Chattanooga Style Pizza

Western Civilization's Favorite Food: (Chattanooga Style)

Making local, farm-to-table pizza with a year's-worth of CSA bounty.

Italy of course, but also New York has it, Chicago has it, San Francisco has it, and many other locations around the world have claims to pizza flavors that are worth travelling for the experience. So what is the "Chattanooga Style Pizza?" We aren't big-time yet, but let's suppose we have some potential for developing a "worth-the-travel" flavor as well. There are some fabulous pizza's on Chattanooga's restaurant menus, many of whom source locally produced ingredients. And with regional agriculture growing and developing, even Chattanoogans who don't own restaurants have enough access to the best quality local produce, meats, cheeses, and grains to fill our pantries, refrigerators and freezers with prime ingredients.

Pizza is (essentially) whatever you like to eat served open on bread, and even the bread part is open for interpretation. Nevertheless, the basic components of the popular comfort food we call pizza are: crust, sauce, and toppings. Arguably, the type of oven and temperature in which a pizza bakes could also be at the top of the list for basic components of good pizza. So if you can, bake on a hot pizza stone in a very hot oven (around 500 degrees), or in a wood-fired oven. If you don't have access to this sort of heat power, any oven will do; you just may need to play with ingredients and temperatures to suit your oven, or pre-bake your crust to avoid sogginess.

And here are a few ideas for building your own perfect Chattanooga Style Pizza:

Fresh pizza crust is essential.  Store-bought pizza crusts are tough and flavorless, so if you are serious about making good pizza it's a great idea to start with a good recipe for yeast or sour-dough pizza crust. For a soft, thicker crust try this one: Quick Pizza Dough

If you like a thin, crispy crust and have a sour-dough starter, try this sourdough pizza crust recipe, with more on how to make the pizza here.


A great party idea, or to get kids involved, is to use cake tins for personal pizzas. This is also a great way to make several different pizzas. Most ovens will hold around six 9-inch tins.


The sauce is often regarded as a compulsory ingredient on pizza, with jars of "everything-tastes-the-same" blindly opened and spread without any further thought. But freshly made marinara from whole tomatoes can add transforming flavor. Here's an easy recipe:

1) Quarter several whole tomatoes, discarding cores, and place in a blender or food processor. Pulse until they are like a textured sauce, but not pureed.

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2) Place the tomatoes in a heavy stew pot or in a slow cooker. Add a generous amount of crushed or minced fresh garlic (about 1-2 cloves per tomato), some dried herbs (like herbs de Provence), a bay leaf, a generous splash of red wine, olive oil, and season to taste with kosher salt and pepper. Add fresh or dried cayenne pepper if you want a little heat in the sauce.

3) Let the sauce simmer for several hours with the lid of the pan tilted to allow the steam to release. Stir occasionally. The water in the sauce will reduce and the flavors will become more concentrated the longer it cooks.

photo 1 (12)Pizza toppings can include all-local ingredients from your CSA share and other vendors from your farmer's market.  All your hard work putting away extras will bear fruit as you use them to make the perfect pizza. Caramelized onions, pickled corn, roasted peppers, frozen beet greens, pickled banana peppers, pesto, fresh tomato marinara, and local cheeses from Sequatchie Cove Farm are ready to top a truly Chattanoga Style Pizza. Other ingredients like teriyaki marinated chicken, grilled meats, sausage, or local pepperoni from Main Street Meats are delicious proteins to add on top.



Try these combinations, or create your own unique flavors:

1) Marinara, chopped beet greens, roasted sweet peppers, pickled corn, pickled banana peppers, smoked sausage, Sequatchie Cove Farm Coppinger Cheese.

2) Marinara, greens, pickled corn, pesto, Main Street Meats pepperoni, Cheddar Cheese.

3) Pesto, caramelized onions, roasted sweet peppers, grilled teriyaki chicken, beet greens, Sequatchie Cove Farm Yetti Cheese.

4) Pesto, caramelized onions, pickled banana peppers, pickled corn, Sequatchie Cove Farm Yetti Cheese.

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Winter Squash Hash with Chanterelle Mushrooms & Fresh Herbs


The chanterelle mushrooms in this recipe are from Alexzanna Farm (found at the Main St. Farmer's Market).  The best mushrooms to use are the ones that are freshly harvested, but you can substitute other fresh wild mushrooms found at grocery stores if the local ones are unavailable.


2 Delicata squash, seeded and diced (do not peel)

1 Small butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and diced

1 Large Italian sweet pepper, seeded and diced

2 Medium yellow onions, peeled and sliced into wedges

About 1/2 lb fresh chanterelle mushrooms (Alexzanna Farm, Main St. farmer's Market)

1/2 Cup of chopped fresh herbs: Mixture of parsley, sage, rosemary & thyme

1/4 Cup of olive oil

Sea salt

Black Pepper


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Combine the vegetables, mushrooms, herbs and about 1/4 cup of olive oil and spread evenly on a baking tray or large ovenproof dish.  Season with salt and pepper.


Bake for about 60 - 90 minutes.  Turn with a spatula after about 45 minutes.  Remove from oven when the vegetables are soft and beginning to brown on the edges.

Turnip Gratin Dauphinois


Rich and creamy dishes are not typical on this blog, but as the end of the growing season is here and the holidays approach it seems fitting to celebrate in style. Turnips may or may not top your list of celebratory vegetables. It seems they are on the either love or hate list for most people. So if you are one of the haters, maybe this recipe will persuade you to the other side. Admittedly, I am firmly in the love camp as I have memories of enjoying raw turnips straight out of the garden as a child. You can make this dish with only turnips, or you can mix new potatoes, kohlrabi and turnips. Starchy white potatoes will make the dish more firm, acting as a sort of glue to hold the layers together. So there is plenty of room for creativity and texture preference if you want to adapt to your own taste.


1 1/2 lb turnips (or a mixture of new potatoes, kohlrabi and turnips) 1 medium yellow onion, cut into very thin half-circles 2 cloves of garlic, minced 1 Tbs butter 1 Tbs all purpose flour 1/2 Rapunzel vegetable bouillon cube (with sea salt & herbs) dissolved into 1 cup boiling water 6 oz goat cheese 1/4 cup dry white wine 1 tsp whole grain french mustard 1 cup shredded aged cheese (like white cheddar or gruyere)


Slice turnips (and potatoes and kohlrabi if using) very thinly with a sharp knife or mandolin slicer. Layer them with the onions in a 2qt casserole dish. You can place them in evenly and neatly if you like, but it's not necessary. I just tossed them all together, making sure they were fairly flat and well inside the dish. Whisk together the other ingredients (except the cheese) and pour over the top of the vegetables. Cover with foil and place in the oven at 325 degrees. Bake for about 45 minutes to one hour. Remove the foil and sprinkle the shredded cheese over the top. Return to the oven and bake (uncovered) for about 20 minutes, or until the top is golden brown. Let rest for 5 minutes before serving.

Kale & Wild Mushroom Roulade

Pottery courtesy of Emerson Burch

I discovered this recipe nearly 15 years ago, in a charity cookbook from Leeds, England that helped to fund improvements to a soup kitchen.  The book is called More Than A Meal: A Cookbook In Support Of The Homeless.  Many of the recipes are from famous chefs, celebrities and politicians.  Some were humorous, like Rowan Atkinson's Baked Beans on Toast, and John Cleese's recipe for cornflakes: "Buy a packet of cornflakes.  Open the cardboard box...pour some of the contents in a bowl...etc." But this one from Janet Gibson at St. George's Church, was not only beautiful, it is delicious.  Her recipe called for spinach, but as we have loads of greens this time of year, I thought I would try an adaptation.  The texture is not as soft with kale as it is with spinach, but the kale provides a lot of structure and therefore is easier to roll.  Either way, it is a tasty and beautiful way to eat your greens.

Ingredients: 1 lb kale, or mixed broad leafy greens 4-5 eggs, separated 1 Tbs white balsamic vinegar 2 Tbs butter, melted 1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese Sea salt and pepper 6 oz locally grown shiitake mushrooms, or a mixture of wild mushrooms, sliced 10-12 oz fresh goat cheese (can substitute sour cream and reduce the vegetable broth to 1/4 cup) 1/2 cup vegetable broth Canola oil 2 garlic cloves, crushed

Method: Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Line a 12 x 18 jelly roll pan with greased parchment paper, then set aside. Wash and remove stems from the greens.  Blanch in a pot of boiling water for about 1 minute, or until they are wilted and bright green.  Remove from the water and drain or squeeze any excess water from the greens.  Chop very finely.  In a large bowl, mix together the chopped greens, egg yolks, vinegar, melted butter, parmesan cheese, sea salt and pepper.  Whisk the egg whites until soft peaks form.  Gently fold the egg whites into the mixture of greens until the mixture is evenly combined.  Pour the mixture into the lined jelly roll pan.  With a second piece of parchment paper, press the greens into the pan until you have an even layer and there are no holes or gaps.  Remove the top piece of parchment and place in the oven.  Bake for 10-15 minutes, or until the egg has set and the greens feel slightly spongy to the touch.

While the greens are baking, saute the sliced mushrooms in a pan with a little oil. When they begin to brown, add the goat cheese, broth, and garlic.  Stir over medium heat until combined well and warmed through. Set aside.  When the greens are finished baking, remove from the oven and place a clean cotton tea-towel over the greens.  Then place a large cutting board or a second jelly roll pan of the same size on top.  Holding the two firmly together, turn upside down to turn the greens out.  Remove the hot jelly roll pan, then gently remove the parchment paper from the greens.  If it sticks in any areas, use a sharp knife to separate the parchment without tearing a hole in the greens.  While the greens are still hot and steamy, use the tea towel (which is now underneath the greens) to gently roll the sponge (rolling the towel along with the greens).  This will allow the sponge to create some memory, and helps to prevent cracking.  Let rest for a few minutes.  Gently unroll and spread the mushroom mixture onto half of the greens, starting with the centermost side.  Roll again, adding more filling if necessary.
When it is a log shape, slice into pinwheels and serve immediately.  If it has cooled, then gently wrap the roll in foil before slicing and return to the oven to warm through.



Savory Winter Squash Soufflé

Served with Prosciutto, arugula, goat cheese with lemon & herbs, and a drizzle of white wine vinegar & olive oil.

I have seen photos of perfectly-puffed soufflé, so I know the highly puffed recipes must exist. But by the time I slid this baby onto the plate without burning my fingers, I had about 30 seconds to snap away before it began to sink in the middle.  I was wishing for a mini Julia Child angel on my shoulder to help me with my puffiness problem, that is, until I tasted the finished product.  Bowl-shaped or not, this savory fall soufflé is light and full of flavor. If you are interested in a dairy-free version, I tried this recipe with a mixture of unsweetened soy milk and lower-fat coconut milk, and omitted the cheese.  It was delicious. For other preparation tips, in Mark Bittman's How To Cook Everything, the basics of Savory Soufflé recipe is a great  guideline for first-timers.

Ingredients: 1 small butternut squash (or other dense winter squash, like acorn or kabocha. Also can substitute two medium sweet potatoes) Olive or canola oil Freshly ground nutmeg 4 Tbs butter or Toasted Garlic Drizzling Oil 1/4 cup all-purpose flour 1 1/2 cups milk (can substitute unsweetened soy milk, or reduced fat coconut milk) 6 farm-fresh local eggs, separated 1 tsp french mustard 1 Tbs fresh thyme, minced 1 tsp paprika or cayenne pepper 2 green onions, chopped 1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese (optional) Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Method: Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Peel and seed the squash (or peel the sweet potatoes), cut into 1-inch cubes and place in a glass baking dish.  Toss with a little olive or canola oil and season with sea salt, black pepper and a little freshly ground nutmeg.  Bake for about 1 hour.  While the squash is baking, gather the other ingredients so they are ready for the next step.  When the squash is cooked, mash well with a fork.  It should measure about 1 cup mashed.

Next heat the Toasted Garlic Drizzling Oil or butter in a medium saucepan.  If using butter, you will need to cook it on medium heat until the water evaporates and the solids have separated.  Make a roux by adding the flour and cooking until it begins to brown, (If using oil, it may only darken slightly).  Slowly pour the milk into the pan and stir constantly with a whisk for a couple of minutes to keep it from going lumpy. It will be like a thick, southern white gravy at this point. Remove from the heat and let cool enough that you can comfortably insert a finger without it burning.  Stir in the egg yolks until smooth, then add the mashed squash, mustard, thyme, paprika, green onions and shredded cheese (if desired).  Stir until combined evenly.  If you are not squeamish about raw eggs, taste the mixture and adjust seasonings to taste.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and butter eight 4-inch ramekins, or one large soufflé dish.  In a glass or metal bowl, whisk the egg whites until soft peaks form.  Transfer the squash mixture to a large bowl and fold in 1/3 of the egg whites with a rubber spoon-shaped spatula. Slowly and gently fold in the rest of the egg whites until it is fairly evenly combined, but take care not to over-mix the batter or your soufflé will be flat.  Spoon the batter into the ramekins or the soufflé dish and place on a baking sheet in the center of the oven.  Bake the small ramekins for about 20 minutes, the large soufflé may take 30-40 minutes.  It is done when the top has browned and it is set, but still somewhat soft.  If it jiggles when you check it, give it a few minutes more. When they are done, serve immediately.