Pineapple & Pesto Caprese Pizza
Oh, hi there!
Yes, I know what you may be thinking: either, 1) who the heck are you, again? or, 2) You're still around? Maybe you're even thinking a combination of the two! I realize that it's been a while since I've checked in and we talked about quinoa & cheese and thunderstorms; getting ready to move across the country tends to do that to you, and I'm sure the next couple of weeks will be even more busy than the last few. That tends to happen when life is changing into something completely new and unfamiliar around you. But hey, it's supposed to be an adventure, right? And you can meet that adventure with terror and heaviness, or you can meet it with wide open arms and a couple pairs of fuzzy socks (for when those nervous butterflies do decide to show up and ask you what the heck you think you're doing moving away from everyone and everything you know). I choose wide open arms and fuzzy socks--join our team, we have fresh-baked chocolate chip cookies! And if that's not incentive to you, than we don't want you anyways (kidding, all are welcome on team life adventure + fuzzy socks).
More on the big move later on. It's less than a week away, but I'm pretending it's not because quite frankly there's still an overwhelming amount of stuff I need to get done between now and then. Who knew moving was so stressful? (Okay, everybody knows that.). Instead, I'm going to focus on something else exciting happening in the next few days: my brother is coming to visit for the 4th of July! And there are only two things he requested not to eat for while he's home: pizza and hamburgers.
Now, you might be thinking any number of things after hearing a shocking statement like that. Is he sane? Does he require assistance and intensive food-related rehab? Is that a secret code for something more along the lines of "give me all the pizza and hamburgers?" Is it opposite day?
Here, let me step in to defend him. Does anyone remember cafeteria food? What about college meal plan cafeteria food? It doesn't exactly get a good rap on a normal basis (depending on the university, of course). Now picture that food during the summer, when the smaller amount of students present means that options are severely more limited than normal. Does it sound in any way tempting? In summary, Jake has been subsisting off of little else besides pizza and hamburgers for the past few months straight with little reprieve, so I think we can afford him some understanding for his odd request.
Now that we have that settled, what did I decide to make? Oh, right: PIZZA--duh. Just because people say stupid things doesn't mean we have to cater to them. (Love ya, Jake-o!).
The summer solstice, the fact that we have four flourishing basil plants right now, and the recent beautiful weather have gotten me in a rather summery state of mind. And what's more summery than caprese? Pineapple, that's what. So I figured, let's slap the two together, pop them on a pesto pizza, and call it a day. Or night. Or 8:00AM. I'm not going to judge your pizza-eating habits.
I'm not sure if you've ever had pineapple pesto pizza before, but it's something I discovered at my own college cafeteria. They used to make these flatbreads where you could pick and choose your own sauce and ingredients on Mondays, and let me tell you: Flatbread Mondays were the absolute best. They discontinued that event when they upgraded to their new dining hall, and I've never quite forgiven them. But I'm straying from the topic at hand: pineapple + pesto + pizza = triple P perfection. The fresh burst of juicy pineapple mixed with the herby greenness of basil and the pungent, flavorful drizzle of olive oil makes for one delicious bite, and I've been hooked from the moment I first requested that combination four years ago in a noisy campus cafeteria.
I realize that pineapple on a pizza is a rather controversial thing. So if you're Team No-Pineapple, feel free to remove the pineapple from your pizza, and I'll try to find it in my heart to forgive you by Christmastime. If you're intelligent and glorious and just plain swell, then you're on Team Pineapple already and we'll have no problems. Party on, you pineapple pizza loving angel, you. No but really, pizzas are made to be personalized, so of course rearrange it so that you'll actually enjoy it and it'll give you that fresh, carefree, summer vibe you're going for.
Besides my unconditional love for and devotion to pineapple--both on and off pizza--there's another reason I'm harping on this magical tropical fruit right now. Get out your magnifying glass, Nancy Drew (or Frank and Joe Hardy, but Nancy's my gal so I'm partial): this pineapple is a clue to where I'll be moving. Any guesses?!
I used store-bought pizza crust for this pizza, but feel free to make your own because it will be wildly healthier without all that extra crap packed in. However, sometimes you just want a meal that takes 30 minutes max from start to finish and I'm completely there with you, and then store-bought pizza crust is your jam. I did make homemade pesto, and I'd highly suggest doing this because it takes five minutes or less and tastes infinitely better; I'm convinced that there is little else more magnificent than homemade pesto. But once again, if you want easy-peasy, then to the sauce aisle you go, and I will wave you merrily on your way!
Pineapple & Pesto Caprese Pizza
Makes: 2-3 large slices, or 12 small slices
Takes: 30 minutes
- 1 pizza dough crust
- 1 jar of pesto, or 1 batch homemade pesto (like this recipe)
- 3/4 cup pineapple, diced
- 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1 & 1/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese (more or less as desired)
- A few fresh basil leaves
- Coarse sea salt
- Preheat oven to 425°. Put pizza stone in oven to warm as the oven preheats. Note: If you don't have a pizza stone, use a baking sheet.
- Make pesto, if homemaking.
- Roll out pizza dough into a flat, square shape.
- Remove pizza stone or baking sheet from oven. Sprinkle a little flour over the surface, and then carefully transfer the dough over to the stone, keeping its shape intact.
- Using a spoon, ladle pesto over dough and spread around, leaving a 1/2 inch gap around the edges to serve as the crust.
- Sprinkle a layer of mozzarella cheese over the pesto (as much cheese as is personally desired).
- Cut cherry tomatoes in half and arrange on the pizza, cut-side down to prevent rolling.
- Dice pineapple, and arrange on the pizza.
- Sprinkle on a little more mozzarella, and then arrange a few whole, fresh basil leaves on top.
- Sprinkle pizza with a little coarse sea salt.
- Place in oven and bake for 10-12 minutes, or until crust is golden brown and done.
- Remove from oven and cut into 2 or 3 large, rectangular slices--or, cut into 12 small, square slices.