Pizza Night

The basil I planted in April has taken off and I decided to make some pesto today to highlight this beautiful herb. I followed Alton Brown’s recipe for Pistachio and Mixed Herb Pesto except I used all basil and no parsley. The tarragon, oregano, and thyme all came from my garden as well.

I wasn’t in the mood for pasta, however, I was in the mood for pizza, so I decided to use some of this beautiful pesto as a sauce.

A good pizza requires good cheese, so I also made up a batch of mozzarella today. If you have never made cheese at home, you should look into it. Using a kit such as this one you can easily make delicious mozzarella at home, in less than an hour. At first, I was a little skeptical, but I went ahead and purchased a kit and tried it out. I’ve made several batches and have not been disappointed at all.

A good pizza also needs a good crust. Being gluten-intolerant, I try to avoid conventional pizza crusts. Unfortunately, the commercial gluten-free crusts are not that great. A while back, I came across a recipe for a pizza that used polenta as a crust. Since then, whenever I’ve made pizza at home, I have used polenta. After baking and while hot, the “crust” develops a bit of a crispy skin but the center remains smooth and creamy. You can also eat it cold (nothing wrong with cold pizza). I used a local polenta produced by Delta Grind from Water Valley, Mississippi. I followed their instructions, however, I did substitute extra chicken broth for half of the water. On its own, the polenta is delicious, but combined with the pesto and homemade cheese, it was outstanding.

When using polenta as a pizza crust, you should pour it out onto a pizza pan (I use a cast iron pizza pan from Lodge) and spread it until it is about 1/4″ or so in thickness. Allow it to set and cool for a few minutes so that you can easily spread the sauce and other toppings. Top and bake the pizza at 425 for 10-15 minutes or until the cheese is nice and bubbly.

I topped this pizza with grilled chicken, mozzarella cheese, a little parmesan cheese, some oil-packed sundried tomatoes (I didn’t get to the farmers market this weekend) and the pesto I made earlier.

At the end of the day, this was an awful lot of work to go through for pizza, but believe me, the results were well worth the effort.

Give it a try!

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