The title above is as good a description of my Running Girls as it is our favorite party food choice. I've been hanging with a group of fast women since I moved to my small coastal Maine town in 1997. (You can read about our group here.)
From the beginning it's been our habit to meet for dinner every month or two. Sure we see each other regularly in the pre-dawn hours for a run, but our nighttime get-togethers are something special. Because we have been known to get a little racous, we gather at one of our houses. We learned early on that meeting at restaurants resulted in disapproving looks from other patrons and a reluctance to return the next month.
The food is pot luck - sometimes old standards, other times we try new recipes out on each other. But there is one menu item that has been appearing for years and shows no signs of fading into the background. It has come to be known in our circle as The Pizza, our shorthand for this simple, delicious, ridiculously easy-to-prepare appetizer. It is perfect as it comes out of the oven, browned and bubbly. And if there's any left over, it's spectacular as a midnight snack or lunch the next day. As you might imagine, leftovers of The Pizza are rare.
I'm not sure when The Pizza first appeared. Was Laurie the first to bring it to Girls' Night? Sarah? Its provenance has been lost in history. And by now, each of us has put our own spin on the original recipe. But no matter the nuances, The Pizza is easy to prepare, quick to cook, and never fails to delight.
Here's my version, courtesy of the Cape Elizabeth Running Girls...
1 Thin Crust Boboli pizza crust
2 medium onions, sliced thin
1/4 cup chopped dates
1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
1 cup Cabot Seriously Sharp Cheddar, shredded
1 cup Cabot Mozzarella cheese, shredded
1 tbl Balsamic vinegar
1 tsp sugar
1-2 tbl olive oil
Preheat oven to 400º. Heat olive in a skillet. Add sliced onions to caramelize. Keep heat on medium high and stir until onions are very soft and starting to brown. Add balsamic vinegar and sugar and keep cooking and stirring until golden brown and caramelized. This can take up to 20 - 30 minutes. At the very end, add chopped dates to heat through and soften. Put Boboli crust on pizza stone and add the mozzarella cheese as a first layer. Next, layer caramelized onions and dates on top of mozzarella. Sprinkle toasted pine nuts on the onions and top with remaining cheddar cheese. Place the pizza stone in the center of the oven and cook until cheese is melted and bubbling, about 30 minutes. Remove from oven and let rest for 5 minutes before cutting into slices. The caramelized onions can be refrigerated in a closed container for up to three days, so this can be prepared in advance.