Pizza Pesto, Zucchini & Flowers, introduces a wonderful vegetable blossom to the mix on a deliciously baked pizza. Sweet zucchini and zucchini flowers meet a bold and incredible arugula pesto on a crispy Italian thin crust!
Song of the day: "Harvest Moon" by Neil Young.
Pizza Pesto, Zucchini & Flowers, takes one of our favorite foods to incredible new heights making our pizza night a thing to remember.
Pizza is one of those foods that everyone loves. Its diversity in ingredients and textures makes it a wonderful crowd pleaser whether you are a carnivore or vegetarian. For Nicoletta and I, pizza is our favorite. Every week Nicoletta gets to making the dough and by night's end, we have usually had three different types.
This year with the garden doing what it is doing, meaning producing like crazy, we have been blessed with many vegetables and in particular zucchini and zucchini blossoms. Every time I talk about zucchini blossoms, most people get this bewildered look on their faces but I assure them that they are a wonderful treat and one that we wait for from late fall till summer. I have been harvesting around twenty flowers a week and we have been enjoying them battered and fried, sliced and sauteed with zucchini and onions and tossed in a wonderful pasta dish. Finally, we celebrated these blossoms by making Pizza Pesto, Zucchini & Flowers.
As you can see above we also had some yellow zucchini we picked up from Graham at Sparrow's Nest Organics. This type of zucchini adds a nice sweetness to the mix along with some color to keeps things interesting. The true star of this show is the zucchini flowers. One thing I can share with you about these blossoms is that they demand a gentle touch. You have to open them up gently and take the pistil out of them. Then gently wash with cold water, let the excess water drip out of the inside and place on a paper towel lined dish to dry. If storing in the fridge put into a plastic ziplock, but make sure to use them up in a few days as they start to wilt and discolor. Best to use them right away.
Before the zucchini rounds went on, we had an arugula pesto in the freezer that we thawed and spread onto the pizza dough leaving that nice border around the edges. Then a sprinkling of some of the grated Asiago cheese. Nicoletta did a wonderful job placing this zucchini onto the dough. We used up the smaller zucchini for this pizza and also a good hint if you are going to do this in the oven on a pan, make sure to oil it well with some good e.v.o. oil. Number one, it helps to stretch the dough, and number two, it will keep the pizza from sticking to the pan. Plus, it makes that crust so crispy and golden not to mention delicious! Oh, I forgot to mention, we tossed the zucchini in a good quality olive oil extra virgin of course and some fine sea salt, fresh cracked pepper, dried oregano. To finish things off, on go the zucchini flowers, some fresh basil leaves, a sprinkling of good feta cheese, some more black pepper and a drizzle of the e.v.o. oil, a sprinkling of lemon zest fleur de sel.
This baby is ready for that hot oven. Ours is usually preheated to 430 degrees F.
When the moon hits your eye like a Pizza Pesto, Zucchini & Flowers Pie, that's Amore!
Does this pie not say harvest time? The colors and texture so vibrant and that shimmer of the olive oil and those nice spicy accents of freshly cracked pepper. I can't wait to taste this. Into the oven, you go! With the oven nice and hot it won't take long to cook this pizza. HINT: If you are going to do this on a pizza stone, have that stone in the oven pre-heating. When preparing the pizza sprinkle some coarse semolina onto your pizza paddle. This will allow your pizza to slide off and onto the stone. I would have to say the only thing with this method is you have to work fast as that dough will incorporate that semolina and then attach itself to the pizza paddle meaning some trouble getting it off and on your stone. Another way I have done pizza is on the BBQ. I first place the pizza right on the grill, let it cook a bit then turn it over and place it on a plate, do my topping, then slide it right off onto the grill again. Some helpful hints preheat that BBQ to a nice 550° F then turn the heat right down. Make sure to keep checking the bottom of the pizza to make sure it is not burning. You should see a nice golden color start to happen with some nice grill marks.
For today, in the oven it goes.
After some checking to make sure the bottom is nice and golden, out comes Pizza Pesto, Zucchini & Flowers, and boy it looks fantastic. The zucchini has caramelized, the flowers have a nice deep color with some crispy edges. The crust is nice and lightly golden and crispy, but the true test is a taste! I love that sound, crunch, the crust is perfect and has that melt in your mouth delicious flavor. The zucchini so sweet and tender and those blossoms adding another element of texture to the combination, along with its sweet notes and natural sugars nicely candied on the surface of those petals. The cheeses are perfect, one holding the fort together and another giving wonderful bright and zesty flavors to the top. That pesto is a perfect foundation of freshness and just love the arugula flavor with the blossoms and vegetables.
This Pizza Pesto, Zucchini & Flowers has easily come to the front-running as a winner for summer pizza flavors from its lovely harvest colors, to its wonderful earthy sweetness and right down to crispy meets tender cheesy toppings.
Make tonight Pizza Night at your house and get those blossoms off your zucchini plants. Hint: take the ones that grow on thin stems, not the ones on the ends of the growing zucchini.