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Monday, March 30, 2009

Sweet Potato and Arugula Pesto Pizza

In Hawaii, the sun encourages a bountiful array of crops all year round. However, some ingredients prove hard to come by in my neck of the woods. With a little soil, seed and water anything is possible, even if your porch is the size of a shoebox.

This year I decided to grow Arugula, a peppery salad green also known as Rocket. It is easy to grow and reseeds itself every year.

The most common use for Arugula is salads, but it also makes fabulous pesto. This recipe features a wholesome crust topped with sweet potatoes, mozzarella, and arugula blended with almonds, garlic, Parmesan, and lemon. Accompany with a fresh green salad, and you have a healthy casual meal.

I recommend making the pesto first. Be for warned, it makes a lot but you won't need all of it. The remainder can be used on your favorite pasta. When your done with the pesto, set it aside and prepare pizza crust. Good luck!

1-2 tablespoons honey
1 1/4 cup warm water
2 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
Sea salt
extra flour for kneading
cornmeal for dusting

This dough is quick and easy, no rising is needed.
In a large bowl, combine honey, water and yeast. Proof yeast for about 10 minutes. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine flours and salt. Sift flours together with a fork. Whisk olive oil into proofed yeast and stir in flour. Stir until dough is slightly formed and dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl. Flour a clean workspace to knead dough. Knead dough until smooth and elastic, and the dough is no longer wet. Be careful not to over knead, about 5 minutes. On a pizza pan, lightly sprinkle cornmeal onto pan to prevent the crust from sticking. Roll out dough into a large circle, about 1/2 inch thick. Using a fork, prick the the dough from the center out leaving an inch around the edge unpricked. This allows the thick crust to cook evenly throughout. You are no ready to start topping.

Arugula Pesto
2 cups fresh arugula, packed
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup almonds
4 cloves garlic
1 lemon, juiced
1/4 cup olive oil

In a food processor combine arugula, Parmesan, almonds, garlic. Whisk together lemon juice and olive oil and pour into processor. Puree mixture until all components are blended and the mixture looks smooth. Set aside.

1 large sweet potato, peeled and chopped
1/2 teaspoon Extra virgin olive oil
Sea salt
2 cups mozzarella, shredded
Arugula Pesto

Preheat broiler on low, moving the oven rack to the top. Line a cookie sheet with foil. Place chopped sweet potato onto lined cookie sheet. Drizzle olive oil onto sweet potatoes and lightly salt. Broil on low for 10 minutes. Toss sweet potatoes and place them back under broiler for another 8-10 minutes. Remove and set aside. Meanwhile, turn broiler off and move rack to the middle of the over, preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Assemble pizza by spreading a good layer of arugula pesto onto prepared crust. Top with mozzarella, reserving some for an additional topping. Place sweet potato pieces onto pizza and top with remaining mozzarella. Bake for 25 minutes. Let cool slightly before slicing.


Makes 1 pizza

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