Walnut Basil Pesto Pizza

Photo Credit: Ashley Cuoco

One of my biggest kitchen struggles has been good pizza crust. I have an old gas oven (love it) but my crusts had time after time come out soggy. I tried a pizza stone but to my despair, it left all crusts limp. All I want is some crispy, browned bottomed crust! Too much to ask? I tried my faithful cookie sheet and I think that was 50% of the crispy battle. This lovely pizza dough recipe comes from the amazing Andrea Bemis’s new cookbook, Dishing Up The Dirt!!! So excited for this girl! Get yourself a copy. It’s a treat for the eyes and the stomach. It makes my heart so happy to see her in her element, getting down and dirty with real food. She’s seriously inspired me to live on a farm. I will have chickens one day or my name isn’t Cuoco!

This crust is super!! Thin and crisp. It’s almost focaccia-like. My favorite part is that you can do it all from the bowl of your stand mixer with the dough hook, so there’s little to no mess. All you need is time! While the dough is rising you can get other tasks done, so don’t worry. Look at you go, you multi-tasker! Own it. Be wonder woman in the kitchen and don’t let anything scare you. Thank you Andrea for this tasty dough recipe!!! Congratulations, lady! #DishingUpTheDirt #DUTD

Yield: A little less than 2 pounds of dough, enough for 2 large thin crusts

For the Dough:

  • 2-1/4 tsp active dry yeast
  • 1 pinch sugar
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons warm water, more as needed
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for oiling bowl
  • 1-1/3 cups whole wheat flour
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour

For the Pesto & Cheese topping:

  • 1-1/2 cups packed basil
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup walnuts
  • 1/2 cup parmigiano reggiano
  • 2 sun dried tomatoes in oil, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • pinch salt and pepper
  • fresh mozzarella cheese
  • wild arugula
  1. In a large bowl dissolve the yeast and sugar in water warmed to 110 F. Give it a good stir. Proof for 10 minutes or until frothing.
  2. Mix in the salt, olive oil, and the flours until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl. Transfer the dough to a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook attachment and knead it on low for 6 minutes. If the dough appears too dry, drizzle 2 tablespoons more water.
  3. Rinse out the large bowl, pat it dry, drizzle it with oil, and use a bowl to rub the oil all over the bowl. Return the dough to the large bowl and cover the bowl with a damp cloth. Let the dough rise until it is doubled in size, about 1 hour.
  4. Transfer the dough back to you stand missed and knead it on low for 3 minutes.
  5. Return the dough to the oiled bowl, cover it with the damp towel, and set it aside to rise for an additional hour, or until it has doubled in size again.
  6. Slice the dough in half. Freeze one half for a rainy day! (see note below). Take the half you’re going to use and roll thinly onto a oiled baking sheet.
  7. Add basil, olive oil, walnuts, parmigiana region, tomatoes, garlic, salt and pepper in a food processor. Grind until smooth, about 30 seconds. Taste it… devious all on it’s own! Spoon half of the mixture onto the pizza and top with mozzarella cheese. Bake at 500 F for 10 minutes. Top with wild arugula and serve.

*Be sure to transfer your frozen dough to the refrigerator the morning before you plan to use it. Remove it from the refrigerator about 30 minutes before you make your pizza so the dough can come to room temperature.

Dough recipe (Chesua’a Perfect Pizza Dough) is from Andrea Bemis, Dishing Up The Dirt, 2017. Pesto recipe is from Saveur Magazine.

Summer Salad with Dijon Vinaigrette

4Photo Credit: Ashley Cuoco

One of the best things about summer is seasonal produce. Bountiful fruits and vegetables at farmers markets. Dinners made simple and easy. I love the idea of a big, filling salad that fills you up in the best possible way. Satisfying and nourishing. I crave a vinegar-y, bright plate of greens. Sometimes it’s nice to cut the meat and hoard all the beautiful vegetables! Try this salad with other things like sliced avocado or walnuts. Or swap the kale for your favorite green. Gather outside and enjoy this plate while the sun’s going down. Summer nights are calling!

1

Photo Credit: Ashley Cuoco

2

Photo Credit: Ashley Cuoco

3

Photo Credit: Ashley Cuoco

Total Time: 40 mins — Serves: 6 — Yields: 1-3/4 cups vinaigrette

Vinaigrette Ingredients:

  • 1 Tbsp Organic Mayonnaise
  • 2 Tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 3-1/2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 garlic scape
  • 1 small shallot, minced
  • 1 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • salt and pepper

Salad Ingredients:

  • 1 large bunch kale
  • 2 cups baby arugula
  • 8 garlic scapes, blanched and shocked in ice water
  • 1/4 cup sliced radishes
  • 1/2 cup grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1 small cucumber, thinly sliced
  • small bunch thin asparagus spears, cut into 3-inch tips
  • 1/4 cup snap peas, trimmed
  • salt and pepper
  • basil for garnish
  1. To make the vinaigrette, combine the mayonnaise, mustard, vinegar, garlic scape and shallot in a food processor and 2 Tbsp of water. With the processor running, slowly drizzle in the olive oil until incorporated. Add 1-2 Tbsp of water if a thinner vinaigrette is preferred. Season with salt and pepper.
  2. To blanch the garlic scapes, bring a pot of water to a boil and drop in garlic scapes. Boil for 1 minute and remove with a slotted spoon. Immediately place into a bowl of ice water. This will “shock” the scapes, preserving their bright green color and mellow out the strong flavor. To assemble the salad, toss the kale, arugula, garlic scapes, radishes, tomatoes, cucumber, asparagus tips, and snap peas in a large bowl. Toss with dressing or serve on the side. Garnish with basil leaves and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Warm Grains Arugula Salad with Avocado Vinaigrette

1Photo Credit: Ashley Cuoco

Nothing makes me happier than feeling satisfied and full after a good meal. I don’t mean that bloated, overly full feeling…I mean the good kind! After a meal that is full of wholesome things that keep hunger at bay. This salad is totally one of those meals. I am a huge arugula fan– even just coated in a little olive oil, it’s peppery and so tasty on it’s own. Coated in this avocado vinaigrette it’s on another level! The warm grains wilt the arugula a little, making each bite full of flavor and packed with protein. And, as I always say, throw on a couple of soft boiled eggs and you’ve got yourself a real meal.

Serves 2

Ingredients for Salad:

1 5 oz package of organic baby arugula

1/2 cup rainbow quinoa (yields about 1-1/2 cups cooked quinoa)

1/4 cup red lentils (yields about 2 cups cooked lentils)

2 eggs

1/8 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese

salt and pepper to taste

Ingredients for Avocado Vinaigrette:

1/2 ripe avocado

1/8 cup white wine vinegar

Juice of 1/2 lemon

1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil

salt and pepper to taste

2

Photo Credit: Ashley Cuoco

4

Photo Credit: Ashley Cuoco

  1. Cook your quinoa to package instructions. Or, as a general guideline, rinse quinoa in a strainer for 2 minutes to get off the natural coating. If you skip rinsing, you risk getting a “soapy” flavor so make sure you rinse! Dry quinoa or toast lightly in a pan to dry. Add quinoa to small pot with 2 cups of water. Bring to a rolling boil. Turn down the heat to low and cover for 15 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat and leave covered for an extra 5-7 minutes. If you still see some water remaining after this time, put the pot back on low and allow it to soak up the remaining water. Season with a little salt and set aside.
  2. Cook your lentils to package instructions. Or, Add lentils to a pot with 1/2 cup water and bring to a boil. Lower to a simmer and cook covered for about 10-15 minutes, depending on how soft you want them. For salads, I like a little firmness. 10 minutes will do it. Season with a little salt and set aside.
  3. Rinse your arugula and let dry or run through a salad spinner. Set aside.
  4. For the avocado vinaigrette, combine the avocado, vinegar, lemon juice, salt and pepper in a food processor until smooth and incorporated. With the processor running, stream in the olive oil until creamy.
  5. To bring 2 eggs to a soft boil, fill a small pot with a few inches of water and bring to a rolling boil. Reduce heat to rapid simmer and gently drop in eggs. Let simmer for 5-7 minutes. 5 minutes for barely set and 7 minutes for a more set yolk. Remove eggs with a slotted spoon and run under cool water for 2 minutes. Set aside.
  6. In a large bowl, add vinaigrette. Add arugula to bowl and stir to coat evenly. While still warm, mix in cooked quinoa and red lentils. Top with graded parmesan cheese. Peel soft boiled eggs and break open over salad. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Enjoy!