Pizza doesn’t have to be just for lunch or dinner. It can be a great appetizer as well. As long as you steer clear of the dip dish crusts and the thick cheeses, it can even be light. I’m all for short-cuts, and although nothing beats a home-made, fresh pizza dough, taking a little help from the grocery store works too. It’s all about the toppings. Fresh mozzarella, fresh goat cheese, and pesto can take an ordinary pizza crust and turn it into something special.
The recipe for this appetizer is not only simple, but flexible. You can really put anything you want on store-bought pizza doughs. I find the combination of savory pesto, tangy goat cheese, and crunchy walnuts to be exceptional. Top it with some fresh mozzarella, and you have a delicious appetizer that pairs really well with white wine.
Simply follow this recipe for the herb pesto:
2 cups fresh flat-leaf parsley
2 cloves garlic
1/4 cup walnuts
freshly cracked black pepper
1/3 cup olive oil
1-2 tablespoons grated parmesan
Combine all the ingredients in a food processor and buzz until a smooth, paste-like consistency is achieved. Once you have your pesto, simply spoon a couple tablespoons over your 8-inch pie crust. Top with fresh chevre goat cheese and grated mozzarella, as much or little as you want. Add some roughly chopped walnuts and season with a little salt and pepper. Then bake the pizza directly on the rack (for crispier crust) at 425 degrees for about 7 minutes.
Note: the pizza will bubble up, but this is normal. It’ll settle down, and most importantly you’ll have a crispy crust.
Ingredients (serves 4-6)
1 recipe herb pesto (see ingredients above)
2, 8-inch pre-cooked pizza crusts (I used Boboli)
2 oz chevre goat cheese
grated fresh mozzarella
parmesan cheese (grated)
about 1/2 cup walnuts (rough chop)
Pre-heat oven to 425. Prepare pesto as directed. Spoon a tablespoon or two and spread evenly over each crust. Then top with dollops of goat cheese, grated mozzarella, chopped walnuts, and extra grated parmesan. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Bake in oven directly on rack for about 7 minutes, or until cheese is melted and bubbly. Enjoy!