Pizza and Wine Pairings with CK Mondavi perfect for Game Night
Easy Entertaining at home doesn’t get any better than pizza and wine. It’s even easier than you think with this recipe for my gorgeous Widowmaker Pizza and wine pairings with CK Mondavi Wines.
Take out pizza is usually the go-to when friends come over. Even though, I ambitiously (optimistically) bought a pizza stone 5 years ago. It has patiently sat untouched, brand new, in the box all these years.
Do you ever buy kitchen gadgets with the intention to “make your own _____ (fill in the blank)” someday?
Make Someday Happen
I’ve wanted to make pizza at home for as long as I can remember.
“I don’t have time to go through all the trouble” is the thought on perpetual replay through my mind.
Cooking often appears harder and more time-consuming than it actually is. Thus we avoid it. (It’s the reason fast food is so appealing). This is also often the reason we avoid entertaining friends at home. It’s too much work.
But what if I told you it’s not?
I finally took the pizza stone out of the box and used it. I’m on a mission to “Make Someday Happen” and it was time I crossed this off the ‘someday list’. Woo hoo!
Surprisingly, I discovered it takes the same amount of time to wait for your pizza delivery than it does to make it, and it tastes so much better.
Open a bottle of wine while you pile on fresh toppings on your pizza crust and guaranteed you’ll have much more fun (and eat better too!) Below is my recipe for the Widowmaker pizza paired with CK Mondavi wines for a fun game night (or any night).
This recipe turned out so great, I have made pizza four times in one week! That pizza stone is no longer brand new. Now I must confess. I cheated. But I’m not ashamed. You can read on to find out how. But first, let me tell you about inspiration.
Inspiration is Everywhere!
I’m often asked how I come up with new recipes. When I want to get creative in the kitchen, I’m most often inspired by my travels and the talented chefs I’ve had the honor to meet. Who better to learn from than chefs?
Especially chefs as talented and debonair as Brandon McGlamery, Orlando’s award-winning partner / head culinary honcho of Luma on Park, Prato and the newly opened Luke’s Kitchen – all three restaurants which belong on your Orlando “Must Eat” list. A nominee for “Best Chef South” in the highly acclaimed James Beard Foundation Awards this year. I hope he brings home the prize to Orlando! Can you tell I’m very proud of Orlando’s culinary scene? (I digress)
Mention Prato, located on trendy Park Avenue in Winter Park, to any Orlando foodie and I guarantee you’ll hear immediate raves about their pizzas – made in an Acunto oak-burning oven. The Widowmaker, with that gorgeous fried egg on top, gets top nod.
Prato’s Widowmaker was the first pizza I devoured with an egg on top. Who knew egg on a pizza would be so fantastic? It was about three years ago, during a food tour of Winter Park. It would not be my last. A friend once said “everything is better with a fried egg on top” and if you try this pizza you would agree. I don’t know who started this foodie trend of the fried egg and the eternal search for #EggDrool food porn, but it shows no signs of stopping.
Prato’s Widowmaker pizza is topped with hazelnut Romesco, cavolo nero, fennel sausage and farm egg.
I only had eggs in my fridge. But that’s all I needed to be inspired to create this pizza.
I couldn’t possibly copy those fantastic ingredients. For starters, I would have to hunt for them in specialty stores and make my own sausage. I don’t have time for that. That’s the main reason I go out to eat and let the experts prepare foods I could never truly make the same at home. But, I can certainly be inspired by it.
When you’re at home, and friends are coming over for game night (or any night), you keep it simple. The last thing you want is growling stomachs and to be spending all your time slaving in the kitchen. Am I right?
I dashed to the grocery store with my list and this is where I cheated. I got ready-made pizza crust and tomato sauce. I’m ok with that. I got plenty of toppings to make it my own. And I will tell you how to make store-bought taste spectacular. Read on!
An easy pizza that looks great and tastes even better was on the table in less than 30 minutes! Pizza delivery is a thing of the past!
Why is it called a Widowmaker?
You may wonder what is with this funny albeit morbid name? The term “widowmaker” has a variety of definitions, mostly unpleasant. It is “A thing with the potential to kill men”, or in logging terms “a dead branch caught precariously high in a tree which may fall on a person below.” Neither definition applies to this gorgeous pizza.
Unless, dying of deliciousness is being considered.
I don’t know why McGlamery called his pizza “The Widowmaker” but I assume it’s because it’s so loaded with fantastic goodness it could kill a man – and he would die happy.
As I’m thinking of entertaining on game night, the term “widowmaker” reminded me of many friends who during sports season often feel like widows because their husbands get lost in front of the TVs with no opportunity for distraction. If you’re married to a sports fan (and you’re not equally lost in the sport) this may be you.
I bet this gorgeous pizza and wine pairing will provide some distraction and allow you to enjoy the game with friends, even when the game is not your main point of interest. Whether it’s college basketball during March Madness, hockey during the Stanley Cup, football, any sporting event throughout the year, or even board game night, this recipe is sure to get attention and cheer you up. You got delicious pizza and wine to keep you company.
The Widowmaker Pizza Ingredients
Just because you’re at home doesn’t mean you can’t show off like the best chefs do. Choose high quality ingredients.
The Widowmaker pizza could be topped with anything you wish, plus a fried egg on top. It’s meant to draw attention and distract you. It’s the “everything but the kitchen sink” of pizzas. You could go all meaty with loads of pepperoni and sausage (CK Mondavi has a promotion right now with Bridgford premium pepperoni. Look for it as bottle neckers.) or go with lots of veggies and lots of cheeses.
I made mine look like a flower, perfect for Spring. This daisy of a pizza is packed with caramelized sweet onions, sautéed mushrooms, garlic, prosciutto, mozzarella, pecorino Romano, arugula and of course topped with a fried egg.
If you are so inclined, make your own pizza dough. For the sake of easy entertaining, go for a ready-made crust. (I am now keeping some on hand for quick meals anytime!) You will find plenty of options in the deli section of your grocer.
Yes, I cheated. But let me tell you about this crust! While on recent assignment for Edible Orlando magazine I discovered a locally made pizza crust and fell in love. Of all things, it’s gluten-free! Yes, you read that correctly. I, who loves all gluten, was swayed after I interviewed Elaine Pezzoli, the charming Brazilian-Italian chef owner of Elaine’s Creations based in Apopka, Florida. After one bite I knew I had to bring this pizza crust home with me. If I didn’t tell you it’s gluten-free you wouldn’t know it. It’s crisp, thin, with soft bubbles, firm when you hold it up and has great flavor. Everything a pizza crust should be. My husband had no idea it was gluten-free and loved it. As I said, using high quality ingredients is key.
For best results, when using a ready-made pizza crust, bake it by itself on a hot pizza stone for 2 minutes to give it some crispness. Then add the toppings and bake longer, as needed, until golden color and melted cheese is achieved.
You can make your own. It‘s bound to be absolutely delicious. In the interest of time and simplicity, I chose my favorite marinara / tomato sauce and punched up the flavors with added crushed dry oregano, basil, garlic salt and fresh cracked pepper. There’s no shame in that. The best way to add flavor to prepared sauces is to add fresh dried herbs.
As I learned from Chef Elaine Pezzoli, if you are using grated cheeses in a recipe, fresh grate it yourself right before using. The flavor will be more vibrant than using pre-grated cheese. In this recipe, I sliced a ball of fresh mozzarella for that super cheesiness.
Then, add fresh grated pecorino Romano before serving. Use as much as you want!
Choose high quality cured meats and get creative. Try new flavored sausages. Pepperoni, ham, and prosciutto are great options. Cut them into bite size pieces but large enough to be identifiable. Have them available for guests to pile on or skip depending on their preference.
Sautéed or roasted veggies work great on this pizza. You want lots of flavor. I prepared caramelized onions, mushrooms and garlic sautéed with a bit of olive oil, garlic salt and fresh cracked pepper.
Most recipes will tell you to crack the egg on top of the pizza and return to the oven in the final stages of baking. I discovered the trick to a perfect egg atop a pizza is to fry it separately, especially when using a pre-made pizza crust as it does not need as much time in the oven. It will allow the egg whites to cook (you don’t want runny whites) but still maintain the yolk soft and bright yellow. Add on top of your pizza right before serving. Guaranteed you’ll have that glorious egg drool, runny yolk, which adds such rich umami flavors.
See the difference between cooking the egg on top of the pizza or adding it after its baked.
I like this one better!
Greens atop a pizza may seem strange but the peppery arugula adds a unique freshness and pop of flavor. Plus, adding colorful ingredients to your dish is always a good idea. Look how pretty it is!
Wine Pairings with CK Mondavi
As a CK Mondavi Ambassador, it has been so much fun creating recipes to pair with their All American California wines. They are well-balanced, easy to drink, accessible wines with high value and quality. Perfect for easy entertaining a crowd and enjoying at any time. Game night made easy!
For this pizza, a true reflection of spring, I wanted a bright clean white wine that would be refreshing, with aromas and flavors that would not overpower each other. You could easily serve this pizza and wine combo for a garden party too!
CK Mondavi Sauvignon Blanc has beautiful herbaceous and citrus notes. Its crispness and acidity were a perfect match with the toppings selected, especially the cheeses, egg and arugula. It also pairs well with seafood, fruit, mild cheeses like mozzarella, pasta and roasted chicken. CK Mondavi harvests grapes at their peak of ripeness creating wines with developed flavors.
CK Mondavi Pinot Grigio was also a nice pairing with the Widowmaker pizza. It offered a crisp and fruitier alternative to the herbaceous Sauvignon Blanc due to aromas of wildflowers, peaches, pears and tropical fruit. This is the easiest one to drink on its own or paired with food. It’s a blend of Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay and Moscato which offered balanced acidity and a touch of sweetness. I can see myself drinking this wine while enjoying an outdoor picnic.
Look for CK Mondavi’s special game day promotions on their wine bottles in stores now through March 31, 2018.
Follow #CKMondaviAmbassador or #CKMondaviGameDay on social and you’ll find more fun recipes from all the lovely CK Mondavi Ambassadors.
The Widowmaker Pizza Recipe
Serves 1 (2 if you are serving with other foods)
^ 9” Prepared pizza crust (or pizza dough of your choice)
^ 2 Slices prosciutto, cut in bite size pieces
^ 6oz Ball fresh mozzarella, thin sliced
^ Fresh pecorino Romano, shredded
^ 2 Tbsp prepared tomato sauce
^ 3 Button mushrooms, thin sliced sautéed
^ 2 Slices sweet onion, caramelized
^ 1 Garlic clove, sautéed
^ 1 Egg, fried sunny side up
^ Dry oregano or Italian seasonings
^ Fresh cracked pepper
^ Garlic salt
^ Extra virgin olive oil
1. Pre-heat pizza stone in oven at 500 degrees, for 15 minutes.
2. Place prepared pizza crust on center of pizza stone for 2 minutes, until edges are slightly golden.
3. Add a pinch of dried Italian seasonings, oregano, garlic salt and cracked pepper to tomato sauce and stir.
4. Remove pizza crust from oven, spread even layer of tomato sauce to cover the crust.
5. Add mushrooms, onions, garlic, and prosciutto. Place slices of mozzarella on top.
6. Place pizza on pizza stone in the oven and bake for 3-5 minutes until cheese is melted and crust is golden.
7. Remove the pizza from the oven, place fried egg in the center.
8. Sprinkle with Arugula, shred fresh Pecorino Romano cheese and drizzle olive oil on top.
9. Serve hot!
Voila! Enjoy Easy Entertaining with Pizza and Wine on Game Night (or any night!)
Disclosure: As a CK Mondavi Wines ambassador, I was compensated for this post. I only choose to collaborate with brands I enjoy. I love their great quality value wines, and more importantly I admire the company’s values and the family behind them. This is a fourth generation family run business that is 100% American. It is an honor to partner with them to share with you awesome wine pairing tips and easy entertaining recipes. All opinions, photos and recipe creations are my own. As always I only share with you products and experiences I love, to inspire you to #MakeSomedayHappen.