15 May 2012

Eats: focaccia pizza with pesto, artichokes, and goat cheese

Oh, you sweet readers. Thank you so much for all the virtual high-fives over the sale of our home, both Friday and yesterday! I admit that I’m reluctant to celebrate too heartily until the deal is officially done, due to my foolish and yet stubbornly persistent superstitious/pessimistic nature. Unfortunately, of course, we won’t know if the deal is officially done until closing day, when all our worldly possessions are packed into a moving truck and we are temporarily homeless for a few hours until we arrive in St. Louis. And by then I’ll have something entirely new to be anxious about, because lady you are impossible.

Today, for instance, is our home inspection, so I’ll be spending the morning at Panera (free internet, what whaaat) chewing my fingernails to nubs when not sipping my overpriced coffee, convinced that there are eleventy billion problems that the inspector will find and then write “YOU SHALL NOT PASS” on the fancy report and the deal will fall through and we will be poor and I will regret spending that extra money on the overpriced coffee and I'm sure living out of a cardboard box will come about, somehow.

How’s about we temper the anxiety with pizza? Mmm. Pizza makes everything better.

I’ve had this recipe from Budget Bytes in the back of my mind since I spotted it last year, but I didn’t get around to pinning it until recently. Once I finally did pin it for easy reference, it was immediately re-pinned at lightning speed – nearly fifty pins in a few minutes! That right there should tell you how good this pizza is going to be. And, bonus! It’s vegetarian.

You begin with the no-knead focaccia that I’ve featured before, also originally from Budget Bytes and re-purposed into bruschetta here. I made a half-recipe, with just two cups of flour and one cup of water, plus yeast and salt. After letting it rise for about eight hours, I stretched it out into a thin-crust pizza base:

And then I should have brushed the edges with olive oil and popped it in a preheated 425-degree oven for about seven minutes. I usually do this with other pizza crusts to make sure that the crust is totally cooked through, because nothing ruins a pizza more than a crust that’s not done all the way through. And rather than trust my instincts, I followed the directions... which meant our crust was not done all the way through. That is what I get for following directions.

So, do a little pre-baking! Then continue with these tasty ingredients:

That’s pre-made pesto – go on, make your own if you’re a superstar unlike me – and some goat cheese leftover from a party I hosted recently. I used half the carton of pesto and a quarter of that goat cheese (about an ounce) for this pizza:

(Cut me some slack with the photography, please... I’m just now getting the courage to shoot in manual mode 100% of the time and geez louise I suddenly can’t focus anymore.)

Then I cut up half a can of artichokes and sliced one Roma tomato to add to our tasty pizza:

And finally I topped the whole delicious shebang with MOAR CHEESE:

I went with several handfuls of mozzarella, but parmesan would also be tasty!

Now. If you pre-baked your crust a bit, you should only need to stick this back in the oven for eight to ten minutes, tops. If you are instead like me and failed to see the inevitable catastrophe that would come from not pre-baking your crust, then you can stick it in the oven for fifteen minutes, until the cheese is almost burnt and the crust is nooooot quite done:

Ehh, whatever. Pesto and goat cheese are delicious even on an underdone crust!

This is a delicious summer pizza perfect for whatever night happens to be pizza night at your place, but it could make a tasty appetizer/finger food for any upcoming party (just cut it into smaller pieces). Also, if you happen to live near a Mellow Mushroom, and if you happen to love the Kosmic Karma, you are also going to love this pizza. It’s not identical – theirs has spinach and no artichokes, they use feta while this uses goat cheese – but it’s deliciously reminiscent. Because the Kosmic Karma is our favorite pick from Mellow Mushroom, I’m so glad that we have enough ingredients to make another one of these soon!

With a crispy crust and unburnt cheese... next time. Enjoy!


Rachel said...

The pizza sounds great, but something about goat cheese makes me think of long, stringy gray hairs...Perhaps this is just the thing to make me get over that!

If by some unusual chance you do have to live in a cardboard box, you already have plenty of them, and I'm positive you could make it look beautiful and stylish! By the time you're done with that cardboard box, everyone would be asking to live in one.

Sarah said...

Oh Rachel, no no no! Goat cheese is delicious! It's both creamy and crumbly, just a bit tangy and a bit sweet, like fancy cream cheese. It is pricey, but our Kroger sells little 2 oz. bits of goat cheese for just a few dollars so you can try it!

And I appreciate the confidence in my cardboard-box decorating skills! Even if everything goes right, I think the new apartment is going to be cardboard-box-themed for a little while ;)