March 8, 2013

Kale and Sweet Potato Pizza

Somehow, I wound up home from work early. The kitchen beckoned, and without a real plan in place, I grabbed the food processor and my handy How to Cook Everything kitchen Bible. A few minutes later, a recipe of pizza dough (I jazz it up by using 2 cups of spelt flour) was rising on the counter.

The farmer's market trip I'd taken earlier in the week yielded a small bag of organic sweet potatoes (some of them may have been garnet yams). I had kale in the garden, and enough parsley to do something with. Oh, and the broccoli is still producing a little bit at a time.

The idea of pizza with all of these goodies on it became more and more appealing as the hour grew later. The result? A tasty, healthy pizza that wowed even the toughest critic: my husband. His glowing review? "Wow. I did not expect it to be this good."

That's right, the bar is that high.

I loosely based this on a couple of recipes I'd Pinned recently, including this one for sweet potato kale pesto pizza. Here's my spin on it. And really, this is a delightful dinner pizza; I like to use spelt flour to add a slightly sweet, nutty flavor to the crust... And that plays very well with the tangy kale pesto and deep flavors of the roasted vegetables. I'd venture to say this is small-dinner-party worthy, accompanied by a salad topped with a balsamic dressing and a nice wine.

Sweet Potato and Broccoli Pizza with Kale Pesto

If you're making your own crust, be sure to prepare it at least one hour ahead of time. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees, then set to making the pesto.

For the pesto:
2 cups kale, tough stems removed
1 cup fresh parsley, stems removed
juice from 1/2 lemon
4 cloves garlic
extra virgin olive oil (to create your desired consistency; less than 1/2 cup)

In a food processor, combine kale, parsley, lemon juice, and garlic. Process for a minute or two. While the machine is running, slowly pour in the olive oil. Start with 1/4 cup; stop the machine and check the consistency of the pesto. Add more olive oil, a tablespoon at a time, until it is spreadable but not too thin. Set pesto aside.

For the pizza:
1 recipe pizza dough or 1 store-bought crust
1 large or 3 small sweet potatoes, scrubbed clean and cut into very thin slices
2 cups broccoli florets
1/2 onion, sliced thin
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary
1 tablespoon fresh sage
2 tablespoons olive oil
shredded Parmesan cheese

On a baking sheet, toss the vegetables and olive oil. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and herbs. Roast at 400 degrees for 15 minutes, or until the vegetables have caramelized slightly. Remove from the oven and set aside. If you're looking to use fewer dishes, set the veggies on a plate and clean the baking sheet for the pizza.

Increase the oven temperature to 500 degrees. Sprinkle cornmeal on the baking sheet, and stretch the dough out until it's about 1/4 inch thick (or thinner, depending on how you like your pizza crust!). Prick it all over with a fork. Spread the pesto on the dough, and top with the roasted vegetables. Sprinkle shredded Parmesan over the top (liberally or not), and bake 10 minutes, or until the crust is golden.