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...
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)
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!