Friday, May 6, 2011

Potato Pizza with Hazelnut-Basil Pesto

Today my boss was asking me if I had any vegan pizza ideas for a catering order. As I rambled off this idea I thought it sounded good enough to make tonight for dinner.
I love to marinate vegetables first before baking them on pizza to get an extra punch of flavor and this marinade is quick and adds a bright orange bite.
I actually put the pesto on the pizza four minutes before it was done cooking. My husband liked the taste of the hot pesto on the pizza but I preferred it uncooked and dolloped on after wards. Try both to see what you like best!

Citrus marinated potatoes, artichokes and bright heirloom tomatoes baked on a crisp whole wheat crust and topped with a pesto of hazelnuts and fresh basil.

Hazelnut-Basil Pesto
2 cups loosely packed fresh basil leaves
1/4 cup loosely packed fresh parsley leaves
1 cup toasted hazelnuts
1 tsp orange zest
salt and pepper
1/4-1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

In a food processor, combine the basil, parsley, hazelnuts, orange zest and salt and pepper to taste. Pulse until chunky. While the motor is running, drizzle in oil until desired consistency. This recipe makes a lot more then you need for the pizza. I like to use it for other things as well as freeze it for later use.

Traditional Pizza Sauce
2 tbl extra virgin olive oil
1 small yellow onion, small dice
salt and pepper
1 tsp organic sugar
pinch of red pepper flakes
2 garlic cloves, minced
4 fresh basil leaves, whole
1-28oz can crushed tomato sauce

Saute the onions in a small sauce pot with oil and 1/2 tsp salt until soft and fragrant, 5 minutes. Add the pepper, sugar, red pepper flakes and garlic and toast 2 minutes more. Add the basil and tomato sauce and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, cover and cook for 15 minutes. Remove the basil leaves. Season with more salt and pepper to taste. From here you can transfer to a blender if you want smooth sauce, or keep it slightly chunky.

Potato Pizza
2 large yukon gold potatoes
1-15oz can quartered artichoke hearts, drained and rinsed
2 small heirloom tomatoes, thinly sliced
juice of one orange
1 tsp orange zest
1 tsp red pepper flakes
salt and pepper
3 tbl minced fresh parsley, divided
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
1 head garlic
fresh whole wheat pizza dough

Bring the potatoes to a boil in a large pot of salted water and boil until just tender but not completely done. Drain and slice thinly. While hot, combine the potato slices with the artichoke hearts, heirloom slices, orange juice and zest, red pepper flakes, salt, pepper, 2 tbl fresh parsley and oil. Toss to coat and let marinate for 1 hour.
Preheat the oven to 450.
Cut a thin layer off the bottom of the garlic bulb, keeping the core in tact and drizzle with 1 tbl olive oil. Wrap up in a foil pouch and roast for 45 minutes until soft and sweet. Keep the oven on 450.
Remove the pizza dough from the refrigerator and sit on the counter to take the chill off for 10 minutes. Roll out into a small sized round, or use your hands to press out and let sit for 10 minutes. Roll out thinner into a medium sized crust and let rest.
Place a pizza stone or baking sheet in the oven to heat up for 5 minutes.
Remove the pizza stone and place the dough on top. Spread a layer of marinara sauce on the bottom and top with marinated vegetables and roasted garlic. Drizzle the crust with a little bit of olive oil and bake for 12-15 minutes, rotating after every 4 minutes to ensure even cooking. Remove the pizza from the oven and garnish with heaps of pesto and remaining fresh parsley.

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