This is another one of those “I have veggies in the fridge that I really need to use but I’m not sure what to do with them” recipes.
I don’t always think that broccoli and tomatoes go that well together frankly. And although I love veggie pizzas (spinach, eggplant, olives, zucchini—yum!), I don’t really like broccoli on pizza that much. Broccoli rabe, yes, but plain old broccoli? Nah…
There’s just something that tastes off to me about plain broccoli on pizza. Maybe it’s because I’m not particularly fond of raw broccoli. And when you put raw broccoli on pizza and then put it in the oven, it doesn’t quite cook enough and tastes a bit bitter. Maybe it’s that sulpherous quality that broccoli tends to have – it just doesn’t quite get cooked out enough when put raw on pizza.
But I thought if I made a pesto out of the broccoli and used that as a base instead of tomato sauce, that would be a way for me to use my broccoli, combine it with tomatoes in a way that made sense and satisfy a pizza craving I was having.
I didn’t feel like going the extra mile to make my own crust and have to deal with rising yeast, so I just bought a bag of ready made fresh dough at Whole Foods. At my Whole Foods, they actually had both a multigrain crust and a whole wheat crust available in addition to the plain old white crust, so I decided to go more healthy and get the multigrain crust. I thought it was actually pretty good, but then I’m one of those weird people whose been putting whole wheat flour into pizza crust since the late 70s/early 80s!
I felt like adding olives to this pizza, but if you’re not into olives, obviously leave them off!
Broccoli Pesto, Tomato, Olive and Fresh Mozzarella Pizza
1-2 crowns broccoli, cut into florets
1 c. basil
¼ c. pine nuts
¼ c. olive oil
2-3 cloves garlic
¼ c. parmesan cheese
½ c. chicken broth
12-15 cherry tomatoes, halved
10-12 olives, sliced
Handful fresh basil leaves
4-5 bocconcini mozzarella, sliced
1) Boil broccoli florets in 4-5 cups of water until tender.
2) Put basil, pine nuts, olive oil and garlic to blender or food processor. Puree.
3) Add broccoli to blender, along with broth, parmesan and seasonings. Blend until smooth and somewhat thick in texture. If you want a thinner texture, add more broth or some of the broccoli water.
4) Preheat oven to 475°. Prepare dough on pizza pan or stone. When you’ve shaped the dough, bake for 5 minutes.
5) After pre-baking dough, spread broccoli pesto on dough as you would with a sauce.
6) Layer cheese, tomatoes, basil leaves and olives on top of pesto covered dough.
7) Bake for 12-15 minutes or until cheese has reached the level of meltiness or brownness you desire.
Make sure to salt the pesto and taste it before hand. I felt like mine needed a bit of salt after eating it. You can avoid this by being a good taster unlike me!
You’ll likely have a good amount of the broccoli pesto leftover, so obviously it would make a great topping for pasta, which you can also top with some fresh cherry tomatoes! Or freeze it and save for the middle of the winter when you’re craving pesto and there’s no fresh basil to be had at the store!
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