PYRC #13: Spinach Feta Hummus and Pesto-Based Pizzas

For as much as I love to cook and for as much as I obsessively crave pizza, I'm kind of shocked that I've never made pizza on my own... until last week. I had a vegetarian friend coming over for dinner, I had some interesting recipe pins waiting to be tested, and it was about time to get creative with gourmet pizzas. I planned my menu, grocery shopped, prepped some hummus and pizza dough and BAM, the day of dinner plans, I fell ill, yucky stomach-sick-can't-get-out-of-bed ill. I was WAY too upset that I had to cancel plans that night SO the next day when we had friends coming over for the 4th, I sucked up my sickness and went to pizza trial round 2. Result? I made pesto.... and that's it. Still a bit too shaky to tackle any kind of recipe, our friends left early without even having dinner. So night 3 for me was a final last ditch effort to execute the meal I had started 3 days earlier. Not only was I still sick, but that day Jeff had been hit by the bug as well. So with no company coming over, with no husband to eat, and with a stomach still in recovery mode, I procrastinated for about 2 hours with HGTV before I dragged myself into the kitchen to make what could have been the best pizzas ever.

Pesto-Based Goat Cheese Pizza

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My inspiration for this came from a Grilled Pesto and Goat Cheese Pizza pin from Eat, Live, Run. I didn't really follow the recipe, but I did use the toppings from it: pesto, mushrooms, tomato slices and goat cheese.

The Dough: I actually made the dough from a Four Cheese White Pizza recipe from The Curvy Carrot. While the recipe was easy to make in retrospect, the process at the time was a croaker, and I was beating myself up for not buying ready-made crust. However, homemade dough was totally worth it in the end.

The Pesto: I love making pesto with basil from the backyard. Throw in basil leaves, shredded Parmesan, olive oil, minced garlic, and a pinch of salt into the chopper, and then just blend.

The Mushrooms and Onions: I sautéed these in olive oil, balsamic vinegar and garlic salt until the liquid dissolved and the veggies were soft.

Making the actual pizza: 

1. Preheat oven to 475.
2. Baste one side of rolled out dough with olive oil, garlic powder and oregano.
3. Cook in oven for about 5 minutes.
4. Remove crust from oven, flip over and repeat step 2.
5. Layer pizza with the pesto-base, tomatoes, mushrooms and onions, and goat cheese.
6. Cook for 10 - 15 minutes until crust is light brown but not crispy.
7. Yum!!!

Spinach Feta Hummus-Based Prosciutto Pizza

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For this one, I felt a little more creative, and I fairly give Pinterest no more credit than providing me with a spinach and feta hummus recipe and mere inspiration (kind of like the barbecue sauce inspiration for my Pineapple Bacon BBQ Burger).

The Hummus: Step 1! I tried the Spinach and Feta Hummus recipe from Itsy Bitsy Foodies, using dried chickpeas and not canned (super easy, by the way, if you plan ahead). I hear dried chickpeas totally beat canned.

Easy Toppings: No special prep here. I just used a can of quartered artichoke hearts (drained before using), 1 package of prosciutto, 1 or 2 tomatoes sliced, sliced red onion, crumble feta and some shreds of basil. I actually bought some sun-dried tomatoes for it too, but totally forgot about them until after-the-fact.

Making the actual pizza:
Follow the same steps as used for the pesto-based pizza above, just switching the sauce base and toppings.

Let me note, this whole homemade pizza making thing was quite an elaborate process, and after painfully taste testing my way through umpteen prep and recipe steps (definitely not fun on a weak stomach), I actually had to force myself to taste the pizzas when they were done. And while I only ate approximately one whole square piece (1/2 a piece of each pizza), I was stunned by the result: Mellow Mushroom, Piggy Pie, Home Slice worthy pizza. Yes, I DID IT, and it was really that good! I even woke Jeff out of his sick slumber to tell him I made the best !$#?%@# pizzas ever! All it took was 3 days’ worth of effort and mass kitchen destruction.

Even though we didn't get to enjoy the pies fresh out of the oven, Jeff and I were more than happy to devour the delicious leftovers over the weekend. These bad boys will definitely be on my hit list again.

Now my advice to you... if you love pizza, love to cook and are up for a challenge, get creative and tackle homemade pizza to its fullest (dough and all). If not, save yourself some headache, purchase some ready-made crust and sauce, and then just have fun with your toppings. You can still be just as creative.

Have fun!

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