Monday, August 29, 2011

Artichoke & Tomato Pesto Pizza

That amazing pesto I made tonight found its way onto a pizza. It was topped off with some simple ingredients that I had around - tomato, artichokes, mozzarella and feta. Give yourself enough time to make the dough from scratch, top with fresh ingredients and you'll have a delicious meatless meal.

  • 1/2 recipe for dough (I used Annie's Eats dough recipe)
  • Cornmeal for dusting
  • 1/2 cup prepared pesto
  • 1 tomato, sliced thinly
  • 1/2 cup artichoke hearts, rough chopped
  • 1/2 to 1 cup mozzarella cheese
  • 1/8 cup feta

  1. Heat pizza stone in oven to 500 degrees. Allow the oven to heat at 500 for 30 minutes or more.
  2. Roll or toss dough out to form a 12-14 inch pizza. Transfer to a pizza peal that's covered with thin layer of cornmeal. Top pizza with pesto, tomato, artichoke hearts, mozzarella and feta
  3. Carefully transfer pizza to heated pizza stone and cook for 15-20 minutes, until crust is cooked through and cheese is browned and bubbly.
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Homemade Pesto

This is delicious. This is exactly why you should plant basil every summer. This is what you should slather on pizza, stir into hot pasta, and dip your bread and tomatoes in. This is what you should make right now.

It's ridiculous to think about how long it takes to make this - about 5 minutes - and the amazing payoff at the end. Easily one of the most rewarding things I've ever made.

Don't skimp on the ingredients. Use fresh basil you picked yourself. Olive oil that is so good you'd eat it straight off a spoon if you had to. Fresh pine nuts - not the 3-year old jar in the back corner of your fridge. And don't forget the cheese. Use the parmesan cheese you grate yourself. A parmesan cheese that, when you do grate it yourself, you have to fight the urge to stuff it all into your mouth before you use it...

  • 2 cups packed basil
  • 2 cloves peeled garlic
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts
  • 2/3 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese, grated
  • salt (healthy pinch)

  1. Wash and dry your basil. Toss into a food processor along with pine nuts and garlic. Pulse 3 times.
  2. With blade running, add in olive oil. With the blade off, add half the cheese and salt. Pulse a couple times to combine. Remove from food processor and stir in remaining cheese.
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Monday, August 1, 2011

Artichoke and Tomato "Pantry" Pasta

I'm heading out of town soon so I didn't want to stock up on loads of groceries only to have them spoil. So, scrounging around in my pantry tonight for dinner meant I was going to have pasta! This is why it's always good to stock up on canned tomatoes, artichokes and things like that. This is super easy, and can be easily tweaked for your tastes. The key for this recipe, and any pasta recipe, is the technique for finishing the noodles in the sauce. Rule number one is not to overcook beyond al dente. Rule number two is to save some of that starchy pasta water to add to your sauce so that when you finish the noodles in the sauce pan (which, by the way, is rule number three - finish the noodles IN the sauce) the starchiness of the water you've added to the sauce will coat and stick to the noodles. Do this and all your homemade pasta sauces will be phenomenal.

  • 8 oz spaghetti
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup minced onion or 1 minced shallot
  • 1 can fire roasted diced tomatoes
  • 1 can quartered artichoke hearts, rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 tsp of red pepper flakes
  • 1 chicken bouillon cube
  • 1/3 to 1 cup of reserved pasta water
  • 2 Tbs heavy cream
  • Parmesan cheese

  1. Heat a pot of salted water to a boil, cook noodles until al dente.
  2. In a saucepan heat olive oil to medium-high heat. Add onion and cook until transluscent. Add garlic and red pepper flakes and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add tomatoes and drained artichokes to the pan and saute for 5-10 minutes.
  3. Crush chicken bouillon cube and add to sauce. As your noodles finish cooking, begin adding pasta water to the tomato sauce starting out with about a 1/3 of a cup, adding enough for as thin or as thick of a sauce as you want. If you add a little more pasta water than you want, cook the sauce on high heat uncovered to evaporate some of the water.
  4. When the pasta is al dente, drain and immediately add to the sauce pan. Add cream and saute for 2-3 minutes on medium-high heat tossing the sauce and noodles together to coat.
  5. Serve with fresh grated Parmesan cheese.
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