Thank you, Rocco

I was watching this video of Rocco DiSpirito from a Rachael Ray show appearance where people asked him for help in the kitchen.  One mom had a picky eater child (the mom could have been me) and he suggested she grind up kale in a food processor with tomato sauce and use that on a homeade pizza rather than just straight tomato sauce.   I was very suspicious when I first heard him suggest this, but then this past weekend, sure enough I found myself about to make a pizza and thinking of his idea.  So I shoved a huge handful of kale and a couple of basil leaves in a blender with my sauce that I had made previously (and cooled).  I became nervous when it turned a bit brown, because as we moms of picky eaters all know, it’s ALL about the look.  My son notices immediately when I try to sneak a carrot into his smoothie (“it’s too orange-y”).

I also tasted the sauce and it had a very earthy, grassy taste.  I might have been better off actually cooking the kale and basil before adding to the sauce, but I didn’t want to lose any of the precious nutrients since there would be so little on a single slice.

So I went with the sauce and made the rest of the pizza as I normally do-sauce, mozzarella cheese, and then a sprinkle of Pecorino Romano, salt and pepper, a drizzle of EVOO and in the oven it went.

My son took one look and said “it looks like birthday party pizza” which is code for brown and yucky pizza that you see at every kid’s birthday party (no wonder my son never eats at those parties).  But I assured him it was mamma’s pizza and that I would sit with him and help him try it.

He ate four pieces and never suspected the greens I managed to get inside him.  With all of the other ingredients, he didn’t taste the kale and probably because once in the oven for 12 minutes, it cooked and mellowed.

I may not have gotten much into his little body, but this is a huge victory for me.  I can officially say he had never had kale before and now he has.  I can only imagine his insides doing a little happy dance-I know he felt great because he had eaten a really good and fulfilling meal and we all know that the picky eaters and crankiness go hand in hand.

Here are some pizza recipes from

Mario Batali’s Grilled Pizza Margherita (photo above/photo credit: beatriz da costa)

Rachael’s French Bread Pizzas

Ricotta and Cherry Focaccia Pizza

See Rocco DiSpirito’s website for his recipes and tips

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