Artichoke Pesto Pizza

Funny thing, I didn’t steal this recipe so much as repurpose a few of the main ingredients.

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Anyway, a few weeks ago I was experimenting with a sandwich recipe from Big Girls, Small Kitchen. (Remember that name because I’m ‘co-opted’ many of their recipes.) The sandwiches, which I thought were okay but my roommate seemed to love, called for the use of artichoke pesto and mozzarella cheese. A couple days after making those sandwiches, I realized that I needed to do something with the artichoke pesto before it went bad. Luckily at the time, I was on this crazed homemade pizza kick and had somehow managed to screw up the dough I had made. Don’t get me wrong, the dough tasted fine and everything, I just couldn’t get the yeast to stop doing its thing. I came home a day after making it to find the dough had expanded and popped the top while in the fridge. I’m no chemist or anything, but I’m pretty sure putting yeast in the fridge should stop the expansion process. So after doing a quick search, I realized that I could kill at two birds with one stone by simply making a pizza with the artichoke pesto as a spread.

Before we begin, I would like to point out that because I don’t own a food processor, I opted to simply buy the pesto. My preferred brand was purchased from Safeway and so far, I’ve managed to get three large pizzas out of one jar. If you’re interested in a homemade version of the pesto, you can use the BGSK instructions. Make sure you scroll down, its the last set of instructions on the page. Now, onto the recipe.

Ingredients

  • Herb Pizza Crust from Safeway: this usually runs be about $1.50. I have a preference for this pizza crust one part because I love the flavor and one part because I’m too lazy to actually make pizza dough anymore.
  • Artichoke Pesto: Either store bought or from BGSK.
  • 1 Red Pepper (sliced thin)
  • 1 cup Mushrooms: I have a preference for crimini
  • 1 cup fresh Spinach leaves
  • 1 Small Tomato
  • 3/4 cup Mozzarella (only if you’re using shredded, if you’re ripping it from a block use about a cup)
  • Feta Cheese

Okay, so this is a fairly quick recipe and the faster you chop things up, the faster you’ll get it into the oven. Also, consider the measurements to be recommendations only. I’ve found that I sometimes use only half a red pepper or just a handful of both the mushrooms and spinach. I’m one of those people who doesn’t like an over crowded pizza so more often than not, I actually stop putting on toppings when I feel like I can’t see enough of the crust.

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 425°F.

Spread pizza dough over a lightly oiled baking sheet. The oil ultimately doesn’t matter, but I do have a preference for olive oil. Spread the artichoke pesto over the dough. You’re going to be tasting the artichoke in every bite so I recommend a gentle touch when it comes to application, like the picture below.ImageThis next step depends on how you like your vegetables. It has been my experience that putting the cheese on first or last affects the texture of both the mushrooms and spinach. Put the cheese on first, the mushroom and spinach sort of shrink and get this dry look to it. Put it on last and the two stay moist from the absorption of the oils in the cheese. Add the red peppers, mushrooms and spinach. If you have shredded cheese, go ahead and sprinkle on as you please. If you’re using a chunk of mozzarella, just tear off little pieces of it and spread them around the pizza. Dot the pizza with the feta cheese. I’ve always felt that by itself, feta has a stronger flavor than mozzarella, so I don’t like to go heavy with it. Don’t worry about visible gaps between the chunks of cheese, the mozzarella will spread to fill them.

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Once you have the toppings on, through that bad boy into the oven and cook for 10 to 15 minutes or until the cheese is melted and the crust is whatever degree of brown you want it to be. Cut and serve.

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Thank you all for reading and enjoy.

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