Those of us who are pizza lovers probably remember the first time we tasted it. My first experience came thanks to an Italian neighbor who had been transplanted to Southern Oklahoma. Our entire family joined the neighbor's family for an evening of pizza pie. Her pizza was thick — what some folks call Chicago or pan style.
There weren't many pizza parlors and pizza delivery operations in the mid-1950s. Mom made Chef Boyardee variety from the yellow box complete with sauce, crust and cheese. The pizza was thin and salty, not at all like the Italian neighbor's pizza or the readily available varieties we have today.
Our music, speech and debate contests took us to Oklahoma City for competitions and always by tradition to Sussy's Italian Restaurant on Lincoln Boulevard. I had just never tasted pizza as good as that. Guymon had a teen hangout called Club Katari with its version of pizza before a Pizza Hut made its way into town.
College days included memorable molten delights from the Hideaway and Bill's in Stillwater.
These days, I'm looking for great pizza taste without the heavy-duty calories. Thus, I make skinny pizza. It is skinny because the bread portion is a flour tortilla. I don't pile on a ton of part-skim Mozzarella, but I do pile on the vegetables.
This easy and healthier alternative to takeout and pizza parlor versions also is much less expensive in terms of calories and cost.
On a busy day, simply assemble the ingredients and allow everyone to build their own.
Make a skinny pizza
The basics include sliced tomatoes or chunky tomato sauce; olive oil (1 tablespoon per pizza); flour tortillas; reduced-fat Mozzarella or Italian mix grated cheese (no more than ¼ cup per 8-inch tortilla); and Italian seasoning or fresh oregano and thyme to taste.
Optional ingredients include chopped or sliced onions, asparagus, broccoli, lean ground beef or sausage (browned), cooked bacon (Canadian or turkey), thinly sliced zucchini, yellow squash, mushrooms, olives, artichokes (canned and drained) and sliced sweet peppers.
Assembly is easy. Coat tortilla and pan with the olive oil. Sprinkle a little cornmeal or grits underneath the tortilla. Spread tortilla with tomatoes or sauce and a little pesto if you have it. Top with your selection of optional ingredients. Sprinkle with cheese and herbs.
Bake on a lightly oiled or parchment-fitted cookie sheet for 8 to 10 minutes in a 350-degree oven.
When I have fresh basil, I slice up some leaves and distribute them over the top of the hot pizza, resulting in great aroma as that steam wafts up through the basil. Arugula is another way to jazz up the hot pizza as the leaves wilt over the top.
Slice with a rotary pizza cutter for a note of authenticity. The wedges make it seem more like the real deal. Try a Southwestern version using salsa, Jack cheese, peppers, chopped green onions and cilantro.
This Skinny Pizza can be a quick lunch or dinner, and it is about as close as we can get to real pizza. Enjoy plenty of salad along with that pizza, go light on the dressing and add some good company.