Tuesday, March 13, 2012

St. Patrick's Day's A Comin'...

     Last year on St. Patrick's Day I lamented the fact that I didn't have anything green in my recipe box.  This year I've got another confession to make.  I've been deceiving you with my recipes (only a teensy bit).  Maybe "deceive" is the wrong word...  Exaggerating?  I do believe in eating fresh, organic, and local as much as possible, but we don't eat like this all the time, especially when my farmer's market is closed for the season.  I've got two little boys who can make gourmet meal preparation a challenge to say the least.  What we actually eat are things like macaroni and cheese, spaghetti, and burritos.

     Now, though I usually make them from scratch (no blue boxes of "mak n' cheaz" in my pantry, thank you) we are hardly the gourmands we seem to be with recipes like this, this, and this.  So this St. Patrick's Day I'm kicking off a new (occasionally updated) series called: "How We Really Eat."  The recipes are quick, sometimes use store-bought/name brand ingredients, are free of preservatives, as local as possible, and weird chemical-free.  (I spend a lot of time in the store squinting at labels, let me just say!) I'll be posting the recipes throughout the year. 

Today, for St. Patty's day, that traditional Ye Olde Irish dish:  Pesto Pizza

Check out the also not Irish beer.  It's local.  It's goooood.  It's Pike's Place Brewery Pale Ale.  You can get your own at Pike's Place Market and grocery stores in the greater Seattle area.  They have one called "Kilt Lifter" but I was afraid that a Leprechaun might beat me to death with a shillelagh if I used it in a St. Patrick's Day post...

Pesto Pizza 
Start with the pesto:
Yield: enough for two pizzas and a little left over
3-4 C basil, washed and dried
3 large garlic cloves
1/2 C olive oil
1 tsp lemon juice
1/4 C pine nuts
2 Tbs shredded Parmesan

Put everything in a food processor except the Parmesan and buzz until it's "pesto-y."  Then add the Parmesan and buzz it some more.

For the Pizza:
1 package Trader Joe's garlic and herb pizza crust, divided in half
4-8 sundried tomatoes packed in oil (Mediterranean Organic brand), roughly chopped
5-6 cloves garlic
baby bella mushrooms, sliced (these are button mushrooms pictured here, and they turned out fine, too)
feta cheese
mozzarella cheese

Preheat oven to 425°.  Dust your work surface lightly with bread flour.  Divide dough in half and roll out as thinly as possible, about a 1/4 inch.   Lightly brush entire crust with olive oil.  Crush garlic with a garlic press over the crust and brush until it is distributed evenly.  Pesto is next, make sure to leave the edges clear.  If you really want to guild the lily, you can drizzle a tablespoon or so of oil from the sundried tomatoes bottle over the pesto.  Place mushrooms and tomatoes sparsely over  pesto.  Sprinkle salt around the edge of the crust.  This next part may seem weird, but trust me.  Put the pizza in the oven without the cheese.  Bake until the crust just begins to brown, about 10-12 minutes.  Remove from oven and sprinkle with feta and/or mozzarella.  The more sparse the better.  Then return to oven and bake for 2-4 minutes until cheese is just melted.

If you don't want to make your own pesto, or don't have the time, Roland Pesto is the best!  The 3 oz jar should cover at least one crust and you can over the other with tomato sauce and see how you like that!

This my favorite pizza of all time.  My previous view of pizza was more cheese, more crust, gimme.  This crust is so crispy I just couldn't stand to make it all soggy under a million toppings and gobs of cheese. It's thin crust gone sophisticated with zero time spent slaving over a warm proofing drawer!


  1. I was JUST daydreaming about TJ's pizza crust--it's the best, isn't it??? Man, I miss it {I might have to sneak it in one of these days...thanks to your bad influence}. I'll take mine with a bottle of Kilt Lifter please :)

    1. The leprechauns are flailing their shillelaghs, woman. =) Why haven't you invented your own g/f version yet, oh high Priestess of Girl Scout Cookies?

    2. I'm not even sure I can pronounce shillelaghs correctly, let alone read it in a sentence :) I have tried a couple of times with pizza but it wasn't my favorite. Then again, maybe it's because I use already funktified gf recipes and that is my problem. *the priestess has left and made a run for it to the kitchen...*

    3. For pronunciation purposes: http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/shillelagh This dough is so thin and crispy, have you thought about trying a cracker dough?

  2. I havn't made pesto in such a long time. Your pizzas inspired me to make some.

    1. Good! I can't believe how much of my life I spent without pesto in it!

  3. Unique and interesting... Can hardly wait for the weekend. I am gonna try this!

    1. Great! Hope you like it! Happy St. Patrick's Day!

  4. Uh... yeah.... making that! Oh,Pesto my soul!

    1. Yeah, my soul may have a fair amount of pesto on it, too... Goodness knows my hips do! =)


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