Pie in the Sky

the dough

There must be something in the air, because even before I clicked over to Michael Ruhlman’s blog yesterday, I had pizza on the brain. See, I had these baby artichokes that I picked up on Saturday, and for some reason, the thing I wanted to do most with them was to make an artichoke pizza. But with everything else that was going on over the weekend, I wasn’t able to get my butt in gear and make a batch of dough ahead of time, so I asked Mike if he would do it for me. I forwarded him a few recipes that were close to what I had in mind, and he settled on the Jim Lahey version Deb blogged about last year.

baby artichokes

When I got home from work, the dough was ready to work with, and after our customary break for cocktails and catching up on the day, I started on dinner. First, I trimmed half a dozen baby artichokes, slicing them thin and placing them into a bowl of acidulated water to keep them from browning. I sliced up a ball of uber-fresh Narragansett Creamery mozzarella and set it aside for later. Then I got to work on the saucy component of our pie, which was quite possibly my favorite element of our meal.

sorrel pesto

Into the food processor went two garlic cloves, a couple of spoonfuls of toasted pine nuts, one bag of young sorrel leaves from Ledge Ends Produce, and a couple of pinches of sea salt. I pulsed this into a coarse, chunky mixture, then, with the motor running, drizzled in some olive oil. I added the pesto to a small bowl of freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano, then stirred it to combine. I tasted it for seasoning and… well, the pesto almost didn’t make it past this point of the evening, because it was so darn good. Bright, lemony, beautifully green, I want to make this pesto for as long as this sorrel is available. I want to spread it on sandwiches, toss it with pasta, spoon it over grilled fish…


ready to bake

But back to the pizza. We had two balls of dough, one of which I stretched out into a square-ish round, and I slathered some of that pesto all over it. I added a layer of cheese, the sliced artichokes, a drizzle of olive oil, and a sprinkling of sea salt. This went into our preheated oven (onto a pizza stone) for about 35-40 minutes at the highest heat setting (Broil, for us). Then I pulled the pizza out, grated on a little more parm, dotted the remaining sorrel pesto over the top, and let it rest for a few minutes before cutting it up to serve.

Dinner:  April 20, 2009

The crust was heavenly, the artichokes tender and crisp at the edges, the cheese as creamy and gooey as ever, but it was the sorrel pesto that really made this pizza sing.

22 thoughts on “Pie in the Sky

  1. Beautiful! I have sorrel growing in my garden and I’m putting this pesto into rotation ASAP. Just gorgeous and a perfect bridge into spring.

  2. Oh and BTW – did you see the gorgeous Ed Levine article in the latest issue of Martha Stewart Living? Lovely inspiration. Piave and lemon … mmmm.

  3. What a combo! I love the sorrel pesto idea…….I am new to sorrel, and I love basil pesto, so will try this one and definitely be using it on a pizza.
    Thanks for the idea Jen.

  4. That looks absolutely wonderful. I have never seen sorrel for sale or in the ground, anywhere, but if I ever do I know what I’m doing with it.

  5. I know what you mean about pizza on the brain. I was 3/4 of the way through writing my pizza post when I saw Rulhman’s. I can’t get dough out of my mind.
    Your pie looks great. I’ll remember the artichokes. The pesto looks great.

  6. Cheryl Harris says:

    That looks beautiful. However, I am someone who is allergic to pine nuts so pesto is verboten for me. Do you think this would work with well with a tomato sauce or would you have any other substitution suggestions?

  7. Jennifer Hess says:

    Mary – do it! This might be my new favorite pesto 🙂 And I’ll have to seek out that Ed Levine article. Thanks!

    Stacey – I love basil pesto, but this has a much lighter flavor that I think is going to be so nice with fresh spring produce.

    Jessamyn – If I could send you some, I would! 🙂

    Chris – Thank you!

    Keri – I have to say this crust worked so beautifully for us, I’m hesitant to order out for pizza again!

    Cheryl – Honestly, I think the pine nuts are completely optional and the pesto would be just fine without them! I love tomato and artichokes together, so you could certainly try that, or even do a layer of fresh ricotta, maybe with chopped herbs mixed in?

  8. mdj says:

    The pizza looks great. I’m trying that combination. We’ve been making them every week for a while now and my husband, too, doesn’t want to even go out for pizza anymore. I’m curious, you baked it for 35-40 min on the highest setting? I heat my pizza stone at 475 for about half hour. Each of my pizzas bake for 7 to 10 min. And they are well done. Is it a very thick crust?

  9. huge but huge wow

    i love great pizza… so desperately
    and i need to find some sorrel soon

    but that is a long time in the oven.
    mine take about 10 minutes or so at 550 on a pizza stone.

  10. Jennifer Hess says:

    Thanks again, everyone! I’m not sure what to say about the baking time – the pizza was fairly large, and the crust wasn’t thick but wasn’t NY-style thin, either. I set the timer for 20 minutes, checked it, set it for another 20 and took it out of the oven probably 5-7 minutes before the end of that second 20 minutes. We do have an in-oven thermometer that we used a bit over the winter, and our oven temp isn’t too far off the mark either. Just one of those kitchen mysteries, I suppose, and yet another reason I don’t like to rely on a recipe. 😀

  11. You are killing me! I have never wanted to make a pizza so badly as I want to make this one. I have a feeling this is going to force me to unpack my kitchen. It’s only been 9 days, but I was going to see how long I could hold out and then you waved artichokes under my nose and all bets are off.

  12. Jennifer Hess says:

    phoebe – You’re too sweet 😀 Thank you!

    deb – my sister in artichoke love, I’m sorry! At least wait until your A/C is hooked up please? 😀

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