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Pesto Based Flatbread Pizza

Lazy Person's Pesto Based Flatbread Pizza
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?

the writer's flatbread pizza with wine

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.

Piadina Romagnola Italian flatbread

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 with garlic
  • 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 salami)
  • 14-16 small or 1 dozen medium sized Datterino cherry tomatoes
  • 14-16 oven baked whole Moroccan style black olives
  • 15-20 grams (3-4 teaspoons) of grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

Prep time: 10-minutes
Cooking time: 15-minutes


Step-1: Pre-heat over to 200C (390-400F)

oven pre-heated  to 200C

(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

piadina flatbread on a foil

Step-4: Stracchino cheese - Spread the cheese all around the piadina

Stracchino cheese spread all over piadina bread

Step-5: Pesto Genovese - Spread the pesto over the top of the cheese

Pesto Genovese spread on piadina over cheese

Step-6: (Optional) Sprinkle Red Pepper on top

red pepper sprinled on top of piadina

Step-7: Salame Milanese - Place slices, evenly spaced, on top

Salame Milanese placed on top of piadina

Step-8: Cherry Tomatoes - Cut in half or placed whole (depending on size)

cut cherry tomatoes placed on top of piadina

Step-9: Black Olives - Place whole olives around and in between the tomatoes

black olives

Step-10: Parmigiano-Reggiano - sprinkle the cheese until the pie is fully covered like Monte Bianco in winter

Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese sprinkled on piadina

Step-11: Place the Flatbread Pizza in the oven, wait 15-minutes, then remove

flatbread pizza in the oven

Step-12: Plate the Pizza and serve with your favorite Mixed Green Salad

finished flatbread pizza on a plate

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.

Savardo Pinot Nero Superiore paired with the flatbread pizza

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.

variations to writer's flatbread pizza

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 out.

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Hi Audrey,

Love your lamb shanks.

--- Paul, Scottsdale AZ

Haven't been called Tad for . . .gee, maybe I've NEVER been called Tad . . . guess I'm the only one with chutzpah enough to mention Bourdain. BRILLIANT?

--- Ken, Shutesbury, MA

I think we must have had an entirely different experience in the UK. (Fresh Food and Real Ale – week 1). We were up in Edinburgh and they served something called ‘Neeps & Tatties.’ The items were boiled so long that I couldn’t even recognize what I was eating. Come to think of it… I couldn’t taste them either. Later I found that Neeps’ are Turnips and ‘Tatties’ are potatoes.

--- Lindy, Phoenix, AZ

My mouth was watering as I read some of your descriptions of the fantastic fare of ... England? I had always felt smug about the lowly reputation of British cuisine as this gave us at least one country with a worse culinary reputation than America's. I guess I'll have to change my views. Your article made me actually want to take a CULINARY tour of Britain. Yummy yummy yummy.

--- Sandy Miner, Portland, OR

Thanks for your note. Thanks to Traveling Boy I get to interview a world famous chef this week who is widely recognized as spearheading the Yummy movement in Ireland. Guess I'll have to take yet another culinary tour a little further north and check it out... (I love my job!) --- Audrey

Very interesting, mouth-watering piece by Audrey! (A McDreamy McMeel). Your web site is fascinating!

--- Susie, Victoria, BC

Combining travel, food, and intelligent advice -- BRILLIANT! Your site fills a long-felt need for hungry roamers. Keep it up! It's Anthony Bourdain with reservations and CLASS.

--- Tad, Boston, MA

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