Mozzarella, Pesto Rosso & Pepperoni Pizza

By Monica Spees

One of my favorite movies is Francis Ford Coppola’s “The Godfather.” Amid horse heads and people getting strangled with piano wire, there’s an endearing scene in which a character gives Al Pacino cooking tips and a brief recipe for meatballs.

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This is not a recipe for meatballs, but its makes me think of Italy, which makes me think of Sicily, which makes me think of “The Godfather.” No, this is a recipe I like to call Pizza Sandwiches. It’s simple, it’s light, it’s satisfying, and it gives you a little Italian taste at home without a lot of prep.

You’ll need an English muffin, pesto rosso (or any sun-dried tomato pesto or sauce), raw spinach, fresh mozzarella, and turkey pepperoni.

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On a baking sheet sprayed with cooking spray, open your English muffin(s) so both halves are facing up, ready to receive tasty goodness. Spread about a teaspoon or so of pesto rosso on one half. Slice off about an ounce (1/4 inch thick) of mozzarella and lay it on the other side. Trust me, you want fresh mozzarella, not the shredded stuff in a bag or the packaged deli-style cheese. Next, rinse off a few leaves of spinach (approximately ¼ cup) and put them on top of the mozzarella. Finish off the toppings with four or five turkey pepperonis laid on top of the spinach.

*Note: You can spread garlic on the muffin halves before you put anything else on them or sprinkle them with parsley flakes, oregano, Italian seasoning, and/or crushed red pepper for added flavor or spice.*

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After you’ve assembled your Pizza Sandwich(es), put the halves together and broil them in the oven on high for 3-5 minutes, or until the cheese is melty and the top half of the muffin is as brown as you like.

I made this recipe on a whim last week as I was headed to my boyfriend’s to watch a movie. He said he wasn’t hungry, so I just grabbed what I thought looked good, threw it in a plastic bag, and put it together at his apartment. When he saw my finished product, he wanted one too. He gave it a thumbs up. Either he really did like it, or that’s just the amore talking. Regardless, I hope you enjoy!

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Pizza Sandwiches

1 English muffin

1-1 ½ t pesto rosso (or any sun-dried tomato pesto or sauce)

1 oz fresh mozzarella

¼ c raw spinach

4-5 turkey pepperonis

1. Lay the two halves of the English muffin face up on a baking sheet sprayed with cooking spray.

2. Spread the pesto rosso on one half of the muffin.

3. Lay the mozzarella on the other half of the muffin, followed by the spinach and turkey pepperonis.

4. Put the two muffin halves together.

5. Broil sandwich(es) in the oven on high for 3-5 minutes, or until the cheese is melty and the top half of the muffin is as brown as you like it.

Nutrition information: 271 calories, 24 carbs, 13 g fat, 13 g protein, 548 mg sodium, 1 g sugar