Monday, June 15, 2009

Endless possibilities

One of my favorite things about this time of year is the wonderful weather...I'm still waiting for it. The best part of the summer is all the fresh veggies that grow in the garden. During the summer months my family very rarely buys produce because we have most of it growing in the back yard. Home grown veggies taste 100x better than anything you will find in the store. Just go out back pluck it and cook it. Cheap and delicious. Two of my favorite words.
While I'm still waiting for mother nature to get her lazy butt out of bed and start shining some sun on my dwindling garden I'm still roaming the produce isle. Basil is by far one of my favorite herbs. Its starts out slow but then overnight you will start to see an explosion of beautiful green leaves in you beds. Always keep it trimmed and when you have to much to use just wash them and stash them in the freezer for the cooler months. Basil will give anything you cook a great flavor. With out Basil I wouldn't have one of my favorite summer foods; PESTO. You can put it on anything from Chicken to Fish to Pasta to Bread to Steaks to Pancakes (just checking to see if you are still paying I think I'm going to play with the idea of pesto pancakes hmmm...). You can make it thin or thick as a paste or dip. The possibilities are endless.

Pesto White Pizza with Chicken
(makes 2 pies)
2 large chicken breast (great use leftover chicken)
Pesto Sauce (recipe to follow)
15 oz Ricotta Cheese
16 oz Mozzarella Cheese; grated
2 Pizza Crusts
Olive Oil
Pesto Sauce
3.5 Cups of Basil (divided)
1/2 Cup Olive Oil
1/4 Parmesan Cheese
Hand full of Pine Nuts
2 Cloves of Garlic
For the Pesto Sauce add the Olive oil, Parmesan Cheese, Garlic, Pine Nuts and half of the Basil in to a blender or food processor. Pulse until the basil is smooth. Add the rest of the basil along with a pinch of Salt and Pepper, Pulse until smooth.

Chop the Chicken into bite sized cubes

Drizzle some Olive Oil onto your pizza crust so you get a nice golden brown crunch when you cook it.
Scoop out half of the Ricotta and with a circular motion spread it around the dough evenly. Then with half of the Pesto.
Rinse and repeat for the second pie

Top the Pesto on each pie with the chopped Chicken breasts and the Grated Mozzarella cheese.
Before putting it in your oven LIGHTLY drizzle the top with a little more Olive Oil, a pinch of salt and a few cracks of pepper
If you don't have a Pizza Pan you can take out one of the shelves from your oven and line it with Aluminum Foil.

Bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes.

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