Monday, April 27, 2009

Pesto Margherita!

N sulks. "why can't we be cool like the Daring Bakers?"

A: Oh we are, we just don't want to show off. N (stares unbelievingly- then decides to believe) : *hmph* I need to do something to show I'm as brilliant as any of them.

A: Let's bake a pizza?


N: Everyone does that. *wail*


A: Hey, how about a pesto pizza?


N (perks up at anything pestoey): Come! We will post it on the 27th. Just when the DB post theirs. Everyone will get tired of the sweet concoctions and come for salvation to our blog no?


A (looking away): Sure thing. Isn't there something else on the 27th?


N: Hmm... oh its Nags' first anniversary! And they love pizza! We are more thoughtful than the Daring Bakers no? I mean, we are making this for a friend, right?

A: Of course, of course. You are the nicest of 'em all. Now pizza or no pizza?


This conversation was held a couple of weeks ago after we debated whether we should join Daring Bakers or not. Quite frankly, if we joined DB, we'd spend more time cleaning the sugar syrup off the kitchen floor than really making the dessert. So, in a very forgiving spirit, we decided to let the Daring Bakers do their thing. We shall do ours. Pesto is my thing, and pizza is his thing, and together, we are the
'leering at pizza' bakers which is a far fun name than Daring Bakers, don't ya think? Also, to cover up for our selfishness, we are posting this in honour of a very dear friend of mine who has forcefully made friends with A too (she wouldn't be my friend if she didn't use force, duh!) who is celebrating her first year of her married life today on the 27th. Nags and her DH, this pizza goes out to you. Really. I mean we made it for you only. Even though our common friends decided NOT to come to my wedding in order to save their vacation leaves at work to come to yours. And all because it was held in a very hot (literally!) Kerala. Anyway, since I'm nice and all, I've forgotten all that and so, here's wishing you a happy, happy Anniversary :) Hope you have as much fun as we are having (not!) :P




We cook 'really' elaborately during the weekends. Okay, we cook elaborately everyday. But during the weekends, it is either high-risk experiments, haphazard timings for meals, some sitting in front of the oven watching the stuff inside. Some fights, some make-up time while the slow cooking dish takes its time ;)


This is one such recipe. I watched somewhere a pesto pizza being made. We'd never eaten a pesto pizza. That aside, I adore pesto. I can live on pesto if my waist wasn't giving me hints. I eat pesto with all types of bread. I decided it was time for a pesto pizza. I also love Margherita. Now, why compromise? Its not like A has a say anyway. So, that is exactly what we made! And it was so beautiful. I'm telling you ti was a beautiful dish to look at (now, this is not a sweet thing made by DB ok? So, we are different. So we are beautiful in our own way ok?). I loved that we baked it in a cookie tray and not our usual pizza stone. Take a look?





Don't you want the recipe? I can almost see you scrolling down to skip my drivel and going to the recipe. (Ah! What confidence!) :D

Ingredients

For the dough:

2 1/4 All purpose flour or Maida
1/3 cup semolina flour or Rava
3/4 cup milk
1 tbsp Olive Oil
2 tsp Active Dry yeast
2 tsp Sugar
2tsp Salt

1. Warm milk, olive oil and sugar (either in the microwave or gas). Make sure the sugar is dissolved. Add yeast and let it sit for 10 mins until it is nice and frothy.

2. In the meantime, in a large bowl, add the flours and salt. Make a well in the center.

3. Add the frothy yeast in the well and incorporate the flour slowly. Work on it until all of is incorporated. Knead well for 5- 10 mins (Think Michelle Obama arms here :P). If the dough is too sticky, go ahead and add some more flour. Coat dough with olive oil and cover the dough with moist cloth and let it rest and rise until nearly double the volume.

4. Once risen, push dough back to release air and then let it rest for 20 more mins.
Once the dough is ready, stretch it across the cookie tray which is lined with aluminium foil. Ours was - 15"/7" and 3/4" deep. You could of course use a circular pizza stone for this. Before stretching it out on the cookie tray, you can roll it into a rough rectangular shape using a rolling pin.





















Once the dough is all stretched out on the tray, poke with a fork to create air gaps.


For the Pesto:




2.5 cups spinach
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
1/4 cup Olive oil
1/3 cup roasted peanuts
1/4 cup milk
2-3 green chillies, chopped
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp tarragon

This is simple! Just blend all of this to form a thick paste/pesto. You could saute the spinach before putting it in too. We used baby spinach and didn't think we needed it. We used peanuts instead of the traditional pine nuts or any other nuts. No, we were not being inventive. Strangely, we didn't have any other nuts in the house. Apart from A, who I'd loved to throw into the blender, but well, I needed to check on the insurance thing. So, I desisted this time around.


Assembling the pizza

1/3 cup mozzarella
1/2 cup bell peppers - we used the green ones
1/3 cup onion - thinly sliced
Tomato slices - depends on how long/big your tray is and how many you want.
2 tsp oregano

On the cookie tray holding the stretched out dough, spread the pesto and sprinkle some half the mozzarella cheese and then throw in the veggies except for tomatoes. Arrange the tomatoes in rows and and throw the rest of the cheese and the oregano. Drizzle some Olive Oil on top of your creation and bake it for 25-30 mins. The cheese should be all melted and gooey and the sides of the crust should be brown. We also broiled it for a few seconds, but highly inadvisable if you are going to be jumping up and down in anticipation of the pizza, and not really looking at how much broiling is happening!


And, and, we are sending to Neha for FIC: Red and Green, an event conceptualized by the colourful Sunshinemom!

Okay, back to pesto! May I say myself, at the risk of sounding immodest that this was my idea and I'm extremely, extremely proud of this? Can you tell we didn't eat dinner that night? And that we walked for 3 miles and came back and couldn't even drink milk? Can you tell that we still slept with a smile and gooey dreams.

No? Yes? NO? Then, try this pizza and analyze your dreams. Make it with your partner and its more fun ;)

A (eating his nth slice of pizza): BTW, weren't you on a 'lower carbs' thing?

N (licking the cup that had the pesto): I can't hear when I eat. We'll talk later.

64 comments:

Parita said...

Pesto Margherita looks delicious, yummy :)

SJ said...

Thats such a hilarious post!!!!!!!! So sweet that you dedicated to Nags! This shall definitely be made!!

Cham said...

So u re sending such tempting one to Nag, such a sweet guys u are :) Drooling!

Indhu said...

hilarious... seriously... u guys crack me up :)
and love the pizza... it looks sooo colourful!

lisamichele said...

After looking at cheesecakes for a couple of hours, a slice of that gorgeous pizza would be a perfect entree to a slice of cheesecake for dessert! Perfectly executed and gorgeous!

As for the Yankees, I feel sick to my stomach. That was the most disgusting and humiliating weekend play of baseball by the Yanks. It seems the Sox continue to do this to us year after year since '04. I'm convinced they KNOW what pitch is coming when they need to catch up, if you get my drift - it only happens at Fenway! ARGH, so angry!!

Soma said...

What a FANTASTIC idea!! You guys are a great team, & atleast you dared to Dream to join the Daring Bakers:-)

Mahimaa's kitchen said...

where do u live girl? i need your address... will stop by to taste this lovely lovely pizza...looks great and 1000 times better than store bought stuff.

Superchef said...

mmm..delicious!! and that post totally cracked me up!! :D

Bianca said...

Haha! I feel that way about Daring Bakers sometimes too! I'd like to join, but I know I'd be scrubbing flour from the cracks of my countertops for months.

I'll have to try your pesto recipe with vegan parm. Yum!

Asha said...

LOL! Low carb , no carb went out of the window already, huh?

Looks yum, I would eat 2 slices as well, love Pesto. Bee said she made my Tomato Kurma and topped the Pizza too, great ideas here.

Looks good. You got married in Kerala? Nags didn't come? Okay, now you are a saint for cooking this one for her wedding anniversary!;D

Hannah said...

Ha, looks like a very tasty solution- You don't need to be a Daring Baker to actually bake like one! Now I'm seriously craving pizza though. ;)

Lisa said...

Lovely post! I too tend to experiment more in the kitchen when I have a day off. This looks just gorgeous and even though I had pizza over the weekend, I wish I could try a few slices of this!

Priya Sriram said...

I adore the different dishes from your kitchen!! Looks lovely! Great work! :)

Uma said...

LOL! What a hilarious post! And pesto pizza looks great, colorful, yummy, mouth-watering, gorgeous, etc etc. Amazing blend of colors. Such a nice gesture to send this to Nags :)

Pooja said...

Yummy post...Great work..

Sanghi said...

Wow! Spectacular clicks and detailings..! Creamy and colourful..! Yummy:) Do check my blog for FIL season 2 details.!

Nags said...

You guys are the sweetest! Really!! :)

- Nags and TH who happily accept the pizza as a very gift!

Jaime said...

i adore pesto and fresh tomatoes on pizza!

Vibaas said...

looks yummm! gr8 entry for fic- red n green. u r making me guilty for sending something that's not qualified as a recipe :D

aTxVegn said...

I am totally stealing your idea to put green chilis in pesto - awesome!

Now about us DB'ers.... You should join! Did you know there is now *regular* cooking too, not just baking?

Prathibha said...

Wow thats a great combo dear..We lov pesto n pesto on pizza is a amazing combination...Nice entry..

Varsha Vipins said...

haa..they are screaming yummmmm..!!!...pass me some pls..:P..n this is one cool post..loved it..:)

sra said...

Nice post, oozing pique, friendship and cheese all at once. :-D Love the pizza pix.

Sushma said...

book marked it right away :)
lovely & cheers to both of you..

Arch said...

Wonderful looking pizza, never had a pesto pizza, must try this, looks too awesome to pass...

aquadaze said...

what a lovely read this was...and the pizza looks yum!

Veggie Food Journal said...

It was fun to read the story behind pesto pizza. The pizza looks really yum. can I make it now...NO (I have to go and buy yeast) but i'm surely gonna order pizza tonite.

Shama Nagarajan said...

delicious pizza...lovely post

Deeba @Passionate About Baking said...

You are hilarious...ha ha! loved the pesto pizza...& the story. Happy anniv to Nags!!

Arch said...

N, I made this hours after reading your post and it turned out so awesome...loved the pesto in it, i added walnuts instead of peanuts :)

Almost Vegetarian said...

I scrolled, I scrolled, I had to see how you made this.

I love food like this - as much a treat for the tummy as it is for the eyes.

And you can't go wrong with a pizza.

Cheers!

Arundathi said...

Too funny!! :) Yup, pizza any day! and pesto? even better! Try it with just a brushing of pesto topped with olives and/or capers and some parmesan. Its fabulous!

rahin said...

nice looking pizza ....even funnier write up :D

ARUNA said...

that's such a hilarious post!!!! Pizza looks gorgeous!!!

Kamana said...

pesto pizza! why didnt i think of it. i adore them both, so combining them as yu have seems quite obvious now! must try.

Laavanya said...

I perk up at all things pestoey too and my 3 yr old is quite the fan as well. I love pesto pizza and top it with roasted veggies.. the tomato slice topping looks awesome.

Vani said...

Oooh...yum!!!! I love pesto on anything too and had pesto pizza from my office cafeteria once. It didn't look nearly as good as this one!

Deepa Hari said...

absolutely delicious...feel like having a bite.

Sandeepa said...

Yeah really aren't you :D

What a FUN READ. Who needs Daring Bakers when we have you ?

Juliana said...

Pesto in pizza...looks really good. Have to try it! Maybe next time I have my niece and nephew around...second thought, should try sooner.

madcapcupcake said...

Mmmmmm, pizza.

AnuSriram said...

Sounds delicious! Looks inviting!

Red Chillies said...

The post was hilarious. This one "we'd spend more time cleaning the sugar syrup off the kitchen floor than really making the dessert" had me ROFL :-). Who needs DB after all. You guys are really sweet.
Love the pizza.

DEESHA said...

that was hilarious .. the pizza looks really really good, I must say

Sia said...

how chweet of u both :) would u make same pizza for my anni too? ;)
anyways, i like the idea of pesto used so liberally in pizza. bookmarked and thanks for the recipe.

Bhawna said...

Created very nice humour. Congratulations guys, u have, opps had one good-looking pizza. Yum yum Using pesto is a great idea.

Pavithra said...

Wow first time here thats Gorgeous ,yummy looking nice clicks too

bee said...

pesto is our topping of choice for pizza over tomato sauce, 'cos the pesto has olive oil and prevents the base from getting all soggy.

this looks fantastic.

Sireesha said...

Droolyfying and tempting Pizza...

Donna said...

How did you know I was droolng.. what a masterpiece, highly impressive, I cant begin to imagine how delicious this was..

Shreya said...

What a delightful post! I love this pesto pizza and the name itself is so catchy. Grt entry to the red and green, and I wish I could bake:-( so that I can eat this...

Ingrid said...

Except for the onions and tomatoes it looks fantastic. Great idea! I really like pesto and love white pizza.

Hey "N"! You are toooooooo funny! Hee, hee can't hear while you eat. I gotta use that one.
~ingrid

Btw, yes, I know my beloved Yankees have been struggling. Through thick or thin.

Sands said...

This looks so yummm! Pesto is my all time favorite. Will have to ask the OH to try it out for me ;)

Chitra said...

looks fantastic and gorgeous pics:)

Erin said...

Creative choice! Way to buck the trends. Looks delicious.

Sunshinemom said...

What a lovely pizza! Ha ha, you are a daring baker, dear:))

Anita said...

that pizza looks simple scrumptious! Makes me want a piece right now...That pesto 'sauce' must make aninteresting layer - will have to try it!

Aparna said...

That's a gorgeous looking pizza. Marghrita has always been my favourite. Lucky Nags, and lucky you (you guys got to eat this!).

And hey, why are you taking pot shots at the DBs? I know we make sickly sweet and fattening stuff most of the time, but most of us are pretty thoughtful and decent sorts. ;)

Btw, with this post, I think you just made the DB grade!

Aparna said...

Me again! What level of friendship does one have to attain to have you bake this for me? :D

ThePurpleFoodie said...

Pesto with spinach and peanuts. I love this twist to it. I feel like baking a pizza now but I'd so love to get that crust with a baking stone.

A_and_N said...

A will bake anything for any of you :D coz he's mad, but will expect stuff in return! ;)

Ladies, thanks so so much for the overwhelming comments. I know this dish is worth it. Do try it!

notyet100 said...

droolin here,..;-)

Shyam said...

I always feel annoyed when I come across a food blog with great writing and good photos that everybody else but me seems to know about. It's like - why didnt someone TELL me?

Anyway... illogic apart, love your writing (DEFINITELY more important than the recipes *g*), and your recipes are just the cherries on top of the icing on the cake (the cake and the icing being your writing - if you were wondering)! :)

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