The Hand Off: Grilled Veggies, Goat Cheese n’ Pesto Pizza
It’s all about the goat cheese. At first glance of Sarah’s portabella and goat cheese sandwiches I knew what I had to do. A fail-proof ingredient, goat cheese will go with anything! This week’s recipe was driven less by a boundless imagination and the freedom of time to create but more by the constraints of my tight schedule. I did manage a trip to the Santee Farmers Market, a smaller venue in San Diego County, but still supplied me fresh organic heirloom tomatoes and some beautiful squash blossoms to decorate this week’s pizza. Sadly, there was no goat cheese in sight, so I picked up a log from my local Trader Joe’s. The search for San Diego goat cheese continues…
This week was a reminder for me how nice it is to have my pantry basics stocked for these busy days of summer. Having flour and yeast on hand really came into play. If not something local or organic, I choose to keep stocked King Arthur whole wheat flour. I like this brand because it is never bleached, never bromated, milled from 100% US grown wheat, employee owned and committed to quality.
Ah yes pizza, to many it is the ultimate fallback when you get home late, there “seems” to be nothing in the fridge and everyone is hungry…. “let’s order a pizza”. Well, with a little forethought and a recruitment of hungry soldiers you can have a homemade pizza in the same amount of time it would take you to order and have it delivered. Not to mention healthier, cheaper and always more fun!
Grilled Veggies, Goat Cheese n’ Pesto Pizza
Prep time: 1 to 2 hours (depending on dough prep)
Cook time: 25 minutes
Total time: 2 hours and 25 minutes
- 3 cups flour
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 cup water
- 2 teaspoons yeast
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 3 cups fresh basil leaves
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 3 tablespoons pine nuts or walnuts
- 1/2 cup parmigiano-reggiano
- 3 cloves garlic
- 1 to 2 heirloom tomatoes
- 1 medium zucchini or other squash
- 2 small to medium sweet onions
- 7 to 10 squash blossoms (stems removed)
- 12-ounce goat cheese log
- 3 cloves garlic
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon salt
- Begin by making your dough. You may also prepare a night before or several weeks in advance; storing in the freezer for up to 1 month. Mix flour, yeast and salt in a large bowl and mix. Add water slowly while mixing. This can also be mixed in a food processor if preferred. Add olive oil once water and dry mix is partially blended and mix in. Cover with an towel and let sit for 1 hour-until doubled in size.
- Prepare pesto sauce in a food processor. Remove steams from fresh basil leaves and coarsely chop or tear into smaller pieces. Coarsely chop garlic and cheese. Add all ingredients to processor and blend until smooth, adding more olive oil to reach desired consistency. Set aside.
- Thinly slice tomato, zucchini, and onion. Set tomatoes aside. In a medium sized bowl add squash blossoms, onions, zucchini and coarsely chopped garlic, mix with olive oil and salt. Spread mixture on a grill basket and grill for 15-20 min, turning to avoid burning. My also bake veggies in oven if preferred.
- Preheat oven to 400 degree. Once dough has doubled in sized move to a floured surface and kneed dough adding flour to gain handling. Roll out into circular shape and move to a 16 inch pizza stone or aerated metal pizza pan.
- Spread pesto sauce, add tomatoes, and grilled veggies.
- Chop chilled goat cheese into small pieces sprinkle over veggies.
- Bake for 10 min
- Remove from oven, let cool for 7-10 min. Enjoy!
Pizza is yet another versatile creation that really can take direction from whatever your refrigerator is telling you to get rid of. I invite you to get creative in your next pizza making venture and share with us your masterpiece. I have seen breakfast pizza with ham and eggs, more gourmet mixtures of figs, white beans and fine sausages, and I have even participated in eating a Nutella pizza at one of my old favorite local eateries in Princeton NJ Teresa Caffe. Pizza is a great summer-time food, it can be helpful to keep those little hands of hungry munchkins busy, who are home on summer break or can make a great party centerpiece for adults to invite their guests to bring their desired topping and build a feast together. It is also a great leftover, for those hot summer days when the last thing you want to do is cook. Bust out a piece of cold left over pizza- YUM! Cold pizza the day after always seems to taste just a little better.