Pizza Ranch

There’s a new pizza place coming to Grand Forks. It’s called Pizza Ranch. And if you like pizza with a little imagination or some spiciness, the restaurant located at 3750 32nd Avenue S. may be just for you.

I’d never been to a Pizza Ranch, which boasts 160 locations throughout nine Midwest states, until this past weekend. I was in Devils Lake watching my grandson Rakeem’s peewee A Seawolves hockey team play.

After the game, the players and families went to the Pizza Ranch for lunch.  It was an enjoyable experience. Besides several kinds of tasty pizza (including specialties like Texan taco, round up, bronco and bacon cheeseburger), the restaurant featured salad, chicken with hot mashed potatoes and gravy, vegetables, potato wedges and desserts in a  buffet-style environment. (Besides dining in, Pizza Ranch will offer carry-out and delivery service.)

The new Grand Forks business, which opens Monday (Dec. 12),  is the second location for the husband-and-wife team of  Mike and Angie Christianson. (They also have a Pizza Ranch in Minot.)

For those of you who are in the mood for pizza and like to make your own, try this recipe that was a finalist in the 2007  Pillsbury Bake-Off.

Spicy Double-Mozzarella Pancetta Pizza
1 tablespoon extra virgin or pure olive oil
2 tablespoons yellow cornmeal
1 13.8-ounce can refrigerated pizza crust
2 tablespoons grated Asiago cheese
2 tablespoons sesame seeds
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
½ to 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
8 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese, cut into ¼-inch cubes
2 cups (8 ounces) shredded mozzarella cheese
¼ cup chopped dry-pack sun-dried tomatoes
4 ounces thinly sliced pancetta or smoked ham, chopped (about ½ cup)
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
Brush oil on bottom and sides of a 15-by-10-by-1-inch pan. Sprinkle cornmeal over bottom of pan. Unroll pizza crust dough in pan; press dough to edges of pan.
Bake 6 to 8 minutes or until light golden brown. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, mix the Asiago cheese, sesame seeds, garlic powder, Italian seasoning and crushed red pepper flakes; set aside.
On the partially baked crust, sprinkle the mozzarella cheeses, sun-dried tomatoes and pancetta. Sprinkle the seasoning blend over the toppings.
Bake 7 to 11 minutes longer or until cheese is melted and crust is golden brown. Remove from oven and serve.
Yield: Serves 8.
Approximate nutritional analysis per serving: 370 calories, 44 percent of calories from fat, 18 grams fat (9 grams saturated), 29 grams carbohydrates, 23 grams protein, 890 milligrams sodium, 40 milligram cholesterol, no fiber.

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