This past weekend, approximately four of my six major meals were pizza. Don’t get me wrong: It was tasty (in fact, two of those were enormous, gooey, cheesy, fantastic slices of heaven from Lorenzo’s in Philly), but by Sunday, I was pizza’d out.
There’s still a faint aching in my stomach when I recount this weekend’s monotonous meal choices, but it has inspired me to share this fun and spicy spin on your average pie: shrimp and red pepper pesto pizza (adapted from Macheesmo).
This baby requires a few extra steps than your average homemade cheese pizza, but I made it slightly easier by using store-bought pizza dough (the kind in the bag — not boxed, canned or Boboli). Unfortunately, I can’t remember the brand I used, but ShopRite typically carries it in the bakery section, next to the ice cream cakes.
I absolutely loved this pizza. The base was spicy, the red onions were sweet and shrimp was the perfect protein. Everything was great…until we tried to get the pizza off the baking stone.
See, this was the first time I’d used my hand-me-down baking stone, and I took the advice of someone who shall remain nameless and put flour on the stone before putting it in the oven. That didn’t work out so well. Not so well at all. Maybe it was the flour? Maybe the toppings were just too heavy for how thinly stretched the dough was? Fortunately, the extra hands I had in the kitchen helped me basically chisel the slices off the stone. Most of the pie came off unscathed, but a few pieces looked like the pizza-equivalent of getting hit by a truck. (Road pizza? Ehh?)
I haven’t been able to find a definitive answer on what works best for the baking stone, and have not used the stone since this semi-disaster. Some say to put olive oil on it, but I hear that creates a lot of smoke. Others say cornmeal. Some stick by the flour. Can anyone help me?!
FOR RED PEPPER PESTO
♦1/2 tsp. garlic
♦1/2 jar roasted red peppers
♦1 tbl. fresh basil
♦1 tbl. olive oil
♦1 tsp. sugar
♦1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
Combine all pesto ingredients in a food processor, and pulse until sauce-like.
♦1/2 lb. shrimp, peeled, deveined, halved
♦1/2 tsp. minced garlic
♦2 tbs. olive oil
♦1-1/2 tbs. lemon juice
♦1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
♦1/4 medium red onion
♦1/4 red pepper, seeded, cut into strips
♦2 c. mozzarella cheese
♦2 tsp. fresh basil, chopped
♦2/3 c. red pepper pesto
♦1 ball store-bought pizza dough
Toss shrimp in garlic, pepper flakes, olive oil and lemon juice. Let marinate for 10 minutes. In the meantime, chop red pepper and red onions. Roll out dough on pizza stone (or baking sheet). Add a layer of pesto sauce, then chopped veggies, then mozz cheese and then shrimp. Bake at 450 degrees for 14-17 minutes, or until crust is crispy.
Total time? 25 minutes prep, 15 minutes bake. (15 minutes chiseling.)
Cost? $3 jar of roasted red peppers, $1 red pepper, 30¢ red onion, $1.74 mozz cheese, $1 fresh basil, $8 (?) shrimp, $1.25 pizza dough.
Overall success relative to expect? 7 out of 10. Obviously, this lost points by way of my miseducation; next time, I’ll bake a pizza that won’t require a makeshift chisel to eat. I cut costs by using a bag of frozen shrimp, and while that worked, they shrunk a lot in the oven. This pizza would be an undeniable 10 out of 10 if I used big, succulent (isn’t that word always used to describe shrimp?) shrimp instead of, well, shrimpy shrimp.