Memories with My Grandma: Red Pepper Pesto Pizza
During my childhood my birthdays meant my Italian grandma would come over extremely early and the two of us would spend the entire day making pizzas from scratch for a family party that evening. We would decide how many pizzas would be just cheese, how many topped with pepperoni and how many would have vegetables. She taught me not to fear adding a sprinkle of flour here and there and how therapeutic kneading dough can be.
It never dawned on me (until right now, actually) that other kids might have slept-in on their birthday, played outside all day until company arrived, or (gasp!) ordered pizza! For me, it was part of the celebration to spend the day covered in flour, sneaking in pinches of shredded cheese and listening to family stories.
Things have changed from those birthday parties: I don’t have to hide wearing make-up, I pay my own bills and I have a husband I love dearly. My tastes have also changed although I always preferred to eat my veggies; I’ve added whole wheat and flax to my pizza dough and this pizza goes as far as having a base without tomatoes.
You know the phrase, “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.” Well, I can’t thank my grandma enough for feeding me endlessly not only with her homemade soups and sauces, but with the ability to make my own pizza dough.
I know I post a lot of pizza ideas but this one has one of the best bases we’ve had: red pepper pesto! The pesto is made using roasted red peppers, fresh basil and fresh mozzarella. I started using the whole wheat flax dough I typically make, then used the red pepper pesto as the base and finished by topping it with olives, feta cheese and mushrooms. It was such a fun mix of flavors and definitely a pizza worth recreating!
Red Pepper Pesto
Adapted from Rachel Ray
1 red bell pepper, cleaned and halved
3-4 tbs. olive oil
Salt and pepper, to taste
1/4 – 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
1/3 cup fresh basil leaves
1/2 tbs. lemon juice
1. Roast the pepper: set oven to broil setting. Face pepper face-down on a baking sheet. Cook for about 7-10 minutes, when the skin begins to blacken. Remove from the oven and place in a bowl; cover with the lid. Let the pepper sit for about 20 minutes and then gently peel the skin off.
2. Add red pepper, 1/2 cup mozzarella, 1/2 cup basil leaves and lemon juice to food processor and puree. Add olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Add additional mozzarella until desired taste and consistency.
~How did you typically celebrate childhood birthdays?