Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Rosie And Mr. Hawthorne Make A Pesto Pizza.

I came up with this pizza a while back and it has become one of Mr. Hawthorne's favorites.
It has no tomato sauce. The base is pesto. It's different. It's unusual. And it's a terrific pizza.
Here's my little slice. First, I gathered my ingredients for the pesto. I'll give you the basics and you can add more or less depending on your own tastes.
My pesto ingredients: about 2 cups fresh basil about a cup of pecans (I know pesto recipes call for pine nuts, but I don't like pine nuts and I love pecans.) 3 garlic cloves about a 3 inch long wedge of Parmesan cheese about 1/2 cup olive oil, or enough to make a nice paste
Mr. Hawthorne insisted on making the pesto. And he made it in the Magic Bullet. I would have used my mini-processor since you can drizzle in the olive oil as it's running, but he was determined on using the Magic Bullet. First he put in the basil and when he turned on the Bullet, it just whizzed around only chopping the basil leaves at the bottom. So he added the garlic to try to chop everything up. Not working.
Then he added in the pecans, Parmesan, and the olive oil and finally got a decent mixture. Mini-processor is the way to go, folks.
We tasted and decided it needed a bit of salt and some more Parmesan. And now it is perfect. On to the pizza dough. For this particular pizza, I like a thin and crispy crust.
Ingredients for a thin and crispy crust: 1 cup warm water 1 package yeast 1 teaspoon sugar approximately 2 1/2 cups bread flour (added 1/2 cup at a time) 1 TB olive oil (Bertolli Extra Light) salt and pepper
First I added my yeast to the warm water.
Then the sugar went in. Let the mixture rest for a few minutes until the yeast proofs.
When the yeast proofs you know the yeast is active. The mixture should be all foamy and bubbly.
I mixed in 1 1/2 cups bread flour, 1/2 cup at a time, forking it in. Then I turned the sticky mass onto my lightly floured board and started kneading, gradually sprinkling in 1/2 cup flour. When the dough gets sticky, just sprinkle a little flour over top and continue kneading.
Once I had a cohesive ball of dough, I poured in about 1 TB olive oil. Need some more, adding more flour if kneaded.
When the dough is nice and smooth and elastic, oil a bowl and put the dough in, turning to coat. Cover with plastic wrap. And for those of you just tuning in, here's Rosie Tip # 342: (The rest of you skip ahead.) Wet a kitchen towel, nuke it for about 90 seconds, cover the dough bowl with the towel, and leave it in the microwave to rise. The steam and heat facilitates the rising.
After only one hour, here's my dough. Flour your fist and give it a good punch. Knead again, adding more flour if needed.
I oiled my pan and gradually heeled out the dough. Start at the middle and work to the outside evenly all around. Stop every once in a while to let the dough rest. And it will contract back. Just let it rest a minute or so then continue pressing and pushing. Normally, I would drizzle some olive oil over top, prick the dough with a fork or fork it with a prick, turn the oven on to 450, and let the dough rest in the pan while the oven heated up. But Mr. Hawthorne wants to take over. It is out of my hands now. He puts the un-oiled pizza in a cold oven, turns it to 425, so it can "rise and bake simultaneously." Mr. Hawthorne wants to do this his way.
He forgot to fork and prick the dough, so partway through the oven preheating, he checked it and ended up having to spatula it.
When the dough was browned he grated Mozzarella on first.
Then he cut off chunks of Brie, and used my Zyliss peeler to shave off fine slices of Swiss.
He had cooked some sausage patties earlier.
He plopped on the pesto,
crumbled up the sausage, and added the tomatoes, pepper, and onion to the pizza. I would have made the first layer a nice, rich, luxurious, verdant spread of pesto. I wouldn't plop pesto.
Final sprinkling of Parmesan.
And Mr. Hawthorne wants his Italian Seasoning.
Bake in a 425 degree oven until everything is heated through and the cheese is starting to brown.
This really is too good. The pesto is bright and fresh. The just-picked tomatoes are juicy and give just enough tomatoey flavor to the pizza. There's melted cheese in every bite. And the crust was not bready at all, but a crisp, understated, vehicle for service. I hope you try this. It's qibswedyk.


Anonymous said...

Another wonderful pizza! I love pesto pizza. Can I ask why you don't do the whole dough thing in your food processor? I hate working with sticky dough, so the food processor saves me a lot of anguish.

Debbie said...

Pesto pizza sounds great. I have never made from scratch pizza before but want to give it a try!

Rosie Hawthorne said...

NMOAC, I just like the feel of the dough and working it.
I like the process.
Plus, I'm lazy and don't want to have to wash out the processor.

Debbie, let me know how it turns out for you.

Anonymous said...

I had to make a pizza for dinner last night after reading your blog. You should video parts of the dough making process for newbies, that was the scariest part for me when I first started.