Sunday, August 16, 2009

Pesto and Pizza

Sometimes I wonder how I ever got a long in the kitchen without a food processor. A couple of years ago I asked for a food processor for Christmas because I wanted to try out Seth's favorite cookie recipe. My parents bought me an 11-cup Cuisinart model, and it came in a big box.

Having never used one before, it was a bit intimidating just looking at the box. I actually ended up buying a mini version from Costco and took that out for a spin before the 11-cup even came out of the wrapping. First I minced garlic, jalapenos or onions in the mini, but then I wanted to have a go at pesto. That meant I needed to try out the bigger model. Now thanks to pesto, I regularly use my 11-cup food processor; and this weekend, things got interesting.

On Friday night I made pesto using our basil from the backyard. We recently decided to have a go at growing our own basil, and since the plant is doing so well, I was able to get the two cups of leaves needed. I always use Giada de Laurentiis' recipe from Everyday Italian. The basil may have been a bit too fresh though--the pesto was a bright green this time, and when I use a basil bunch from the market, the pesto is normally a darker green and more flavorful.

Then on Sunday I tried making my own pizza dough so that we could use up some of the leftover pesto. This was the first time I have ever made pizza dough in my food processor, and pretty much my first time making pizza dough (I don't think I was ever old enough to run the dough machine when I worked at Little Caesar's in high school). This was quite the messy project between the sticky dough and all the flour, but definitely worth it. Normally I use Boboli or Trader Joe's pizza dough, but last weekend I realized that it was time to try making my own. Seth and I ate pizza at a friend's place and they used dough they had made; homemade was clearly better.

The recipe for the pizza dough comes from the American's Test Kitchen Family Cookbook, and it makes enough dough to make three 12-inch pizzas. I did end up making three pizzas; two used pizza sauce and one used pesto. The two with pizza sauce were topped with either pepperoni and salami or pepperoni, green pepper and heirloom tomatoes. The pesto pizza had heirloom tomatoes and goat cheese as toppings. I opted for rectangular shape pizzas (I need more practice rolling the dough out), and I used cookie sheets, not a baking stone. I do know that as long as time permits, from now on, it's homemade pizza dough for us.

Pepperoni and salami pizza

My "supreme-ish" pepperoni, green pepper and heirloom tomato pizza

Pesto, heirloom tomato and goat cheese pizza

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