10/1/13

Pesto Margherita Pizza -- Two Ways!

Wow, have I been in a rut lately. Recipe planning for dinners has been a struggle. I have made it a goal to include as many veggies in my meals, which has kind of thrown a wrench in my usual meal planning. I can't go to my usual standbys that I would whip together. I have been sticking to salads and trying new recipes.

While I'm meal planning for the week, I always ask my husband what he wants for dinner. He never says anything specific. He only replies, "Keep it simple."

Um, I can't keep it simple. I get bored really easily. Not that simple food is always boring, but when I think of simple dishes, I think of spaghetti, tacos, etc. You know, the usuals that you grew up with that can be whipped together and have relatively simple flavors. Those just aren't fun for me to make. And if I'm going to be slaving away in the kitchen, you'd better believe I'm going to make something that is more of a challenge.

But I really do try for him. One of his favorites is margherita pizza. I swear there are a million variations, but they usually revolve around tomatoes, basil, and mozzarella cheese. I have made this pizza more than several times in the past couple of weeks and he can't get sick of it.

Remember the part where I said I was trying to include more veggies in my meals? Well, I thought of making the pizza one more time, but I didn't want to eat the usual flour crust. I had seen recipes for cauliflower crust pizza floating around, so I thought it was the perfect time to give it a try.

Let me say, wow! What a surprise. The crust actually turns out kind of fluffy, like bread. It is bendable; it is chewy. There is a slight cauliflower favor but it's not overwhelming. I am definitely adding it to my menu rotation. Cauliflower crust recipe from Tasty Kitchen. I feel like I need to add a disclaimer to my pesto recipe. It is by no means a traditional or authentic recipe, and I am no pesto expert. It's just me trying to use up my mounds of fresh basil. If you have a favorite pesto, by all means, use it! I usually use fresh, chopped basil leaves. You can do that, too.

Pesto Margherita Pizza with Cauliflower Crust
print this recipe
makes one small pizza

Cauliflower Crust:

1 small head cauliflower
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
1/4 cup mozzarella cheese
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 whole egg

Pesto:

2-3 cups fresh basil leaves
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
1/4 cup or less olive oil
1-2 garlic cloves
salt & pepper

Toppings:

1 cup cherry tomatoes, sliced in half (or 2 small tomatoes, sliced)
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons pesto

Untitled

Chop the florets off the head of broccoli and pulse in a food processor until all they are finely ground. At this point, you should have about 2-3 cups of the processed cauliflower. Put in a microwave safe bowl, cover, and microwave for 4 minutes. Allow to sit at room temperature to cool.

Untitled

While it is cooling, combine all ingredients for the pesto in the food processor. Pulse until combined and set aside. Slice tomatoes and set aside.

Once cooled, place the cauliflower in a thin dish towel and squeeze out as much of the moisture as you can. Throw the dried cauliflower back in the bowl.

Untitled

Add the cheeses, spices, and egg. Mix well. Place a cold pizza stone in a cold oven and preheat the oven to 450º.

Once the oven has preheated, remove pizza stone. Place a piece of parchment paper on top of the pizza stone and spray it with non-stick spray. Dump crust mixture onto the paper, and quickly spread it out and form a circle shape. Don't make it too thick or thin. Be careful not to burn your hands!

Untitled

Bake for about 10-12 minutes or until lightly browned. Top with about 2 tablespoons of the pesto, mozzarella and parmesan cheese, and tomatoes. Pop back into the oven for another 10-12 minutes or until the edges and cheese are lightly browned and the tomatoes are starting to wilt.


Untitled

Oops, mine got a little too done. I guess that's what happens when you are trying to feed your very hungry baby and forget about your pizza!

Untitled

The ultimate test: yes, you can hold it with your hand, and even fold it in half! Winner! Now onto Mark's version of the pizza....

Pesto Margherita Pizza
print this recipe
makes one large pizza

1 recipe pizza crust, following instructions
3-4 tablespoons pesto, recipe above
1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
1/4-1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese
2 large sliced tomatoes


Preheat pizza stone in a cold oven to 475º. Roll out pizza dough, after it has risen, to a large shape the size of the pizza stone. After stone has preheated, remove from oven and place dough on top. Spread on pesto and cheeses. Remove as much liquid from the tomatoes as possible by pressing between paper towels. Top pizza with tomatoes. Bake for 12-14 minutes or until crust is golden brown and cheese is lightly browned.

Enjoy!

Untitled

-Candice

1 comment: