Ever since I returned from Italy 6 months ago, I find myself craving pizza more and more. It only makes sense given that I discovered what true pizza should really taste like. The best pizzas, in my opinion, have high-quality ingredients for the toppings and a chewy, well-flavored crust. It took months for me to successfully create a pizza dough that I am proud of (check out my white sourdough pizza post!) so now comes the fun part of choosing the toppings! Today's feature is a simple but incredibly tasty arugula pesto pizza with broccolini, potato, and red chili. Yes, I did go the vegetarian route, but this pizza is so flavorful that it doesn't need sausage or pepperoni. If you don't believe me, give it a try!
Arugula Pesto Pizza with Broccolini, Potato and Red Chili
- 1 garlic clove minced
- 2 cups arugula
- ½ cup almonds toasted
- ½ cup grated parmesan
- ¾ cup olive oil
- salt and pepper
- 12- inch pizza crust
- 4 ounces broccolini
- 1 large yukon potato
- 2 ounces fresh mozzarella
- 2 teaspoon red chili flakes
- ½ cup grated parmesan plus additional for serving
- Preheat oven to 500 degrees F. Preheat pizza stone for 30 minutes if using or a baking sheet pan flipped upside for 10 minutes.
- Prepare the arugula pesto. Blend together all of the ingredients (garlic – olive oil) until smooth. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside.
- Bring a medium pot of water to a boil. Season with salt and add the broccolini. Cook for 2-3 minutes or until tender. Drain the broccolini and immediately place in an ice bath. Drain and set aside.
- Slice the yukon potato into ¼ inch thick slices. Place in a medium pot with cold water. Season the water with salt and bring to a boil, covered. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for about 10 minutes or until the potatoes are fork tender but not mushy. Drain.
- Assemble the pizza. Roll out the pizza dough into a 12-inch circle. Spread the arugula pesto on the dough and top with torn mozzarella, broccolini, and yukon potatoes. Season with salt, pepper, and red chili flakes. Sprinkle the grated parmesan on top and bake the pizza for 5 minutes. Switch the oven to broiler on high and broil for 2 minutes or until the top is browned and bubbly. Remove from heat and finish the pizza with extra parmesan. Serve immediately.
**Helpful tips and common mistakes
This arugula pesto pizza can come together very quickly, and even quicker if you make the toppings the day before. Start by making the arugula pesto. Normally you use basil, pine nuts, parmesan or grana padana, garlic, and olive oil to make pasta. Nowadays, you can find many variations of this amazing condiment, swapping out the basil for other herbs and the nuts for pistachios, walnuts, almonds, you name it. I decided to make an arugula pesto because I love fresh arugula on top of my pizzas. Blend together all of the ingredients for the pesto until smooth and season with salt and pepper. One note I should make is to toast the almonds before adding them. Toasted nuts taste infinitely better than raw nuts because the natural oils are released and the flavor of the nut is enhanced.
Blanch the broccolini until tender and cook the potato slices until they can easily be pierced with a fork. If you do not cook the vegetables beforehand, they will not have enough time to cook when the pizza is in the oven.
I prepared the sourdough pizza dough from my previous post but a regular pizza dough will also work. You can also skip the hassle and buy premade pizza dough because sometimes you just don't have the time right, am I right?
Use your fingers to roll out the pizza dough into a 12-inch circle. Do not use a rolling pin or you will pop all the lovely air bubbles inside the dough! Spread the pesto on top followed by the mozzarella, broccolini, potatoes, and parmesan. Season with salt, pepper, and red chili flakes. Bake in the oven at the highest temperature until the pizza is browned and bubbly. If your oven can reach 550 or 525 degrees F, I do recommend baking it at a higher temperature. Pizza ovens are typically 800 degrees Fahrenheit so we want to try to get as close to that as possible, even if it's only 550 degrees F.
Finish the pizza with a little more parmesan and dig in. I already knew that this arugula pesto pizza was going to be a hit but I didn't realize how much so. It seems so simple, just pesto, broccolini and potatoes, right? But the combination is unbeatable and the pesto just really takes it to the top. Stay tuned for my next pizza, which I am very excited about!
For more pizza inspiration, check out this avocado tomato pizza!