Hello everyone! I am very excited about my new Friday series: Pizza and a Movie. I have mentioned it here and way back when, on Kelly’s Kitchen, Pizza is my favorite food of all time. So it was only a matter of time before I dedicated one day a week to my favorite food! But Fridays won’t just be about pizza; we are bringing back a Djalali family tradition from when Alex was a kid. Every Friday the family would order pizza and rent a few VHS movies and enjoy a family night together. So for the first in this series, we have French Bread Pizza and one of my favorite Christmas movies, Trading Places.
You may be thinking Trading Places is not really a Christmas movie, but in my opinion, if people consider Die Hard a Christmas movie, it’s perfectly reasonable to think of Trading Places as such too! One of the film’s most memorable scenes is of a down-and-out Dan Aykroyd dressed as Santa Clause at the company Christmas party. Comedy gold!
French Bread Pizza Prep
I am doing a different combination for each half of the french bread. One side will have caramelized onions, mozzarella and ricotta. The other side will have crushed San Marzano tomatoes, mozzarella, mushrooms, Calabrese salami and peperoncinis.
The onions will take about an hour over low heat with a little olive oil and Kosher salt. While the onions are cooking, prep the rest of the toppings. I like to cook the mushrooms in a skillet with olive oil, salt and fresh thyme. Cooking the mushrooms first will help to release their moisture and keep the pizza from getting soggy.
San Marzano tomatoes come whole and I just crush them with my hand. You can certainly use your favorite tomato sauce, but I like the bright flavor of using these tomatoes straight from the can!
Once the onions are just about done, preheat the oven to 425 degrees and slice the french bread in half lengthwise. Put a layer of mozzarella on each half and bake for 8 minutes or until the cheese is melted. This will create a barrier to keep the bread from getting too soggy. It’s important to choose a french bread loaf that is soft, rather than a thin baguette style of bread.
The great thing about French Bread Pizza is that you don’t have to work fast because you don’t have to worry about the dough getting stuck to the peel. So it’s a great pizza-making activity for kids to participate in.
Bake the French Bread Pizzas for about 10 minutes or until the cheese is melted and and golden.
I like to make diagonal cuts in French Bread Pizzas because it makes a triangular slice that is easier to eat. After slicing, I topped the Ricotta Pizza with some flaky sea salt and fresh cracked pepper.
The bread inside is pillowy soft and the exterior crust is crispy and crunchy – delicious and wonderfully satisfying!
Movie Night: Trading Places
Now that our pizza is ready to eat, it’s time to start the movie! As I mentioned at the top, Trading Places is one of my favorite Holiday movies. nearly the entire movie takes place in the days and weeks before Christmas and through New Year’s Eve. Trading Places came out in 1983 and was directed by John Landis. I can remember watching it on VHS when I was too young to understand the plot. But It’s a great comedy, wonderfully acted by the legendary Don Ameche, Ralph Bellamy, Dan Aykroyd, Eddie Murphy and Jamie Lee Curtis. If you haven’t seen it, I highly recommend it!
Ultimately, Alex and I had a plan to open a pizzeria here in Athens. Those plans have faded so far into the future that they may never materialize. But, another dream of mine is coming true as I write this post. My very own wood-fired oven is being built in our backyard! Each Friday, until the project is complete, I will post the building progress so you can see how it’s coming together.
On Wednesday, the spot was prepared for the concrete footer. The footer was poured and left to cure overnight. Then, the structure began to take shape. The frame and rebar were set for the concrete counter.
I hope you have enjoyed this first installment of Pizza and a Movie: French Bread Pizza and Trading Places. It’s also fun to share the progress of the wood-fired oven with you, so I hope you enjoyed that as well, and stay tuned to see how it all comes together in the coming weeks. And before we get to this weekend’s Sunday Supper, catch up with the first post in that series, Lemon Pepper Sheet Pan Chicken. Follow me on Instagram, Pinterest and facebook to see more!
French Bread Pizza
An easy weeknight meal to make with the kids! The French bread gets crispy and crunchy on the outside and stays pillowy soft on the inside.
- 1 loaf Soft French Bread
- Shredded Mozzarella
- Combination Pizza
- 4 San Marzano Tomatoes
- Calabrese Salami or Pepperoni
- 1 -8 oz. Package Mushrooms
- Olive Oil
- Kosher Salt
- Fresh Thyme
- Peperoncini Peppers
- Caramelized Onion and Ricotta Pizza
- 1 White or Yellow Onion
- Olive Oil
- Kosher Salt
- 6-8 oz. Ricotta
- Flaky Sea Salt and Fresh Cracked Black Pepper
Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
Halve and slice onion into thin slices. In a pan over low heat with olive oil, sauté the onions with a pinch of Kosher salt for 1 hour, or until onions are caramelized.
Sauté the mushrooms in a pan over medium heat with some olive oil, and Kosher salt until mushrooms have released most of their moisture and begin to brown. Add fresh thyme and remove from heat.
Evenly slice the French Bread lengthwise and add a layer of mozzarella, bake for 8 minutes.
Top with toppings and bake for 10 minutes or until the cheese is melted and begins to brown.
Top the Ricotta pizza with flaky sea salt and fresh cracked black pepper.