Recipe: Walnut Pesto Pizza

Since I discovered Udi’s gluten-free pizza crusts, pizza is an easy weeknight option again.  This pizza is basically a combination three of my favorite foods: pesto, croque messieurs and pizza.

This is a great, simple weeknight meal.  It’s really simple to whip up and easy to do as a sandwich instead.

My pesto is a little different from the standard blend of garlic, pine nuts and basil leaves.  This walnut pesto works well with the ham and Gruyere cheese.

Pesto:

25 basil leaves

1/3 cup walnuts, lightly toasted (pine nuts are the classic and certainly suitable to use here, I just happen to like walnut pesto)

2 green onions (or 3 cloves of garlic)

¼ – 1/3 of a cup of extra virgin olive oil

Left: the fresh basil and green onion Middle: streaming in the olive oil Right: this is a good consistency for pizza sauce, you may want to add a little oil for a pesto sauce.

1. In a food processor, pulse together the nuts, green onion and basil leaves.

2. Slowly stream in the olive oil, with the food processor set to pulse.    The thickness of the pesto is really up to personal taste, it can go from a thin sauce to a thick paste.

The pesto will keep for about a week.  It does not need to be refrigerated.   It’s delicious over pasta or potato salad.

Left: If you don’t like strong onions, try slicing them up and soaking them in cold water for 5 minutes to dilute the sharp flavor. Right: The salad is just a simple blend of lettuces, tomato, shredded carrot and onion, dressed in a little lemon juice and olive oil.

Makes two pizzas:

Pack of two Udi’s gluten-free pizza crusts

Pancetta or other thinly sliced ham, chopped into bite-sized pieces

Shredded gruyere cheese to taste, at least ½ a cup.  I like Trader Joe’s Gruyere & Swiss blend

Left: the crusts before baking Right: the finished product. If you want to avoid burned crusts, trying brushing the edges with olive oil

1. Pre-heat the oven to 400°F / 200°C.   Line the baking pan for easy cleaning.  Since I love a crispy crust, I set a cooling rack in the pan to allow air to circulate under the crust and give it a nice, even crispiness.

2. Spread the pesto over the pizza crusts.  Sprinkle the ham over the crusts.  Cook in the oven for 2-3 minutes* or until the pancetta starts to brown.

3. Remove from oven.  Change oven setting to broil, this makes the cheese all nice and bubbly.  Sprinkle the pizzas with cheese.  Cook 3-5 minutes more, or until the cheese begins to bubble.

*Cooking times are based on defrosted crusts.

A satisfying dinner that won't weigh you down!

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