White Pizza with Garlic-Olive-Basil Pesto (31 Days: Day 6)

I love pizza of just about every kind. (I know, I told you that yesterday. I just REALLY LOVE pizza.) Thin crust, thick crust, regular crust. Pepperoni, cheese, supreme, veggie, Hawaiian, Chicken Bacon Artichoke (from Papa Murphy's - seriously delicious). I love this pizza, as well.

Both the sauce and toppings in today's post were born out of necessity. I have a very dear friend with a delicate stomach. She can't eat pizza with loads of tomato-based sauce on it. Her family was joining us for dinner one night, and I wanted to serve homemade pizza. I searched the internet for inspiration. This sauce is the result of that dilemma. The toppings are the result of needing something that would taste good with the sauce.

The sauce is a Garlic-Olive-Basil Pesto that is super easy to whip up, but it seems like you took longer to prepare it. I was making a garlic basil pesto to use as my sauce. I had already opened a can of what I thought were sliced black olives to top the pizzas with. What I discovered when I looked into the can was that I had actually opened a can of chopped olives. Have you ever seen canned chopped olives? They're chopped into such tiny pieces they should be classified as minced olives. Now I was stuck with olives that wouldn't work so great for topping pizza with, but I couldn't bear to throw them away. I threw them into my mini food processor with the rest of my pesto ingredients. It turned out great, if you like garlic and black olives. I'm sure if you hate olives (or garlic) you could leave either out and it would be fine, though you may have to use less olive oil if you do. I don't think I would recommend leaving both out, as I don't think this would work quite so well if you do. (Or maybe I'm wrong. If you try it and like it, let me know!)

Anyway, I'll quit yammering and get to the recipe now.

For the pesto, you'll need a can of chopped olives, dried basil, some minced garlic (I'm trying to use up this store-bought-in-a-jar minced garlic, so that's what I used for this. I'll be so glad when it's all gone.) and some olive oil. And a food processor or blender would make this a lot easier. (But you could get by without one if you had to. Just throw everything but the oil on a cutting board and mince it all together really well, then put it in a bowl with the oil and stir it up.)

Put everything into the food processor or blender together. That's right, everybody into the pool.

Put the lid on it and give it a whirl or ten, until all the garlic and olives are cut up into teeny, tiny pieces and everything is mixed together real well.

That's it. Your pesto is now ready to spread on a pizza crust.

This is so good on white pizza, with tomatoes, onions, mushrooms and chopped baby spinach. I think it would go great on several other kinds of pizza. It would also be good made with roasted garlic and used as a dipping sauce for breadsticks or pizza crust.

Now, for the pizza toppings for our white pizza. You'll need some shredded cheese (I used Great Value Fiesta blend; it's my go-to all-purpose shredded cheese), canned sliced mushrooms, fresh diced tomatoes, chopped onions and chopped baby spinach. Plus your garlic-olive-basil pesto and pre-baked pizza crusts. (If you want to try making your own pizza crust, you can find my recipe for handmade pizza crust here.)

Spread the pesto onto your crust. Try to get a nice, even coating of olives and garlic over the entire crust.

Add all your veggies.

Add the cheese.

Bake at 425 degrees until your crust is done and cheese is all bubbly and melty and gooey. Like pizza cheese should be.

 That't it. You could swap this up and include any toppings you like. Artichokes and roasted chicken would be delicious with the pesto. So would just cheese, or cheese and tomatoes.

To recap:

Garlic-Olive-Basil Pesto
3 Tablespoons minced garlic in oil (or enough minced garlic cloves to make three tablespoons)
3 Tablespoons canned chopped olives (which equals out to less than a 4.25 ounce can)
1 Tablespoon dried basil
1 Tablespoon olive oil (you may need a little more than this if you use fresh garlic)

1. If using fresh garlic, mince into super-fine pieces.

2. Place all ingredient into food processor or blender and pulse until pesto is well mixed and emulsified.

White Pizza
2 large pizza crusts
Garlic-Olive-Basil Pesto sauce
1-2 tomatoes, diced
1 small onion, diced
1 (13.25 ounce) can mushrooms
1 cup chopped spinach
1 1/2 - 3 cups shredded cheese (depending on how much cheese you like on your pizza)

1. Spread pesto evenly over pizza crusts.

2. Add other toppings in even layers.

3. Top with shredded cheese.

4. Bake at 425 degrees for 10-20 minutes, or until pizza crusts are done and cheese is melted.

So easy, yet so good. The pesto is really just one step, unless you count opening cans and jars. The pizza is just four steps after you make the pesto. if you choose to make your own pizza crusts, you can prep everything else while the dough is rising and pre-baking. Since I began making pizza at home, we rarely go out for pizza. It's just that good.

What toppings do you think would go well with the pesto sauce?


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