Witherell’s Annual Hawaiian Luau a Hit!

Getting into the spirit!

Screen Shot 2014-09-26 at 12.46.21 PMResidents at The Nathaniel Witherell were transported to Tahiti and all places Polynesian when they attended the annual Hawaiian Luau at Witherell on September 12. There were no holds barred: Hawaiian traditional dance, Polynesian and Tahitian music, floral leis, straw hats, grass skirts, and some fabulous South Pacific food, created and served by the Witherell’s terrific dining staff.

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Courtney Morgan, Witherell’s director of dining services explained. “My staff and I planned a menu that included pineapple and bacon pizza, coconut shrimp, plus virgin piña coladas and strawberry daiquiris.” A special thanks to Courtney, who has graciously agreed to share his own special recipe for Hawaiian Pizza:

HAWAIIAN PIZZA

Ingredients

Crust:
1 premade pizza dough

Toppings:
4 slices center-cut bacon
3/4 cup (6 ounces) shredded part-skim mozzarella
1/4 cup diced red onion
1 cup pineapple chunks (fresh or canned, drained)

Sauce:
Purchased pizza sauce, or see below for homemade sauce

Directions

Set a large frying pan over medium heat and add bacon. Cook bacon for eight minutes, flipping every two minutes to keep it from curling up. Place bacon on paper towels to drain. The bacon should still be flexible and soft; it will crisp up on the pizza. Tear into small pieces.

If you chose to prepare your own sauce, see directions below. Dice the onions and drain the pineapple.

Roll out the dough into your desired shape and thickness. Place on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil and sprayed with cooking spray. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.

Place 1/2 cup of sauce on pizza. Sprinkle on 1/2 cup of cheese, 1 cup of pineapple and bacon pieces. Sprinkle on remaining 1/4 cup of cheese.

Bake in oven for 14 minutes on middle rack. If you prefer a browner pizza, broil pizza for an additional couple of minutes, watching to ensure it doesn’t burn. Once it looks good and brown, remove and let sit for 10 minutes to let the cheese firm up a little. Slice into eight pieces.

Sauce:
1 (28-ounce) can whole peeled tomatoes
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
2 medium cloves garlic, chopped (about 2 teaspoons)
1 teaspoon fresh oregano
pinch red pepper flakes
Kosher salt
2 six-inch sprigs fresh basil with leaves attached
1 medium yellow onion, peeled and split in half
1 teaspoon sugar

The Sauce Method:

Process tomatoes and their juice through a food mill, pulse in food processor until pureed, or puree with hand blender. Puree should not be completely smooth.

Combine butter and oil in medium saucepan and heat over medium-low heat until butter is melted. Add garlic, oregano, pepper flakes, and large pinch salt. Cook, stirring frequently, until fragrant but not browned, about three minutes. Add tomatoes, basil sprigs, onion halves, and sugar. Bring to a simmer, reduce heat to lowest setting (bubbles should barely be breaking the surface), and cook, stirring occasionally, until reduced by one half. This should take about an hour. Season to taste with salt. Allow to cool. You can store in a covered container in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.

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