Thursday, March 7, 2019

Broccoli di Ciccio Pesto Pizza with Grilled Shrimp and Fresh Lemons #FoodieReads


I do not remember who recommended this book: Eleanor Oliphant is completely fine by Gail Honeyman*, but I finally got to it on my nightstand.


On the Page
The book has received a lot of praise, even bearing the stamp of approval for Reese's Book Club. That's Reese Witherspoon. But I definitely felt in the minority while reading it. The namesake protagonist is awkward, but not humorously awkward in my estimation; she is painfully awkward in a cringe-worthy way.

But the book was likable. I didn't think it was mind-blowing or amazing, but it was completely fine. I agree with others that the writing is beautifully written, however, it definitely doesn't qualify as a page turner and I found that I was annoyed with the tedious level of detail that didn't add to the character development. I'm not too interested in the decor of a room unless it adds something to the plot. Otherwise it's just words for words' sake.

I do think that this story will translate well to the big screen as the themes of 'love conquers all' and 'pay kindness forward' are much adored in Hollywood. I won't spoil it, but there is a twist at the end; I did enjoy the final quarter of the book. It's getting there that was a chore. I can also see that this would be good fodder for a book group discussion, but it's not one I would pick up for my own reading enjoyment! Still, I believe this was her breakout novel. I'll pick up subsequent books, depending on the topic.

On the Plate
I briefly flirted with the idea of buying a margherita pizza and some booze based on this passage...

"On Fridays, I don't get the bus straight after work but instead I go to the Tesco Metro around the corner from the office and buy a margherita pizza, some Chianti and two big bottles of Glen's vodka. When I get home, I eat the pizza and drink the wine. I have some vodka afterward. I don't need much on a Friday, just a few big swigs. I usually wake up on the sofa around 3 a.m., and I stumble off to bed. I drink the rest of the vodka over the weekend, spread it throughout both days so that I'm neither drunk nor sober. Monday takes a long time to come around" (pg. 5).

But I ended up finding inspiration in this one...

"I make supper and eat it while I listen to the Archers. I usually have pasta with pesto and salad - one pan and one plate. My childhood was full of culinary contradiction, and I've dined on both hand-dived scallops and boil-in-the-bag cod over the years. After much reflection on the political and sociological aspects of the table, I have realized that I am completely uninterested in food. My preference is for fodder that is cheap, quick and simple to procure and prepare, whilst providing the requisite nutrients to enable a person to stay alive" (pg. 4).

I decided to merge the pasta with pesto idea with pizza. And I used greens I had just gotten in my CSA (community-supported agriculture) box to make broccoli di ciccio pesto. I knew I didn't need an entire pizza to myself, so this was a his-hers pizza. Mine has the pesto, grilled shrimp, and lemon; Jake's side was tomato sauce and all meat! Note that this pizza dough is a fermented dough, so the longer it sits, the more complex the flavor.

Pesto is a sauce that originated in the Ligurian region of northern Italy. Pesto genovese, from Genoa, traditionally consists of crushed garlic, basil, and pine nuts blended with olive oil and Parmigiano Reggiano. The name derives from the Italian verb pestare which means to pound or to crush, referring to the original way of preparing it - with a mortar and pestle. The ingredients in a traditional pesto are ground with a circular motion of the pestle in the mortar. Now I use a food processor. It's much easier! And...I use whatever greens and nuts I happen to have on-hand.

Ingredients

Basic Dough makes 1 large pizza
  • 3 C flour
  • 1/2 t active dry yeast
  • 1 t salt
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 1-1/2 C warm water
Pesto
  • 2 C chopped broccoli de ciccio, blanched
  • 1 C fresh basil, destemmed
  • 4 to 5 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1/2 C whole raw almonds
  • 3/4 C shredded parmesan
  • juice from 1 organic lemon (I used Meyer lemon because my parents have a tree in their backyard)
  • olive oil as needed
Pizza
  • shredded provolone
  • pesto 
  • grilled shrimp
  • blanched broccoli di ciccio
  • thinly sliced organic lemons for garnish

Procedure

Pesto
Place all of the ingredients into the blender or the bowl of a food processor. Pulse a few times, drizzle in a few glugs of olive oil, and resume pulsing.  Pulse. Oil. Pulse. Oil.

If you want a smoother, sauce-like pesto, add more olive oil and blend longer; if you want a chunkier pesto, use less oil and blend for less time.  So simple. So fresh. So fragrant.

Basic Dough
Mix all of the dough ingredients together in a large bowl. The texture will be a wet, sticky dough. Cover and let ferment for as long as you can - between six and twelve hours. At the end of that, use the dough as you would use any pizza dough.

Pizza
Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Press the dough out into a circle or rectangle. I try to maximize the space on my baking sheet or stone.

Add a dollop of pesto to the top and spread sauce to the edges, or half if you're sharing! Top with grated cheese. Arrange the broccoli di ciccio on the pizza. And sprinkle with more cheese.

Bake for 15-17 minutes until the crust is crisped and golden. Let cool for 5 minutes before slicing.

Top with grilled shrimp and thinly sliced lemon before serving. Pronto al tavolo!

*This blog currently has a partnership with Amazon.com in their affiliate program, which gives me a small percentage of sales if you buy a product through a link on my blog. It doesn't cost you anything more. If you are uncomfortable with this, feel free to go directly to Amazon.com and search for the item of your choice.


Here's what everyone else read in March 2019: here.

2 comments:

  1. Oh my yum! What a delicious looking pizza. Any pizza that has pesto on it has my heart.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I recommended the book for Lit Happens. I made pizza too when I posted my review, but I took the easy route and went with Margherita.

    ReplyDelete

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