Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Summer Vegetable + Pesto Pizza

I’m en route to Wisconsin right now for the Fourth of July and let’s just say that I get bored very quickly on airplanes. I fanaticize about falling asleep the moment the plane takes off and waking when the wheels touch down again. You know, the person next to you, in my case – my husband, who is asleep the moment they sit down in their chair? Then there’s the girl who stretches in her chair, walks up and down the aisle, eats all her plane snacks and has all her magazines read within the first hour on a flight that is four hours long. Yes, that girl is me! As much as I believe in savoring each moment and living in the present, I don’t necessarily enjoy flying. I love the idea of getting from place to place quickly and adventures in new parts of the world; however, I don’t like breathing the same stale air as everyone else and being confined to a chair that is one foot by one foot. Perhaps, my 5’10 frame is just too large for a coach seat :)

Today, I’ll make the best of traveling and use my time in the air in the most efficient way I can – I will blog!

I adore spring and summer vegetables! Not only for the incredibly diverse assortment but also for the rainbow of color. With each new season I am again reminded of the beauty of the earth’s bounty and how fortunate we are to have access to fresh, organic and beautiful food! A few of my favorites for the spring and summer are asparagus, English peas and pea shoots.

This recipe takes a twist on an American classic, pizza, and slaps you in the face with something unique, light and lust-worthy. Use produce and herbs from your own backyard for even more love!

*Note, I used whole-wheat pizza dough from Whole Foods but you could also use this gluten-free crust recipe.

Whole-wheat pizza dough
2-3 cups of fresh basil (depending how much you pack it in)
1/3 cup of extra virgin olive oil (plus an extra tablespoon)
Zest and juice from one lemon
3 large cloves of garlic
¼ cup of pine nuts (or walnuts, almonds, etc.)
1 bunch of asparagus, cut in 1” pieces
1 cup of fresh English peas
1 large fennel bulb, thinly sliced (green tops for garnish)
Pea shoots (optional)
Goats milk ricotta cheese (optional)
Himalayan pink salt (or sea salt)

Preheat oven 400°F or according to dough package.

Heat one tablespoon of EVOO over low heat. Add fennel slices and sauté for 3-4 minutes. Pour ¼ cup of water or vegetable stock in to the pan and add the English peas and asparagus bites. Cover and cook for 4-5 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.

To make the pesto sauce, add the basil, garlic, pine nuts, lemon zest, lemon juice and 1 teaspoon of salt to a food processor. Start the food processor and slowly add the olive oil a little at a time. Continue to process until you have the desired pesto consistency.

Spoon and smear the pesto on the pizza crust. Using a slotted spoon, so any excess liquid drains out, top with fennel, asparagus and peas. Add small dollops of ricotta cheese (optional) on top. Bake for 20-30 minutes, or until crust is cooked through.

Garnish with fennel greens and raw pea shoots. Enjoy the taste of summer!

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