My garden is really looking good right now. We have had plenty of rain and mild weather. The basil is just getting started and cilantro is getting good size. I always over plant my basil so that I can use the “thinnings” for making my first batches of basil pesto.
My husband loves my basil because I make a grilled basil pesto pizza with it. I made our first pesto dinner earlier this week with the thinnings. He decided that I should make the grilled pizza tonight. I had to tell him that I don’t have enough basil growth to make it……yet.
I must confess that when he first asked I said “sure”. Then later, when I was at work, I realized that I couldn’t, so I texted him why and went back to work. Several hours pass and I get a text from him saying “are you mad at me, what did I do wrong, just tell me and I’ll fix it!”
Now you have to understand that his idea of texting is “call me” or “OK”…..you get the idea. This one kinda floored me! I had no idea what he was talking about so I called him, and as the phone was ringing it dawned on me. He answered and I said “is this about the pizza?” He started laughing. So I knew I wanted to find a way to make a grilled pizza he would like.
I have plenty of cilantro and sun-dried tomatoes, so an idea was born. A slight twist on your average SD tom pesto, but a very nice twist it turned out to be. Hazel nuts (filberts), balsamic vinegar, and asiago cheese with garlic and olive oil fill out the flavors for the pesto. Topped with red onion, sweet peppers, kalamata olives, an artisan salami, and crumbled feta. He took one bite and I knew I had scored!
“So do you withdraw your complaint?” I asked. He smirked…….. “I took it back as soon as you said you were going to make a sun-dried tomato pesto for it.”
Makes 2 pizzas
1 cup sun-dried tomatoes (I use a dry pack)
2/3 cup fresh cilantro
1/3 cup hazel nuts (filberts)
3 cloves garlic, peeled and trimmed
2 Tbs balsamic vinegar
1 tsp kosher salt
fresh ground black pepper
1 cup shredded asiago cheese
1/2 cup or more fruity olive oil
2 Prepared pizza crusts ( I use Mama Mary’s)
1 cup chopped sweet peppers,
1/4 of a large red onion. chopped
1/2 cup sliced kalamata olives
4 oz artisan salami, sliced very thin
about 1 cup crumbled feta cheese
In a food processor, combine sun-dried tomatoes, cilantro, hazel nuts, garlic, balsamic vinegar, asiago cheese, salt, and pepper. Turn the processor on low and pour the olive oil in through the top until a thick paste forms. Open and scrap down sides, check seasoning and process again for about 30 more seconds. Set aside for flavors to blend.
Put your pizza stone on the grill and heat to 425 F.
Chop up, onions, peppers, and olives. Thinly slice the salami. Spread a thin layer of olive oil on pizza crusts before spreading pesto. Spread a thin layer of pesto over the pizza crusts. Sprinkle salami, peppers, onion and olives evenly over the pesto. Top with crumbled feta.
Grill each pizza for approximately 7 minutes, careful not to burn the bottom. Remove from heat and allow to rest for a couple of minutes. Slice and serve to a happy group….Enjoy!