Top with a little shaved parmesan, salt, and pepper, and spritz with a squeeze of lemon. Pop in the oven for about 10 minutes at 400, or until the cheese is melted and the edges are crisp but not burnt. Alternately, this is very easy to bake in the toaster oven!

A word of caution: tortillas can sometimes puff up with steam when they are heated. Just keep an eye on it; I learned the hard way when I made mine in the toaster oven and toppings wound up falling onto the heating element. And of course, be careful of the tortilla bubble; it's full of steam and that will be very hot should you puncture it!

*I found that two of these little tortilla pizzas made for a perfect meal; they're just like arugula tacos. If you're enjoying them with a side dish or decide to add a cooked protein (grilled shrimp or chicken would make a nice fit), you might find that one fills you up. And if you're cooking for more folks, just make extras! These come together so quickly and require so little oven time that you'll find they're perfect for summer nights.

**The whole wheat tortillas offer a nice nutty flavor that compliments the arugula. They're also healthy. Win-win, but you can use white flour tortillas if you prefer and I won't be too embarrassed.