Normally, I don’t like pesto on my pizza. It’s one of the few occasions in which an extra green on my plate is not welcome. Give me red!
However, cutting the pizza up into bite-sized pieces somehow changes the whole ball game for me, and for a brief moment, my brain is tricked into thinking, “Wait a minute, have my tastebuds changed?” And maybe they have…
Regardless, on this occasion when I made pesto and slathered it onto naan (thanks, Krista for the inspiration!) then topped it with roasted chicken, fresh mozzarella, tomatoes, and more basil, I was indubitably (One of my weird quirks: always looking for ways to say this word more. Try saying it like 10x and you’ll know what I mean ;)) and madly in love.
The fresh basil did not come from our garden this time, but rather from our bi-weekly CSA box. I decided to make pesto on this occasion because we hadn’t had homemade pesto since…oh..my memory fails me. Everything I needed was in my freezer. I like to buy cheeses (esp. parmesan) in bulk at Costco. I cut them into individual blocks, wrap in plastic wrap, and store in an airtight freezer bag with the date on it. I try to use them up within 2 months, but sometimes that doesn’t happen. C’est la vie!
I also buy nuts in bulk and freeze them as well. Lately, I’ve been on a walnut kick so that’s really the only substitute I made to a traditional pesto. You can adjust the thickness of the pesto by adding more or less olive oil (or water). For this pizza, it’s better to keep it on the thicker side. Once you make the pesto (super easy!), assemble your mini pizzas (even easier!) and put them in the oven!
Not only was this a tasty appetizer, snack, meal…whatever you want to call it, but this is sure to make you an instant star with your loved ones at the next gathering. It’s a shame that nobody was around when these bad boys came out of the oven. Well, the Hungryman was, but I’m already a star who can do no wrong in his eyes….or at least in my delusional world anyway .
If you’re a pizza fan (especially one short on time), this recipe couldn’t be more perfect. Even if you’re like me and prefer the red sauce, why not give green a chance?
- 2 cups loosely packed basil leaves
- ½ cup grated parmesan
- ⅓ cup walnuts
- 3 medium garlic cloves, peeled
- ½ cup olive oil, or as needed
- salt and pepper
- Naan (preferably whole wheat)
- 1 cup sliced or diced grilled chicken
- Handful of cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
- 4 oz. fresh mozzarella
- For the pesto: Combine all the ingredients (except for the olive oil) in a food processor and process to a rough paste. With the machine running, slowly add the olive oil. If the pesto seems too thick, add a little more olive oil (or water). Season to taste with salt and pepper. Use immediately or transfer to a storage container and pour a very thin film of olive oil over the top . It can be refrigerated for up to 1 week.
- Assembly: Spread a layer of pesto on top of naan. Evenly add chicken and tomatoes and top with sliced mozzarella. Bake for about 10-15 minutes at 350F or until cheese has melted. Remove from oven and sprinkle fresh basil before serving.
p.s Don’t forget to check out the recipe for Thai Red Curry with Shrimp and Mango and enter for a chance to win a cookbook by the National Mango Board!