Hannah Palmer Egan
Pesto potato-leek pie
In my house, pizza happens at least once a week, sometimes more. Lately, I've been into making sourdough bread (it's quite the rabbit hole, as any home baker can attest), and I make enough bread dough for a big loaf of bread plus two or three pizza crusts. If I'm out of the baking habit, I just buy raw pizza dough — Hannaford carries a decent option from Maine's Portland Pie Co
., Red Hen Baking offers par-baked crusts at several retail outlets
statewide, and there are others, too. Check the fresh pasta section or the freezer section.
And, yes, I use a cookie sheet as a pizza pan because I've not gotten around to buying a pizza stone or a proper round pan. It's still delicious, thank you very much.
Then, I just throw on whatever's in the fridge, or coming from the market or garden. In spring and early summer, we ate a lot of red-sauce pies with last summer's canned tomatoes, broccoli rabe, pea shoots, chives and other early season stuff.
Now, it's evolved into a homemade pesto base with high-summer items such as garden tomatoes, summer squash (from my neighbors at Stone River Homestead
), and new potatoes and leeks (found last week at Thetford's Cedar Circle Farm
I usually use basic Cabot cheddar or mozzarella, but if I had the foresight to pick it up at the co-op, I'd grab a pint of Maplebrook Farm's fresh balled mozzarella
and pop those on top. You could also use dollops of ricotta or chèvre to similar effect.
Think of it this way: The world is your pizza!
- One pizza dough (find them near the fresh pasta at the grocery store, or make your own!)
- 3-4 medium potatoes, sliced thin and boiled until soft
- Pat butter
- 1 small leek, sliced thin
- One cup pesto* (recipe below)
- Half of a medium-sized zucchini, sliced thin
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 cup grated mozzarella*, cheddar or Jack cheese
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan
- *Swap balled fresh mozzarella if you've got it. Quarter-size balls or smaller can go on whole; a fist-size ball must be cut into 1/2 inch slices.
- In the morning, prepare your dough, if you're making it yourself. If you're using a store-bought raw dough, set it out to rise. If using a pre-cooked crust, take it out so it can warm to room temp while you prepare your ingredients.
- Cut all the vegetables to size and boil the potatoes.
- Preheat oven to 500 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Sauté potatoes and leeks with butter in a large skillet until lightly browned.
- When the oven warms to temp, stretch the dough and place on a floured pizza pan and bake for 5 minutes, until the air bubbles puff up. If you're using a pre-baked crust, you can skip this part.
- Remove the crust from the oven. Spread the pesto over the surface of the crust, then place the zucchini or summer squash on top. Sprinkle with garlic, then cheese, then spread the potatoes and leeks on top like pepperoni; scatter Parmesan over top. If you're using fresh mozzarella, put the cheese on at the end, in dots on top of the potatoes.
- Bake 8-12 minutes, until the crust just begins to brown.
(About 4 cups)
- 2-4 cloves garlic, crushed and peeled
- 4-6 cups fresh basil leaves, firmly packed
- 1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 3/4 cup walnuts
- 3/4 cup Parmesan, grated
- Salt to taste
Pulse the garlic and basil in a food processor; add half the olive oil, then the walnuts and Parmesan. Pulse a few times to mix, then process on high 10-15 seconds. Add more oil, then blend, repeating until you reach a pasty but smooth and spreadable texture.