Monday, February 20, 2012


Red Bell Pepper Pesto Pizza Bites....FUN* FUN* FUN!

Our next recipe in the Food Matters Project was Roasted Red Pepper and Walnut "Pesto". My first idea was to put in on pasta. I ran some ideas by Hubby and when I said pizza he said "YES!".

I made pizza dough from scratch maybe....30 years ago :(   and I still remember how much work it was for a "pizza". Pizza was what you ordered when you didn't feel like cooking. I never did that again.

When we decided that we would make pizza dough from scratch I remembered that I had a pizza stone somewhere. HUH???? I think it must have been for take and bake pizzas or to reheat cold pizza (although I usually eat the leftovers in the middle of the night...cold. Doesn't everyone??).

First I made this beautiful bowl of Roasted Red Pepper and Walnut Pesto.

I roasted my red peppers on the gas cook top.

Turning them until they had a nice char.

 I put them in a bowl and covered the bowl with plastic wrap. When they were cool, I removed the charred skin. I started out by using a paper towel to help remove the skin and save the flavor but I got impatient and ended up running  them under cold water. The next step was to remove the seeds and stems.

I pulsed the garlic in the food processor and then the walnuts. When it was roughly chopped I added the red bell peppers, basil, and some olive oil.

That's it, with the addition of some salt and pepper it was ready to go.

Enter the pizza crust.

The pizza dough was a bit of a challenge for us virgin pizza makers and I didn't even make it from scratch as  planned. The already made whole wheat dough at Trader Joe's was just too hard to resist. This was where the fun began. I heard Ron laughing. "Is this a trick?" I looked over and started laughing too. Every time he would roll it out into a nice circle, as soon as he stopped rolling it would bounce back to it's original size. Hmm...I suggested we try pulling it by hand or even throw it up in the air like they do at the Pizza Palace. That was comical :) Well, we need to work on our dough skills but we did end up with this.

We spread it with the Roasted Red Pepper and Walnut Pesto.

Mark Bittman suggested adding goat cheese as an option in the pesto.We thought it sounded like a good combo so we put some rounds on one half of the pizza and mozzarella on the other side. After 15 minutes in the oven we added some fresh basil.

Success! The pesto was wonderful as a base and the goat cheese rocked. We liked the fact that it did not melt completely. It made the most delicious bites. We cut it into squares so we could showcase the goat cheese. Oh...the mozzarella, it was a little boring...needs the goat cheese.

This was really fun to make. I can't wait to use the leftover pesto in other ways. You can find all kinds of creative ideas on how to use this pesto over on the The Food Matters Project. The Pesto recipe is on Heather's Blog who was our host for the week.

Thank you Sarah and Kate for starting this project.


Heather said...

Pizza! Yes! I love pesto on pizza...and didn't even think to share my batch with some dough =(. Well, I suppose I'll just have to make some more because your pizza totally has me craving some. Beautiful!

Lexi said...

Thanks for picking this recipe Heather. I'm going to try it over pasta like you did.

Dominica said...

Your pizza looks so good! It's making me hungry for pizza at 9:45 in the morning. P.S. Can I have your stove? I am so jealous ;)

Lexi said...

Hi Dominica, Thanks for the comment. It was really fun to make pizza for the first time. I usually roast my peppers outside on the BBQ but I think my stove top is actually more powerful. It went really fast when I doubled them up on each burner.

Keelymarie said...

I agree with everyone. That stove is incredible! I have yet to venture into the world of pizza but keep swearing I will.

Lexi said...

Hi Keelymarie, Next time we do pizza I'll make the dough myself. Hopefully we will be better rolling it out. Thanks for the comment on the stove. I really love it, it is so much fun to cook on.

Alyssa @ Everyday Maven said...

Love the pizza idea! Your stove top is gorgeous - I totally want it!!

Megan said...

Looks beautiful! Glad I found your blog and hope to say hi again some time! :)

Margarita said...

I like how you roasted your peppers! Also, I used this pesto as a pizza sauce like you did. So awesome right?

Lexi said...

Hi Alyssa, We thought the pizza was great. Thanks for stopping by!

Lexi said...

Hi Megan, Thanks for stopping by. Hope you come by again.

Are you cooking along with us on the Food Matters Project?

Lexi said...

Hi Margarita, The pizza was so good with the pesto. I liked all the different ways that you used the pesto.

I also roast my peppers on the BBQ, it gives them a great smoky flavor as well.

Cookie and Kate said...

Look at that fabulous grill! I can't wait to try my pesto with goat cheese. Sounds like a wonderful combo!

Kristen said...

Oh my gosh this looks great!! I love the Whole Wheat dough from Trader Joe's too and I can imagine the pizza was amazing! I love the idea of adding the goat cheese as a topping to your pizza rather than in the pesto--thanks for the idea!

Lexi said...

Hi Kate, You will love it with goat cheese. My friend is trying it tonight with feta, should be great.

Lexi said...

Hi Kristen, It was my first time using TJ's dough but it ws really good. I think I'll try Whole Foods and Lazy Acre's to compare. Hope you give it a try.