Office Eats: Pear and Gorgonzola Pizza with Easy Arugula Salad


Ever since I was little, I knew to dream big, and always seemed to have lofty life goals. When asked as a kid what I wanted to be when I grew up, I’d answer, “A doctor. But in my spare time, I’d like to be President of the United States.” My queasiness around anything bloody ended my medical career before it began, and my future in politics was stunted when two of my senators stood me up during a luncheon sponsored by a future-world-leadership congress I attended (I’m not naming names).  My writing tendencies appeared early on, as well. When my grandmother, a receptionist in a doctor’s office, took me to work with her, she’d plop me down in the waiting room, while she took care of business. I earned the nickname, “Yenta Pisher,” because I’d ask all the patients why they were there, and then I’d get to work writing them a storybook about their visit that day.

It wasn’t until high school, when my mom and I spent many an afternoon watching her “boyfriend,” Emeril Lagasse, elevate an exquisite dish with a simple snap of the wrist and an enthusiastic “BAM!,” that I even considered a future in food. Despite my passion for television development, another career path I love and chose to follow full-time, I’ve always harbored a pipe dream of joining the ranks of Emeril, as a food personality on a lifestyle network. My love for food television grew to new heights when I started watching what I affectionately call, “food porn.” You know the type: perfectly primped chefs cooking beautiful food under soft focus and perfect lighting, with that barely audible soundtrack serenading them as they taste their creation. Mmmmmm…

Pear and Gorgonzola pizza
Close up of my Pear and Gorgonzola Pizza with Easy Arugula Salad on top.

Recently, I received a note from my good friend, Hayley, who produces content for a brand new YouTube channel (#Coin, go check it out!). Hayley, a fellow foodie and an all around good person, remembered my passion for food and entertainment, and reached out to invite me to be part of a cooking show she was working on called, “Office Eats.” The intention of the show was to highlight recipes that someone could make after a long day of work. There would be several culinary points of view featured, but Hayley asked if I would showcase “food porn.”

Food porn!! Not only is that exactly what I loved so much about the cooking shows of yore, but it’s become my culinary specialty! It didn’t take long to decide whether or not I would participate, and soon I was busy planning the recipes I would feature.

Justin Janowitz adjusts the Camera B for our first shoot.

In the next few weeks, as #COIN airs my segments of “Office Eats,” I hope to share this experience with you.

First up, I whipped together a Pear and Gorgonzola Pizza topped with a quick and easy Arugula Salad. Click here to check out the video, and see how I made it!

Pear and Gorgonzola Pizza with Easy Arugua Salad
Recipe type: Main
Serves: 4-6
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
A savory-sweet pizza that is sure to impress.
  • 1 prepackaged pizza dough
  • ½ cup mascarpone cheese, softened
  • 1 bosc pear, seeded and sliced
  • ½ cup crumbled gorgonzola cheese
  • 1 Tbs honey
  • 2 cups arugula leaves
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
  2. Roll out your pizza dough on a sheet of parchment paper, and spread softened mascarpone cheese on top. Layer on the pear slices, and sprinkle on the crumbles of gorgonzola cheese. Drizzle honey on top. Transfer the pizza to the oven, and bake for 10-12 minutes. (*Note: If using a pizza stone, transfer the parchment paper directly to the oven. Otherwise, transfer the parchment paper carrying the pizza to a baking sheet, and then put in oven.)
  3. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, add arugula, and dress with lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper. Toss to coat.
  4. Once the pizza is browned and bubbly, remove from oven, and let rest for 2 minutes.
  5. Slice the pizza, and then top with the dressed arugula.
  6. Serve and enjoy!




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Saly Cortile Cucina – A Pizza Party To Remember!

Peach and Mascarpone Pizza

Many moons ago, my brother and I were regulars at a local Jewish summer camp. We’d spend weeks bunking with our friends, Israeli dancing, and taking part in the fun activities of our choice. Being the nerd that I am, I actually really enjoyed the educational programming as well, because our advisers challenged us to see the world in new ways and to think outside the box. Our counselors, charged with keeping us alive and well during the few weeks of the year we spent away from home, were usually young adults who not long ago were campers, themselves. This camp left lasting impressions on both my brother and me, and through our experiences there, lifelong friendships were fostered.

Fast-forward a good many years, and all of those little campers and counselors have grown. We lead different lives with varying interests, but through the web of social media, many of us have reconnected. In fact, after acknowledging our fellow foodie status online, an old camp friend reached out to me, and invited me to a pizza party at her house. Dana, one of my very first camp counselors, works as a registered dietitian, is mom to two incredibly cute and articulate young girls, and is wife to my brother’s former counselor, Matt. Dana and Matt have created a very inviting atmosphere in their backyard, complete with an urban garden that rivals the one I picture in my dream house and a brick pizza oven that guarantees fun and tasty gatherings.

I was so excited to be included in one of the Saly Cortile Cucina’s famous pizza parties for two reasons. First, I was going to reconnect with old camp friends. My last camp memory of Matt included him personifying one of my favorite Muppets, Kermit, as he serenaded us with The Rainbow Connection. And Dana was the counselor responsible for teaching me and my bunkmates some of the more significant lessons for any tween girl, how to shave our legs (I wonder if she remembers that), and more importantly, how to be a great and memorable counselor.  Second, Dana had recently posted photos of the bounty from her urban garden, and I couldn’t wait to forage through it, myself.

Found, growing in the garden.
Found, growing in the garden.

When I asked Dana what I could bring to the party, she explained the guidelines. She provides the dough, and the dinner guests come bearing the toppings of their choice. They’ve had everything from Asian teriyaki mushrooms with truffle oil, garlic shrimp scampi, and everything in between. At that point, I knew the bar was set pretty high, and I had a great time dreaming up the toppings I would bring.

Dana, prepping the kids' pizza.
Dana, prepping the kids’ pizza.

As the guests arrived for the party, many of us camp alumns, we schmoozed, imbibed on some of the best wines Paso Robles has to offer, and observed the chefs in action, each of us waiting our turn.

Matt, manning the brick oven.
Matt, manning the brick oven.

I watched guest after guest meticulously designing their colorful, mouthwatering works of art, and patiently waited as Matt attended to them in the oven. Finally, with a nudge from my sidekick, Kenny, I took my turn. The guests gathered around as I smeared honey-sweetened mascarpone cheese on the dough Dana prepared for me. Then they grew quiet as they observed me assembling slices of juicy white peaches, like a fan. Peaches on a pizza? Bare with me. I gave Matt the cue that my pizza was ready for the oven, and when it came out, I was ready with the toppings: balsamic reduction drizzled on the warm fruit, topped with a bundle of fresh peppery arugula and salty strips of prosciutto. I knew I had done well when the biggest skeptic of them all, my dear husband, nodded with his mouth full of gooey peachy goodness.

Pizza Toss
Pizza Toss

For my next trick, I tried my hand at a sweet variety of the ever-popular peach pizza. Again, Dana prepared the dough, and John, master pizza tosser, prepped it for the toppings. I smeared a layer of the honey-sweetened mascarpone cheese, fanned more slices of white peaches, and sent it to bake. When Matt returned with a bubbling pizza, I drizzled more balsamic reduction, and topped it with torn mint leaves. This pizza signified the start of the dessert pies!

Some of the delicious offerings of the evening.
Some of the delicious offerings of the evening.

As the evening wound down, Kenny and I said our good-byes to both old and new friends, with our stomachs full and hearts content. I can’t imagine a better way to spend a warm summer night than with a group of friends, playing around in the outdoor kitchen, tasting each others experiments, and enjoying the company.

Thanks again to the good folks at the Saly Cortile Cucina!

White Peach and Mascarpone Pizza
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: California-style
Serves: 6/pizza
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Juicy white peaches adorn this memorable summer dish.
For the dough
  • 1½ cups hot water
  • 1 tbs sugar
  • 1 packet of dry active yeast
  • 2 cups white flour
  • 1½ cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 tbs extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ tsp salt
  • extra flour and oil for prep
For the pizza
  • ¾ cups balsamic vinegar
  • ¾ cup mascarpone cheese
  • 1 tbs honey
  • 1-2 large white peaches, sliced
  • 6 fresh mint leaves, torn
For the dough
  1. Dissolve sugar and yeast in hot water, and set aside for ten minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, in the bowl of a stand mixer, combine white flour and whole wheat flour. Make a well in the center of the flour.
  3. Add 1 tbs extra virgin olive oil and ½ tsp salt to the water/yeast, and pour into flour well. Mix with a dough hook set on second speed until fully kneaded.
  4. Remove doughball and coat in oil in a large bowl. Cover with a dish towel and let rise for one hour.
  5. Punch down, cut into three sections, and roll each into individual balls.
  6. Coat the three balls with oil, and place in individual tupperware containers for one more hour. (You can also freeze at this point. When ready to cook, make sure dough is at room temperature for at least one hour).
  7. Dump each ball into a well floured surface, flatten, turn over, and flatten again (Do not knead!). Work dough by hand into pizza shape, and brush with extra virgin olive oil.
  8. Top as desired and bake according to pizza recipe.
For the pizza
  1. In a saucepan, cook balsamic vinegar over medium heat until it reduces by about half. Set aside.
  2. Prepare pizza dough according to package directions.
  3. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
  4. Combine the mascarpone cheese and honey together until they are well blended, and smear the mixture onto the pizza dough.
  5. Fan the peach slices on top of the cheese, and bake for 10-15 minutes, until pizza bubbles.
  6. Remove the pizza from the oven, drizzle balsamic reduction to taste, and top with torn mint leaves.
  7. Serve immediately.
If you want to save time, I recommend the wheat pizza dough from Trader Joe's. It's certainly not as good as homemade, but it works well if you are in a pinch for time.

This recipe was written for a conventional kitchen oven. If you are lucky enough to have a brick pizza oven, adjust cooking time accordingly.


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