Thursdays have perhaps become my favorite day of the week. Not because it’s one day before Friday, which means the weekend is fast approaching. Not because it’s when a new episode of Parenthood airs (which is pretty great though, let’s be real). But because Thursday afternoon is when our towns mall parking lot transforms into a sea of pop-up canopies filled with local farm vendors offering a wide variety of fresh produce. They have any and everything from juicy strawberries to funky romanesco broccoli. What caught my eye this week, though, was peppery arugula and creamy fontina cheese.
As I mentioned before my backyard garden is exploding with beets, which led me to get creative and come up with a beet green pesto. Traditional pesto welcomes beet greens and creates a collaboration of both wonderful flavors. This pesto truly tastes like the regular pesto we all know and love, but also allows us to utilize a part of the beet that often gets thrown out. We aren’t wasting a thing!
Pizza dough gets rolled out and spread with pesto, covered with slices of rich and creamy fontina cheese, doused with sweet caramelized onions, and topped with a few beet chips from my last post because we’re rad and like to go full circle. (Also atop of pizza, they resemble faux pepperoni which is totally cool.) Once these sweet babies come out of the oven, we top with a drizzle of truffle oil and a handful of arugula, for you know, balance. If you feel the need to eat this pizza alone in a dark, candle lit room, I get it. I wont tell.
Beet Green Pesto
1 cup basil
1 cup beet greens, stems removed
2 cloves garlic
1/4 cup toasted walnuts
1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
scant 1/4 cup olive oil
In a food processor or blender, add basil, beet greens, garlic, walnuts, and parmesan cheese. Pulse until finely ground. Slowly stream in olive oil while blending. Remove from food processor and store in an airtight container or freeze until later use.
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2-3 medium white onions
In a heavy bottomed pot, melt butter over medium heat. Add thinly sliced onions and reduce heat to medium low, stirring occasionally until caramelized. This should take anywhere from 30-40 minutes. We want the onions to caramelize, NOT brown. If you notice the onions are getting too much color, reduce heat immediately. When finished, the onions will have a deep brown, but not burnt color.
prepared pizza dough
beet green pesto
sliced fontina cheese
prepared beet chips
Preheat oven to 450. Lightly four work surface and roll out pizza dough into desired size. Transfer to a baking sheet and brush on beet green pesto. You don’t want to use too much or your pizza will be oily. Next, layer on fontina cheese and top with caramelized onions and sliced beets. Bake for about 15-20 minutes or until cheese is melted and the dough is fully cooked. When done, drizzle on a bit of truffle oil and top with arugula. I like to add a tiny drizzle of olive oil and a slight squeeze of lemon to the arugula before topping on the pizza.
This would be an excellent item to serve at a dinner party and although there are quite a few steps, it’s super easy to assemble and bakes up in no time at all. Beet chips, caramelized onions, and pesto can all be made in advance and stored in the refrigerator until ready for assembly.
note: if preparing onions ahead of time, you will need to reheat in a pan in order for the butter to melt and onions to go back into sticky caramelized goodness.