Lazy Person's Pesto Based
Story/recipe and photos by Tom Weber
When in doubt, as the sports adage goes, PUNT!
In the kitchen, scratching my head and wondering what
to prepare for dinner, I usually PUNT! and rely on my favorite
homemade remedy, PIZZA.
No muss, no fuss. Just plain and simple pre-packaged,
store-bought ingredients from my Italian supermarket thrown together
like scattered landscape in the tornado's path, and, Voila!
-- a mouth-watering, quick-and-easy dinner for the guy, or gal, who
has absolutely no clue around the kitchen; or, like me, both clueless
and, admittedly, just plain lazy. Sure, I could easily walk down the
street, turn right at the corner and order a professionally prepared
wood-fired pie to take back home, or simply pop a frozen one in the
microwave. But what's the fun in that?
Honestly, I hate more than anything the cleanup that
follows a big galley production, so with this simple recipe I limit
the dirty dishes and can wipe up while my casual culinary work of art
bubbles away in the oven.
Since I've become a frequent visitor to Rome
- usually one trip a month - I've come to enjoy pizza bianca,
literally white pizza sans the base tomato sauce. Instead, when I want
tomatoes I use pomodorini (cherry tomatoes), cut in half
or left whole, and dot them around on top. In addition to white pizza,
I've also totally converted over to the thin and crispy alla Romana
style that so many Romans enjoy. Forget all the thick, soft, deep-dish
types of pies that leave your plate full of Lincoln logs when you're
done, I'll take my pizza thinner than a runway model any old day.
No arduous kneading of dough, my homemade versions are
made with Italian flatbread, Piadina Romagnola from the
Emilia-Romagna region. These flatbreads measure about the size of a
standard pizzeria pie, but without any crust whatsoever. And, sacrilegious
as it may sound, I do not use Mozzarella on my homemade
pizza. Instead, I spread on a nice thick layer of Stracchino
cheese as my base and build from there.
To demonstrate, I'll explain the steps involved in bringing
my Lazy Person's Pesto Based Flatbread Pizza - topped
with tomatoes, black olives and salami - to the table.
Lazy Person's Pesto Based Flatbread Pizza
Ingredients (per person):
- Parchment baking paper or aluminum foil
- 1 Piadina Romagnola (or similar large flatbread)
- 60 grams (2.10 oz.) of Stracchino cheese (or
Crescenza or Robiola)
- 45 grams (3 tablespoons) of Pesto Genovese
- 1.25 grams (1/4 teaspoon) of crushed/ground red pepper
(more or less depending upon your threshold for heat)
- 4 thin slices of Salame Milanese (Milano style
- 14-16 small or 1 dozen medium sized Datterino
- 14-16 oven baked whole Moroccan style black olives
- 15-20 grams (3-4 teaspoons) of grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
Prep time: 10-minutes
Cooking time: 15-minutes
Step-1: Pre-heat over to 200C (390-400F)
(While the oven pre heats)
Step-2: Cover your oven tray with parchment baking
paper or aluminum foil
Step-3: Place the Piadina on the paper/foil
Step-4: Stracchino cheese - Spread the cheese
all around the piadina
Step-5: Pesto Genovese - Spread the pesto over
the top of the cheese
Step-6: (Optional) Sprinkle Red Pepper on top
Step-7: Salame Milanese - Place slices, evenly
spaced, on top
Step-8: Cherry Tomatoes - Cut in half or placed
whole (depending on size)
Step-9: Black Olives - Place whole olives around
and in between the tomatoes
Step-10: Parmigiano-Reggiano - sprinkle
the cheese until the pie is fully covered like Monte Bianco in winter
Step-11: Place the Flatbread Pizza in the oven,
wait 15-minutes, then remove
Step-12: Plate the Pizza and serve with your
favorite Mixed Green Salad
Wine Pairing: Savardo Pinot Nero Superiore (DOC)
- Cantina Beato Bartolomeo - Breganze, IT - A balanced and elegantly
refined dry, full-bodied medium-to-deep ruby red Pinot. Fruity to the
nose with hints of spice.
Feel free to vary the ingredients to satisfy your tastebuds.
Substitute cooked ham for the salami; drop the pesto and spread black
olive pate' instead; use red, yellow and orange bell pepper slices vice
the tomatoes; use French Brie cheese in place of the Parmigiano-Reggiano;
or, top off whatever it is you've created with a good helping of Arugula
(Rocket) leaves. The combinations are endless.
The next time you find yourself in the kitchen scratching
your head wondering what to prepare for dinner as the "game"
clock winds down, don't sweat it. Just do what I do, PUNT!, then
make a homemade flatbread pizza. Do let me know how your creation turns