Pistachio-Parsley Pesto Pizza

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DSCN1818Oh, spring greenery, what a delightful sign of the times you are!  This weekend has been wrought with April showers, so I certainly hope that some may flowers will soon be making an appearance at the local markets.  As my favorite farmer’s market doesn’t open for a few weeks still, I daresay that I still have a while to wait to find out.  How shall I best fill the time until then?

Now that my mind is on the farmer’s market and all of its seasonal treasures, I can’t help but dwell on the pizza stand that is regularly stationed there.  I was treated to a delightful preview of the coming season’s delectations when the pizza stand showed up outside of a local brewery (details on that adventure are soon to come).  Needless to say, the sighting really got me jonesin’ for something savory atop a crispy crust.  Luckily for me, I unexpectedly got my pizza fix the next day with a spontaneous lunch outing to The Flying Goat (again, details soon to come).  Besides satisfying my pizza hankering, the trip to the Flying Goat also provided me with some unexpected inspiration in the form of a simple question: why haven’t I made my own pizza lately?  Unable to procure a satisfactory answer, I set forth to create a green (in senses of both color and newness), spring-timey pizza of my own.

As I mentioned before, the sandwiches we enjoyed for the first night of IronFest 2013 were nothing short of scrumptious.  It would have been a waste to simply enjoy that sandwich and move on, as if nothing has ever happened, so that sandwich served as inspiration for the present entree.  That pistachio-parsley pesto was dynamite, and, here, it will be making an encore appearance.  As if that weren’t reason enough to give this pizza a shot, it’s also got arugula and asparagus and goat cheese.  I defy you to tell me one thing that could not be improved with the addition of goat cheese.  Nothing?  That’s what I thought.  Let us proceed.

Pistachio-Parsley Pesto Pizza

Adapted from Naturally Ella

Serves 6

Note: This can easily be made gluten-free by substituting the all-purpose and whole wheat flours for gluten-free flour.  It can be made vegan by doing without the goat cheese.

assemble components

assemble components

Ingredients:

1 pizza crust, par-baked or fresh dough (see recipe below)

2 bunches Italian parsley, stems removed (about 4 cups)

1/2 cup pistachios, roasted and unsalted

1/4 cup lemon juice

1 1/2 tsp minced garlic (about 3 cloves)

1/4 cup olive oil

1/2 tsp. salt

1 1/2 cups sliced asparagus

spread the dough

spread the dough

2 cups arugula

4 oz. goat cheese, crumbled

flour or cornmeal (for the pizza stone or cookie sheet)

Equipment:

food processor

pizza stone or cookie sheet

stand mixer with paddle and dough hook attachments (if you’re making the dough)

To Make the Pesto:

smear on pesto

smear on pesto

Toss the pistachios in a food processor until finely ground, about 30 seconds.  Add the parsley and garlic, and run the food processor until the parsley is pulverized and well-combined with the pistachios, another 30 seconds or so.  Finally, add the lemon juice, olive oil, and salt, and run the food processor until everything is well-combined, about 15 seconds.  Cover and chill until ready to use.

To Assemble the Pizza:

Preheat oven to 450F.  Lightly and evenly sprinkle flour or cornmeal on the surface of the cookie sheet or pizza stone.

If using fresh pizza dough, gently spread the dough out to a 12″-diameter circle, degassing the dough as little as possible.  Next, spread the pesto evenly across the surface of the dough, leaving a

generously sprinkle toppings

generously sprinkle toppings

1″-2″ border around the edge of the dough.  Spread the arugula atop the pesto and the asparagus atop the arugula.  Finally, sprinkle the goat cheese on the top of the pizza.

Bake the pizza for 14-17 minutes, until the crust is golden brown and the cheese appears to be slightly browned.  Allow the pizza to cool for 5 minutes before cutting.  Serve fresh out of the oven, and enjoy!

Pizza Dough Ingredients:

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 cup whole wheat flour

1 package active yeast (about 2 1/2 tsp.)

1 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. sugar

1 Tbs. olive oil

3/4 cup lukewarm water

To Make the Pizza Dough:

In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine all of the dry ingredients.  With the paddle attachment, begin mixing the dry ingredients on low-speed to combine.  Slowly, add half of the water.  Next, drizzle in the olive oil.  Continue to slowly add the water.  Continue mixing with the paddle attachment until a ball forms.  Switch to the dough hook.  Using the dough hook, knead on low-speed for about five minutes.  If kneading by hand, do so for about 8-10 minutes.

Transfer the dough to a large lightly-oiled bowl.  Be sure to lightly coat the dough in oil, too.  Securely cover the bowl with plastic wrap.  Allow the dough to rise at room temperature until it doubles in size (about sixty to ninety minutes).

Dough may either be used immediately, or be wrapped in plastic wrap and stored in the refridgerator for up to 3 days.

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