Presto Pesto Pizza

Somedays you just don’t have it in you.

Long day at work, short day at home. Maybe you’re hung over? Maybe you’re sick? Whatever it is we’ve all been there and despite the momentary lapse in your entertaining fervor, you have guests arriving any minute.

Shhhhhh………….oot! What goes with warm white wine???

If you’re answer is ice, this is surely a dinner party disaster in the making. So let’s see if I can help:
Stuff that bottle of white and a few wine glasses in the freezer, and get ready to produce the ultimate posthaste plate:

Presto Pesto Pizza

It’s crazy what a cocktail party crowd-pleaser this is, but don’t take my word for it. The idea for the pizza “crust” comes from the undisputed domestic goddess Nigella Lawson. It was the Naan pizza recipe from the Nigella Express cookbook that saved the start of my first dinner party with the in the laws and has bought me serious kitchen time at countless other get-togethers since then. I have made it so many times that the original recipe escapes me, but to be honest I change it every time depending on what’s stacked in my fridge or stocked in my pantry…

And this is what’s on tap tonight:

Presto Pesto Pizza
Serves 4 over cocktails

1 store-bought whole wheat Naan

1/3 cup roasted hazelnut
1/2 clove garlic
large handful cilantro
3 strands thyme leaves
olive oil
salt and pepper

1 heirloom tomato, diced
3 tablespoon onion confit jam
2 tablespoons tomato puree (can be unsalted canned version)*
1-1 1/2 cups shredded nutty sheep’s milk cheese (I used Lamb Chopper from Cyprus Grove in California, but often use Fontina for it’s similar richness and melting quality)
1/2 cup grated parmisiano reggiano
salt and pepper

*Alternatively, I’ll use my staple Red Pepper Sauce in place of the pureed tomatoes I use here. That combined with a cilantro and basil based pesto gives an eastern twist to this pizza a la pronto! 

Preheat oven to 430 degrees F
1. make pesto by placing hazelnuts, cilantro, garlic,thyme in the bowl of a small food processor and roughly chopping. Add olive oil till mixture holds together. Season with salt and pepper.

2. Spray grease a baking sheet, and place Naan on the sheet. Build the pizza in layers: onion confit, pesto, tomato puree, diced tomato, grated and shredded chease, salt and pepper.
3. Bake on a higher level rack for 7-8 minutes, or until the cheese is bubbling and crust is well browned and crisp.

4. Slice and serve… and don’t forget the wine in the freezer!

The Presto Pesto Pizza is a perfect shared starter as the sun goes down on any casual week day…
let’s just hope no one asks what’s for dinner…

Darcy Jones

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