Friday, November 22, 2013

Mortadella and Pistachio Pesto Pizza

It's no secret my favorite way to consume meals is via sandwich.  I love me a good sammy, and of course the classic BLT is numero uno.  In my top five favorites of all time is the Monster from Hero's Submarine Sandwich Shop.  This place is my go to sub shop in Chicago, and there are plenty of good ones to choose from.  The Monster is my usual, piled into a local Turano hero roll is swiss, provolone, mortadella, salami, ham, pepperoni, lettuce, tomato, pickle, extra onion, oregano and oil.  It's so damn tasty- especially the mortadella.  If you're not familiar, mortadella is basically sliced pork sausage that is heat-cured and seasoned.  The wife doesn't love it, so her half of the pistachio pesto pizza had slices of salami. 

Pesto (especially on a pizza) is such a versatile food.  It can be made from so many different ingredients, substituting various herbs and nuts.  The classic pesto calls for pine nuts, but since they are on par with gold in terms of cost per ounce, I mostly use toasted walnuts.  But for this version, we're using the always delicious pistachio.  Have you had this yet?

Are you ready for the big T-Day?  You know, the holiday that puts gorging on food the highlight (besides, you know, being thankful for stuff) of the occasion?  How are you going to cook the bird this year if going with the conventional protein?  Anything new or daring or sticking to the familiar?  Need help

This year, the main turkey (the secondary, usual grocery store-variety brined and grilled bird will be for leftovers) will have lived a happy life running around outdoors on a local farm, eating insects and enjoying the outdoors and growing to become a delicious feast for my Thanksgiving dinner table.  The Hoka turkey is advertised to be much more flavorful than a mass-produced bird due to its lifestyle, so this year we are going basic- turkey, a little canola oil, salt and pepper.  I'll refrain from the usual cavity flavors of onion, celery, lemon, rosemary and thyme.  We won't make a compound butter of sage, thyme, garlic, and gently place that between the skin and the breast.  It's all about the pure turkey flavor this year, no helpers. 

What dish do you look forward to the most?  For me, it's the stuffing.  Closely followed by leftover cold turkey sammiches with mayo and lots of black pepper. 

The garden is a tad cold for basil this time of year, so instead of spending $4 on a tiny ass portion of basil in plastic box from Mexico I prefer to buy the pureed basil in the tube.  It tastes pretty good for processed food, and is super easy for making pesto in winter. 

I just found my preferred grocer carries bags of shelled, roasted and salted pistachios.  Exactly the amount I need for this recipe.  And at $6.50 a bag, it's cheaper than paying $8 per lb including shells, so that's an easy decision. 

Mortadella and Pistachio Pesto Pizza

1 pizza crust (recipe here)

for the pesto-
4 TB basil puree or 1.5 C fresh basil leaves
1/2 C fresh Italian parsley
1.5 C shelled pistachios, roasted and salted
3 medium cloves garlic
1 ts lemon zest
pinch freshly cracked black pepper
~2/3 C EVOO
3/4 C good parmigiano reggiano

for the pizza-
1 pizza crust (recipe here)
3 oz thinly sliced mortadella, sliced into 1/2" ribbons
8 oz ball fresh mozzarella, 1/4" slices

Preheat your oven with a pizza stone to 500°F for at least 30-45 minutes, 60 is preferred.  Now that it's winter, there's no problem in heating up the kitchen. 

In the bowl of your food processor, add the basil, parsley, pistachio, garlic, lemon zest, and pepper.  Pulse a dozen times or so to break up the nuts and get everything loving each other.  Flip the switch to on and add the oil in a steady stream until you reach your desired consistency, about 2/3 C.  Add the king of cheeses, parm-reg, and pulse a couple times to mix. 

Stretch or roll out your dough on a clean work surface and once into something that resembles a pie shape, place onto your pizza peel sprinkled with corn meal or flour for release purposes.  Evenly spread the pesto on the dough, there may be a few TB leftover which will be repurposed with love.  Add the slices of mozzarella and then top with your mortadella. 

Slide the pizza off your peel onto the pizza stone and bake for about 10 minutes, until the crust is nicely browned and the cheese is bubbly and delicious.  Let sit for 5 minutes until you can't stand it anymore, then slice and enjoy.


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