It was thanks to our friends Amy and Russell that we first experienced how amazing homemade pizza could be (link: Pizza Perfected). So of course it was only fitting that they once again led us to a pizza revelation. One night, when we all went out together for pizza and beers, we decided to order a couple of pizzas. The special that night was on any combination of four toppings, and Jan ordered a combination of meat and veggies (very standard supreme). For her order, Amy told the waiter: pesto sauce (doesn’t count as a topping), tomatoes, spinach, grilled chicken, feta cheese, and artichoke hearts (added that as an extra topping).
Never being a fan of “new age” pizzas (sorry, CPK and any fans of barbecue chicken, mushroom alfredo, and/or brussell sprouts and lemon pizza), I wasn’t sure what to expect, but as always, kept an open mind.
Well, we all kept coming back for more pieces of the pesto pizza, and poor Jan’s pizza was keeping all its slices! It was a superb combination of toppings—familiar enough to still feel like “pizza,” but fresh, different, and delicious!
Since we usually make pizza at home about every other week, the first chance we got, we tried making the pizza ourselves. Jan kept me in mind when making the pesto sauce, mixing about half basil leaves with half spinach leaves because I often find pesto sauce to be too strong and “basily.”
We also added slices of tomato, fresh mozzarella and grilled chicken. We then added artichoke hearts and feta cheese. We’ve alternated between making the final topping crumbled bacon or prosciutto, depending on what we have in the refrigerator, and I still can’t decide which pork product is better. In either case, it’s my new favorite pizza.
We buy the refrigerated pizza dough (Vons has the best dough we’ve tried out of Vons, Trader Joe’s, and Fresh and Easy), add the sauce, and then the toppings. The sauce recipe follows.
Recipe: Spinach-Basil Pesto Sauce
- 3 ounces (approximately 2 cups) fresh spinach leaves
- 1.5 ounces (approximately 1 cup) fresh basil leaves
- 2 cloves garlic
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- 1 ½ tablespoons Parmesan cheese
- 1 fluid ounce extra virgin olive oil
- In a food processor, pulse to combine the first six ingredients.
- Add in olive oil and pulse until combined.
- Spread over rolled-out pizza dough and cover with toppings before baking.
Makes enough to cover one approximately 18” diameter thin crust pizza.