During the week between Christmas and New Year’s, I became friends with the couch again. It had been a while since we’d spent time together, but we caught up and became comfortable pretty quickly. I don’t think I ever got around to napping, but I did read some cookbooks and food magazines and watch some television. As I sat lazily in front of the television one morning, pondering what we should enjoy for food on New Year’s Eve, there was a cooking show on that grabbed my attention. I can’t remember the last time I watched a cooking show and actually wanted to make what the host was making. What I was watching was Alex Guarnaschelli charring broccoli rabe to turn into a chunky pesto with garlic, olive oil, and parmesan. That pesto topped a pizza with cooked mushrooms and sliced, fresh mozzarella, and I liked this idea a lot. Our New Year’s Eve was going to be a simple stay at home affair with fun food like pizza and a couple of other snacks I’ll mention soon, and I immediately decided to steal Alex’s idea for how top our pizzas.
The full recipe found on the FoodNetwork site, involves skillet fried pizza dough. I skipped that step, made pizza dough with whole wheat flour, and baked my pizzas on a stone in a very hot oven. For the pesto, I charred the broccoli rabe in a saute pan with crushed red pepper. When it was tender and browned on the edges, it was transferred to a cutting board and chopped. Then, olive oil was drizzled over it, and minced garlic and grated parmesan were added. Next, sliced crimini mushrooms were sauteed in a small amount of oil. The goal with the mushrooms was to cook them until they were dry. I topped the pizza dough with the pesto, then some sliced mushrooms, and a layer of sliced, fresh mozzarella, and baked it for about 12 minutes. When each pizza came out of the oven, more parmesan was grated on top.
I’m glad I was lazy and sat around watching tv and learned about this pizza. The mushrooms and cheese and chunky pesto combined deliciously on top of the crispy, whole wheat crust. I probably should have chopped my broccoli rabe a little smaller, and I probably wasn’t quite generous enough with the olive oil in the pesto, but that’s ok because I’ll be making this so often I’ll eventually perfect the process. And, what all this really means is that I should start spending more time sitting on the couch.