This is not a story of triumph or perfection. This is a story that begins in tragedy and ends with some partial ray of hope, yet time will tell. You don’t necessarily get the girl in the end, but you do get to eat a pizza, if you can endure and press on…

So, over the weekend Deanna and I had the great idea to make pizza at home. We were going to make our own pesto sauce and choose any ingredients we wanted and buy premade dough from Trader Joe’s. At some point down the road I’ll make my own dough. More on this later. Also, more about a garbanzo/chickpea crust I want to make as well. Later.

Deanna and I head out to Trader Joe’s and got all the supplies. Here is the Pesto Recipe that we used:

Ingredients (we doubled what is below)

  • 2 cups fresh basil leaves, packed
  • 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan Formaggio
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/3 cup pine nuts
  • 6 medium sized garlic cloves, minced
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

“Special equipment needed: A food processor” was also mentioned below the recipe, but we do not own one of these wonderful contraptions… yet. What I do own is a kick ass Vitamix Blender, so I thought I’d make due with that.

These are the steps I took (you can compare my steps to the link provided above to see how it differed):

Pull Apart the Basil

1. Combine the Basil(one of our veggie box items from last week) and pine nuts in blender and pulse blend. I tried to do this, but there was no pulse blending going on. The basil sat at the bottom of the blender and the nuts sat there on top. Pretty pointless.

Not making Pesto

2. I then added everything else. I put all the oil in, the cheese, the garlic and I started the blender again. Still, not much going on.

3. It is at this point that my directions are no longer directions, for those of you following along at home, and they become a description of failure. *Sad Trombone*. I’ll be brief.

4. My blender has an opening in the top of it that allows you to add ingredients and if you have a plunger you can use it to mash things down and stir the ingredients. Well I don’t have one. So, being resourceful and MacGruber-like, I chose to use a wooden spoon to push down the ingredients.

Mashing down the ingredients with the wooden spoon

I did it a few times and it worked pretty good, being cautious not to push too far down. I was getting a nice amount of mushy looking pesto forming at the bottom of the blender cup when it happened. All of a sudden the blender grabbed ahold of my wooden spoon and spun it out of my hand for a second and I let go. This was the end of my pesto making.

Here is the last known siting of my attempt at making pesto:

Sad Wooden Spoon

I will give credit to this recipe and say the bit of pesto I tried carefully before dumping it out, was really really really good! And, the moment of redemption comes as I was stewing after the fact and on an impulse, bought this amazingly awesome looking and well reviewed Braun K650 Combimax Food Processor. It arrives next week and it will change my life. I know it. I cannot wait.

Then I walked myself to the store and bought a jar of Pesto sauce. Actually, I bought 2 jars of pesto because I wasn’t sure what the best kind was. As it turned out, Deanna liked one more than the other, and I liked just the opposite. So getting 2 was a good idea.

Pizza Toppings:

  • Potatoes
  • Tomatoes
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Pesto
  • Parmesan Formaggio
  • Mozzarella
  • Pine Nuts
  • Fresh chopped Rosemary
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • Red Onions
  • Marinara
  • Venison Pepperoni
  • Sliced Chicken Pesto Sausage from Trader Joe’s
  • Chopped cloves of garlic
  • 2 Plain Trader Joe’s Pizza Doughs and 1 Wheat Dough

Here are the pizza steps:

1. We were going to be putting potato on our pizzas so to prepare the potatoes we pre-fried them. Slice potatoes thin similar to au gratin style and soak them in cold water for at least 20 minutes. Also take out the dough 20 minutes prior to rolling and flattening it and let it sit out.

2. Break all of the leaves off of the rosemary branches and chop them up. Toss the potatoes with olive oil and rosemary.

Break off the rosemary

3. In a pan with about half an inch of vegetable oil that is hot, but not smoking, add the potatoes one layer at a time and remove when they are more rubbery than they are now. The thicker ones you need to keep in a bit longer. The goal is to make the oven not have to cook the potatoes, but only brown them or crisp them a bit depending on your preference. We had a good amount more than we needed, so we ended up leaving some in the pan longer and made a little basket of rosemary potato chips. They were good!

Frying up potatoes

4. Next on a floured surface, roll out the dough with a rolling pin or your hands (or in our case, a wine bottle). Stretch the dough to about 12 inches in diameter, careful not to get holes in the dough. If you poke a hole, don’t fret, just add some water to that area and massage it a bit and it will seal up. At least that’s what we did.

Rolling out the dough

Potato Pizza

5. After your dough is rolled out, place it on a non stick pizza pan or pizza stone and begin spreading the pesto sauce and cover the dough as thick as you prefer. Then add the cheese and all your toppings and bake in the oven for about 20 minutes, or until the crust is brown and the cheese is bubbling.

Sliced up pizza

All 3 pizzas we made turned out very good. The venison pepperoni was a bit weird though.

And that is it for the pizza story. Stay tuned for a real pesto making review when the processor arrives.

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One Response to Homemade Pesto and Potato Pizza

  1. […] recipe I(mack) used the exact same pesto recipe from the Potato Pesto Pizza blog we did before: http://norcalfoodies.wordpress.com/2010/10/20/potato-pesto-pizza/ All but the oil part. I wound up using ONLY lemon juice in place of all that olive oil. It turned […]

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