Grilled Lemon Basil Pesto Pizza
The super markets here are all well stacked with merchandise and produce, to satisfy the needs of the cosmopolitan people of the city. A visit to one of these stores triggers off our imagination and inspires us to decide on the dinner menu then and there! On once such taste-bud- inspired occasion, my daughter-in-law picked up a packet of ready made pizza dough and prepared a mouth watering family sized Grilled Lemon Basil Pesto Pizza for us.
Pesto is a kind of 'Italian chutney' or paste that comes from the word pesta meaning to 'pound' or 'crush'. A Pesto is a combination of ingredients -- usually few strong flavored leaves or herbs, some garlic, and olive oil pounded together. At times cheese and nuts are added as well. This flavoursome paste can then be added to a variety of dishes such as pastas, soups or even used as a spread with bread.
To prepare Lemon Basil Pesto
Lemon Basil Leaves – 2 cups
Onion – 1 big
Garlic – 1 clove
Pine nuts – 1 cup
Olive oil – 4 tbsps
Salt and pepper – to taste
1. Gently roast pine nuts and keep aside.
2. Chop onion and garlic.
3. Wash and shred basil.
4. Blend all the ingredients to a coarse paste.
5. Add olive oil, salt and pepper and a dash of limejuice if you like, and give it one more swirl in the blender.
6. Store Pesto in a clean, dry container.
Refrigeration will keep the pesto fresh for up to three days.
To Prepare Pizza Topping
Green bell pepper – 1
Yellow bell pepper – 1
Red bell pepper –1
Onion – 1
Tomatoes – 1 red and 1 yellow
Mushrooms – a few
Jalapeno slices – to taste (If you like it spicy)
Fresh Lemon basil – for garnishing
1. Cut all the peppers into halves.
2. Cut the onions into cubes.
3. Remove the stems from the mushrooms and wash.
4. Clean, grease and pre heat the grill.
5.Arrange the onion cubes on the skewers.
6. Place all the vegetables except the tomato slices directly on the grill
8. Grill the vegetables till they are tender and crisp
9. Cut the grilled peppers and mushrooms into long slices and toss them in a spoon of warm olive oil along with the grilled onions. This makes the vegetables succulent
10. Slice the tomatoes (not very thin ) and set aside.
To Prepare Pizza
Ready-made pizza dough - 1 packet
Pesto and Topping prepared above
Grated Pepper Jack cheese – 1 to 2 cups as required.
2. Place the dough in the middle of the prepared tray and start patting evenly using fingers. Patting the dough on the backside of the tray helps to slide the pizza easily on to the grill.
3. Pat the dough and shape it into an even, moderately thick (about ¾ inches), rectangular or oblong pizza. 4. Gently slide the pizza directly on to the prepared grill, cover and cook, opening to check now and then, till the dough puffs up here and there.
5. Lift up the pizza with a spatula and check if it is brown and crusty enough. 6. When the pizza is done flip it to the other side.
7. Now apply a thick layer of Pesto on top of the pizza. 8. Arrange the grilled and cut vegetables, tomato slices and jalapeno on top. 9. Garnish with freshly chopped up basil.
10. Top the pizza with as much grated cheese as you wish with a sprinkle of pepper and salt.
11. Cover again and cook till the cheese melts.
It is a lot of fun and quality time spent together, when all the family members come together to prepare the huge family sizes Pesto Pizza. We did enjoy every bite of it with a good helping of tomato ketchup, chilly sauce and mustard sauce as desired.