One of the best memories I’ve shared with my in-laws so far is sitting elbow-to-elbow around a crowded couch in their basement, soda cans and napkins sprawled all over the coffee table, everyone eating pizza. All 9 of us.
John has six siblings and he’s the oldest, and every time we get together with his family we joke that it’s like chasing a tornado. You don’t know where it’s headed and how long it will stay and everyone seems to be pulling to go their own direction at every turn. Thankfully they’re not the destructive tornado type, more the “come in make things a little messy and love on you” type. The kind I prefer.
One thing John’s family does very well is pizza. One of the best times I recall was on one of the kids’ birthdays. The birthday boy got to decide what was for lunch and he picked pizza – smart kid.
In true Shultz style we all made our own personal pans since the chances of 9 hungry bellies agreeing on one flavor was slim. I’m OK with that. I’m a “heavy on the sauce, pile on the veggies, light on the cheese” type. John loves pepperoni, lots of it. Abby prefers more adventurous types like BBQ chicken, and the other half of the group seems to be all about the cheese.
Clearly, personal pans were the best option.
So we all crowded into the kitchen, narrowly missing each other at each turn, flour covering the counters, each one pulverizing his or her own plot of dough. Sauce and spoons left red little dots everywhere and stray cheese and toppings looked like edible confetti exploded all over the floor.
Twenty minutes later our (very) personalized pizzas were out of the oven, onto plates and under the weight of swiftly-moving knifes and forks working feverishly to cut fresh slices before the cheese lost its elastic stretch.
Andy Griffith was on, eyes glued to the screen when not shoveling in steamy bites of pepperoni and veggies and crust. Amidst the chaos I couldn’t help but look around and feel thankful that I was a part of this little group, this family.
A lot of people complain about their in-laws, and maybe rightfully so, but I kind of have it good. Any family that does personal pan pizzas and soda on a Sunday afternoon is the kind of family for me.
Typically I prefer a very standard veggie pizza, but after buying some goat cheese and flat breads for another recipe I couldn’t help but do a little experimenting.
Crispy thin flatbreads smeared with creamy, tangy goat cheese and topped with piles of sweet caramelized onions. As is this pizza is stellar, but add a little balsamic drizzle and we achieve perfection. Don’t even get me started on when we add fresh basil…
- 1 10-inch flat bread or small pizza crust (I used Flat Out brand, whole wheat - use gluten-free for GF eaters)
- 1 medium white onion, cut into thin rings
- salt and pepper
- olive oil or butter for sautéing
- 3 ounces goat cheese
- splash milk
- fresh basil or arugula for topping
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (204 C) and position a rack in the middle of the oven. If using a pizza stone, place the stone in the oven as it preheats.
- Sautee onion in butter or olive oil over medium heat until soft, stirring frequently. Season with salt and pepper. Cover to keep in the moisture if they begin to look dry – add a splash or two of water if they’re getting too brown. Set aside once cooked.
- Once oven is preheated, brush flatbread with olive oil and place on the pizza stone or a baking sheet and “pre-bake” to crisp for about 5 minutes.
- In the meantime, spoon goat cheese into a bowl and add a splash of milk or water to thin so it’s spreadable. Whisk until smooth.
- Remove flatbread from oven and spread with goat cheese and top with onions – I used all of the onions but use less and reserve the leftovers if you prefer.
- Place back in the oven and bake for 10 minutes, or until the edges appear crisp and the onions and goat cheese have warmed through.
- Slice and serve with desired toppings. I opted for a balsamic reduction and fresh basil.