April 16, 2009

Veggie Pesto Pizza

Pizza night is coming early this week, my friends! I really had no clue as to what I wanted to do for dinner until about two minutes ago. I was stalling -ahem!- I mean...I was looking for inspiration on the Internet when an idea finally gelled. Really, I can't take the credit. It is not my idea. It is an idea from Aggie of Aggie's Kitchen, a food blog that I l-o-v-e. I want another vegetarian meal tonight, but I did not want another pasta dish. I decided to do a 'take' on Aggie's Roasted Veggie Pesto Pizza. Actually, mine will be a lazy version of Aggie's dish...no real roasting involved and I will be using what I have on hand. I am short on fresh veggies this week, so I am going to have to turn to the cans, jars, and frozen items that I have squirreled away in my stores. Hey, at least the pizza dough will be handmade! Okay...I am going to make my own pesto, too. But the fresh pesto is entirely by coincidence, I swear! I needed some fresh basil for a different recipe, and the store only had the huge tub o' basil available. Rather than going without, I decided to purchase the basil tub and figure out what to do with my superfluous basil at a later time (i.e. today). So, homemade pesto it will be!!! Luckily, I have some pine nuts stashed away, as well. The best part is that I can work on both the pesto and the dough right now, while my boy is down for his nap. I think a side of steamed broccoli will go nicely with our pizza, and that will be about it. Whew! Dinner is planned!!!

Veggie Pesto Pizza

For Dough:

Cooking Light Whole Wheat Pizza Crust:


1 package dry yeast (about 2 1/4 teaspoons)
1/4 teaspoon sugar
1 1/2 cups warm water (100° to 110°)
2 1/2 to 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, divided
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
Cooking spray

Dissolve yeast and sugar in warm water in a large bowl; let stand 5 minutes. Lightly spoon flours into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Add 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, wheat flour, oil, and salt; stir until well blended. Turn dough out onto a floured surface. Knead until smooth and elastic (about 10 minutes); add enough of remaining flour, 1 tablespoon at a time, to prevent dough from sticking to hands (dough will feel tacky).

Place dough in a large bowl coated with cooking spray, turning to coat top. Cover and let rise in a warm place (85°), free from drafts, 45 minutes or until doubled in size. (Gently press two fingers into dough. If indentation remains, dough has risen enough.) Punch dough down; cover and let rest for 5 minutes. Divide in half; roll each dough half into a 12-inch circle on a floured surface.

Note: To freeze, follow directions for kneading dough and shape into 2 balls. Coat with cooking spray and place in freezer in a zip-top plastic bag. To use them, thaw overnight in the refrigerator. Cover and let rise in a warm place(85ยบ), free from drafts, 1 1/2 hours or until doubled in size. (Gently press two fingers into dough. If indentation remains, dough has risen enough.) Shape as instructed.

Yield: 2 (12-inch) pizza crusts:(Totals are for 1 (12-inch) Pizza Crust.)
CALORIES 847 (11% from fat); FAT 9.9g (sat 1.4g,mono 5.4g,poly 1.9g); PROTEIN 25.7g; CHOLESTEROL 0.0mg; CALCIUM 47mg; SODIUM 1764mg; FIBER 12.7g; IRON 10.2mg; CARBOHYDRATE 165g

Jen's Notes:
I always add flavor-enhancers to the dough mixture. Today, I added garlic powder and Italian Seasoning to the dry ingredients for a little extra zip.

For Jen's Pesto Sauce:

2-3 cups of fresh basil leaves
3/4 cup of pine nuts (or 1 cup of walnuts)
2-3 cloves of garlic
1/2 cup of grated Parmesan cheese
1 cup of extra virgin olive oil
lemon juice to taste (about 1 Tablespoon, more if needed)
balsamic vinegar to taste (about 1 Tablespoon, more if needed)
salt and pepper to taste
zest of 1 lemon (optional)

Place all ingredients, except for oil into the food processor. Pulse until all items are rough chopped. Take lid insert out of food processor lid and drizzle in oil until pesto becomes the proper consistency. Serve at room temperature.

Jen's Notes:
Pesto freezes really well!!!


1/2 of a red onion, sliced
1 can of sliced mushrooms; rinsed, drained, and dried with paper towels
1 jarred roasted yellow & red peppers, sliced; drained and dried with paper towels
2-3 sliced Roma tomatoes
1 bag of pre-shredded mozzarella cheese
2 cloves garlic, minced finely
olive oil to taste
balsamic vinegar to taste
salt to taste
additional pine nuts
Pecorino Romano cheese, grated finely

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

After dough has rested, turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and pat or roll into a round. Transfer crust to a lightly greased pizza pan dusted with corn meal. Spread evenly with sauce. Cover with cheese and toppings, in an even layer. Drizzle a little more olive oil, salt, and balsamic vinegar on top of pizza toppings. Scatter pine nuts and minced garlic. Bake 15-20 min. Let cool 5 minutes. Grate Pecorino Romano cheese on pizza. Cut and serve!

The Result:
This was my best pizza, hands down! This was fan-freakin'-tastic! By a happy mistake, my dough did not rise very much; BUT it ended up making a thin and crisp crust. Yum! The crust complimented this pizza perfectly, and I don't think it would have been as tasty with a bready-ier crust (I don't think bready-ier is an actual word...but I am hoping that you know what I mean.) Thankfully, I split the dough as the directions indicated, so I have the other dough ball in the freezer. I will be able to make another crispy crust pizza soon! I love it when a mistake ends up turning out better than the original plan.

The pesto was such a great idea for a sauce base, and the toppings got nice and roasty on their own. The pine nuts were perfectly toasted, too. Really, I am super-excited that this pizza turned out so good! The husband said that it was his favorite so far, as well. I ended up leaving the broccoli off as a topping (I actually went back and changed my post...in case you read this earlier and were wondering where the broccoli went). Instead, we did not have a salad and just ate the broccoli as a side dish with a little Pecorino Romano cheese sprinkled on top. I heart broccoli; especially with a smattering of cheese. This pizza is a total keeper, and I will be working it in to my normal pizza rotation. Thanks for the inspiration, Aggie!!!

1 comment:

Aggie said...

Yay!! So glad you enjoyed your "inspired" pizza! :) Thank you for the kind words...

I can't wait to make my own pesto, my basil is starting to flourish so I'll have enough soon...I bet it tasted wonderful and fresh! Your pizza looks delicious!