Pizza Margherita and Pizza with Chive Pesto

pizza and a glass of rosé

There is no better way to celebrate sunny weekend afternoons than with homemade pizzas, a bottle of rosé, and of course, good company. We could be at a French Riviera café sipping this wine for lunch, but I’m very happy here in my BC garden enjoying the moment; the sun, good food, sincere friends, and nature.  Our furry animals occasionally sneak into my vegetable patch and graze on veggies, but I usually don’t mind and let them enjoy the moment.

pizza and rosé

Appreciating simple things around us is very precious. Gardening gives me this opportunity; touching the soil, feeling the energy of plants, smelling the herbs, tasting the food, hearing the birds, walking with bare feet on the warm grass, feeding and sharing the food I grow and observing all this brings me back to the basics, keeps me in balance and restores my mind and soul.

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Pizza Margherita and Pizza with Chive Pesto

The key to successfully making this pizza is to use a heavy cast iron skillet plus a broiler in the oven to recreate a wood oven environment. Wood ovens feature high heat to help pop the dough up and maintain its crispness. You must also possess the patience to repeat the same process 8 times, unless of course you own an extra large skillet.

Makes 8 X 8 inch pizzas (I use Le Creuset enameled cast iron 9-inch skillet)

Pizza dough

500g unbleached white flour
6g dry yeast
10g salt
40g olive oil
300ml water

Mix all the ingredients in a large bowl for 5 minutes, and shape into a ball. Oil the ball all around and let rise in a warm place till doubled in size.

Divide the dough in 8 pieces, place on a baking sheet and cover with a piece of saran wrap or a floured tea towel to avoid getting the dough dry. Let rise for about 2 more hours or till the dough nicely rises to form a soft textured ball. Meanwhile, make the tomato sauce and the chive pesto.

Pizza Margherita

About 1½ lb fresh plum tomatoes
Or 2 cans 400ml whole plum tomatoes (remove the juice and save it for another use)
Salt and freshly ground pepper
A big handful of fresh basil
250g fresh mozzarella cheese, divided in 8 pieces (use 4 pieces and save the other half for the chive pesto pizza)
Olive oil

Lightly puree the tomatoes in a blender and transfer to a saucepan. Set over medium heat and reduce to half. Adjust with salt and freshly ground pepper to taste.

Pizza with chive pesto

1 cup chives and chive flowers, chopped coarsely
3 garlic cloves
½ cup pine nuts
½ cup Pecorino Romano cheese, grated
½ Grana Padano cheese, grated
¼ cup olive oil
¼ teaspoon salt or more to your taste
Freshly ground pepper

Lightly toast the pine nuts and let cool. Throw the chives, flowers, garlic, pine nuts and cheese into a food processor. Add the olive oil in a constant stream while pulsing the mixture. Adjust with salt and pepper. If you have extras, you can freeze in an airtight container.

Assembling pizzas

Place a cast iron skillet over medium high heat and oil it. At the same time, turn the broiler on 500F.

Stretch one of the 8 dough pieces into an 8-inch circle while warming up the skillet. Transfer the stretched dough to the skillet, set a timer for 2 minutes and start assembling the pizza in it. Spread the tomato sauce, scatter the basil leaves over the sauce and break one of the 8 mozzarella pieces into chunks on top. Drizzle some olive oil over it. Add salt and pepper to taste. When the timer goes off, you should be about done assembling. Transfer the skillet into the top rack of the oven and broil for 1 minute. Then turn the skillet sideways by 180 degrees, and broil for another minute so that the pizza is evenly cooked. Repeat for the other three dough pieces. For the pizza with chive pesto, the same goes. Simply spread the pesto on a stretched pizza and scatter one of the fresh mozzarella pieces on top. No oil needed since the pesto contains a lot of oil. Add salt and pepper. Repeat for the rest. Serve immediately with a bottle of rosé.

 

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18. May 2012 by Emi Uchida
Categories: Appetizer, Baked Goods, Garden, Main Course, Pizza, Recipe, Vegetarian | Tags: , , , , , , , | 4 comments

Comments (4)

  1. What a beautiful post! Your garden is stunning! I feel the same way when I am in my garden – so peaceful and connected to the simply beauty of life.
    And Rose and homemade pizzas – those aren’t too bad either;)
    Enjoy the week,
    E

    • Thank you Erin. I’m always pleased to find out that someone shares the same appreciation toward gardens. Because gardens give us so much more than just food!

  2. Mmm, rose in the backyard breeze–my favorite way to spend a summer day. 🙂 And I’m intrigued by that chive pesto—sounds amazing!

    • Eileen, this is one of ways to utilize the abundant chives in your garden! Or you could spread on thinly sliced and toasted baguette as a quick snack too!

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