I’ve loved eating good food, cooking homemade meals, and creating recipes ever since I was little. My mom would try to bribe me as a toddler to go to McDonald’s with the toy that I would get in a Happy Meal, but I would insist on going home and having one of her delicious “cassewoles” instead. I would ask for pork and sauerkraut in my thermos for lunch at preschool instead of packing a more palatable option for a 4-year-old like peanut butter and jelly (<–weird). My Papa and I created a “recipe” that blew up in the microwave when I was in elementary school. I have DVR’d Rachael Ray’s talk show and watched it almost every day ever since I had that capability in high school. I adore getting new cookbooks and actually read every word.
Aren’t some of life’s greatest memories from moments where food is involved? Sharing meals, stories, and laughter with friends and family is such a simple, essential pleasure in life – whether you’re going through good or bad times. With just a taste, you can be transported to someplace you’ve never been before or taken back to an exact moment in time.
Cooking is one of my favorite ways to show the people that I love how much I care about them, but I also enjoy cooking even if it’s only for myself. No matter how stressful or mundane the day may seem, savoring a great meal can make it feel a little more special. Food helps remind you to slow down, take care of yourself, appreciate good company, and cherish the moments you have before they’re gone.
I think my mom, Jane, is an amazing cook. She whipped up this pesto pizza from ingredients out of her garden years ago, and it has been a family favorite ever since. Tasting this pizza was the first time we ever had pesto on a pizza. (It might have even been the first time that I ever had pesto!) I decided to choose this “famous” recipe of my mom’s for my first blog post because this is a recipe that just feels like home. (Bonus, it’s also super easy!)
Our favorite toppings are thinly sliced tomatoes, mushrooms, and black olives, all smothered with cheese and nestled on top of a bed of garlicky basil pesto. My fiancé, Trey, doesn’t like mushrooms or olives (of course), so his version (pictured below) just has tomatoes and roasted red peppers. Feel free to adjust this recipe based on what you like or what you have on hand!
Starting a food blog seems a little scary to me. I don’t really know much about blogging, and although I love to cook, I make mistakes all the time and I’m constantly learning better ways to do things. However, I’m looking forward to learning along the way, being creative, sharing recipes that we love, and trying to remember to find something special in each day. It doesn’t hurt to give things a try, right?
Emmy agrees. Our “little one” would like to give her grandma’s pesto pizza a try! (This was one of her last days in her cone after getting spayed.)
I made her chicken and rice instead. She’s so mistreated.
Jane's Famous Pesto Pizza
|Prep:||Cook:||Yield: 1 pizza||Total:|
- For the pizza:
- 1 ball of whole wheat pizza dough
- 4 to 5 tomatoes, thinly sliced
- 3 to 4 mushrooms, thinly sliced
- sliced black olives
- red pepper flakes
- 2 cups shredded mozzarella or Italian blend cheese
- Parmesan cheese
- pesto (store-bought is fine, or you can use the recipe below!)
- For the basil pesto:
- 2 cups packed fresh basil
- 3 to 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 cup walnuts, toasted
- 1/3 to 2/3 cup olive oil
- 3/4 cup Parmesan or Romano cheese, grated
- salt and pepper, to taste
- For the basil pesto, if making, combine the basil, garlic, walnuts, salt, and pepper in a food processor and blend. Add in the cheese. Slowly drizzle in the olive oil while the food processor is on until the pesto is smooth and spreadable. To store in the refrigerator, pour some olive oil over the top to keep it fresh. Leftover pesto is also great frozen! Try freezing small portion sizes in ice cube trays, then storing in a large ziplock bag.
- For the pizza, preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.
- Roll the pizza dough out into a circle on a well-floured surface. Pinch up the ends for a crust. Slide the dough onto a pizza stone and pre-bake for about 5 minutes.
- Spread a thin layer of pesto on the dough. Layer your toppings over the pesto and season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle the cheeses over top. Scatter some red pepper flakes over the cheese.
- Bake for about 15 to 20 minutes, or until the cheese is golden and bubbly.
- Top with more Parmesan cheese and red pepper flakes, if desired, and devour!
Pine nuts are typically used in pesto, but I use walnuts because they are cheaper and I don't notice that much of a difference in the taste! Feel free to substitute pine nuts, though!