Another Weird Pizza

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What can I say, I’m a sucker for a weird pizza. Pizza day, which also happened to be sandwich day, was one of my favorite days of culinary school. Did you know pizza is a sandwich? I didn’t. I suppose it makes total sense really, as a pizza is nothing more than an open-faced sandwich. Interesting, huh? A little pizza/sandwich trivia for your Sunday. Anyway back to weird pizzas…

I believe this will be the fourth pizza to make the blog. I must REALLY like pizza. This is actually kind of news to me, I wouldn’t have pegged myself as a such a pizza-lover. Then again, maybe it’s not the pizza as much as it is all of the fun things you can do with it. Topping options are endless and I always have a lot of fun coming up with new combinations. In the past I’ve raved about my Brussels Sprouts Pita Pizzas and my Meyer Lemon Pizza, and both are out of this world! Save the Brussels until next winter, but definitely put the Meyer Lemon Pizza on your to-eat list ASAP. It’s fun. Add this one to the list as well…Roasted Broccoli and Red Grape Pizza with Ricotta and Pine Nuts. Whoa that’s a lot going on. Too much? No, I don’t think so. Is there ever too much of a good thing?

Roasted Broccoli? Good.

Roasted Grapes? Gooooood. (I can hear you doubting this, but I promise, it is!)

Ricotta cheese and pine nuts? Double good.

Put it all together on a store-bought crust and call it a pizza. I did, and it was yummy! Actually, I made mini pizzas which was even better because everything mini is more fun. Kellan loved it! Truthfully, he just pulled off all of the “broccoli trees” and ate them, but I still consider that a win.

This pizza is a really great meatless meal that will still leave the family feeling satisfied and full. It would also make a fancy little appetizer for your next dinner party or get together…your friends and family will be so impressed, as it’s just as pretty as it is tasty. I hope you’ll try it soon!

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Roasted Broccoli and Red Grape Pizza with Ricotta and Pine Nuts

1 bag broccoli florets
2 cups red seedless grapes
extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
salt and pepper, to taste
2-3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar, to taste
zest of 1 lemon
1/2 cup pine nuts, toasted
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
16 oz. part skim ricotta cheese
3 mini Boboli pizza crusts or 2 regular size

  1. Preheat the oven to 425.
  2. On one sheet pan, drizzle broccoli florets with extra virgin olive oil and salt and pepper. On another sheet pan, drizzle the grapes with extra-virgin olive oil, salt and pepper and a splash of balsamic vinegar.
  3. Add the broccoli to the oven and roast until it starts to char, 20-25 minutes. When there are approximately 10 minutes left for the broccoli, add the sheet pan of grapes to the oven and roast until they start to wither and burst.
  4. Meanwhile, spread the ricotta over the pizza crust(s) in an even layer, leaving a 1/2 inch around the border.
  5. Remove broccoli and grapes from the oven. Toss broccoli with the lemon zest. Top pizzas evenly with the broccoli, grapes and pine nuts. Bake for approximately 5 minutes to warm cheese and crust.
  6. Slice and serve.

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Roasted Broccoli Pesto Pasta

Since I’ve already confessed my love of pasta to you guys, I figured it would be helpful to also share my favorite pasta sauce. You can cover pasta in almost anything…tomato sauce, meat sauce, cream sauce, cheese sauce, a light olive oil based sauce…or even a combination of a few of these. Anything goes! However, my personal favorite thing to douse my noodles in, is pesto.

Pesto is an herbaceous green sauce traditionally made up of basil, toasted pine nuts, parmesan cheese, garlic and extra-virgin olive oil. Throw all of those ingredients into a food processor and pulse away. YUM! Some people take one look at anything green and think it can’t possibly taste good. Not true, my friend. My dad is actually the perfect example of such a person. I made some pesto to go over a beef dish we had the other night and he was really unenthused about trying it. Green sauce? On beef? Pass the steak sauce, please. Luckly, one bite in he became a believer. I think I even saw him attempt to lick his plate clean…sorry Dad.

I love pesto because it makes me feel like I’m eating super light even when good old carbs are hiding out under all of that herby goodness. So what? At least I’m getting my veggies.

My latest pesto creation is even more exciting because it actually takes some veggies that are REALLY good for you and yet REALLY boring, and turns them into a flavorful and super healthy pasta topping. Yay for “healthy” and “pasta” to be found in the same sentence!

Roasted Broccoli Pesto Pasta is an awesome way to sneak veggies into a meal for a picky eater, but it’s also just a really fun way to enjoy your broccoli a little bit more than usual. Roasting makes anything taste better, but it has an especially awesome effect on broccoli. The crispy little brown bits give your pesto a deep, nutty flavor that you can’t achieve with simple pine nuts. The rest of the pesto recipe remains true to tradition, and is combined with a hearty whole-wheat penne pasta and cherry tomatoes. Serve as-is or top with pan-seared chicken breast. Enjoy!

broccolipesto

Ingredients:

1 package fresh broccoli florets
4 garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced
lemon, zested
1⁄2 cup extra virgin olive oil, plus more for roasting
1⁄2 cup basil
1⁄2 cup pine nuts (toast them quickly in a dry sauté pan if you have time) 1⁄2 cup freshly grated parmesan
salt and pepper, to taste
1 package whole wheat penne pasta
1 pint cherry tomatoes

  1. Spread broccoli and garlic out on rimmed cookie sheet or roasting pan. Drizzle with salt, pepper, and olive oil.
  2. Roast broccoli 20 to 25 minutes at 425.
  3. Remove broccoli from oven and allow to cool slightly.
  4. Put roasted broccoli, basil, pine nuts, parmesan and lemon zest in a food

    processor. Turn on and slowly drizzle in extra virgin olive oil until pesto forms. You want the pesto to be thin enough to cover pasta like a sauce, but not so thinned out that it gets oily. Add more EVOO if needed to achieve this consistency.

  5. Season pesto with salt and pepper as needed.
  6. Toss pesto with cooked pasta and cherry tomatoes. Serve.