Thursday, December 31, 2015

Pesto Christmas Tree Pizzas

Okay so these are about a week late... but better late than never.  You will forgive me, because these pesto Christmas trees are not only delicious, but also incredibly adorable.  The idea is simple: roll pizza dough out into a triangle, cover with pesto to make it green, and "decorate" using vegetable ornaments!  In this case, it suggests thin slices of half a red onion, and diced red pepper, but you could go crazy and decorate with the prettiest veggies you have. I could see kids getting a kick out of decorating their own little pizza tree, and it could be a good way to get them to eat their vegetables (or, you know, adults who hate veggies, too!).

This meal could easily be streamlined.  You could use ready-made dough and store-bought pesto.  Just chop your veggies, roll the dough, decorate, and bake!  Dinner is ready in no time and it looks like you're Martha Stewart.  Of course, knowing me, you will not be surprised to hear that I made my own dough and pesto.  Have you made pesto before?  It was so simple.  I used Food Network's recipe, but basically all you have to do is blend together basil, garlic, pine nuts, and olive oil.  It suggested adding cheese but I thought it was good enough without it.

Obviously I struggled a bit with the rolling... have you ever tried to make pizza dough triangles?  It's a tough job!  By my second tree, I gave up making trunks!  They were adorable just the same, and soon good with the pesto, a little mozzarella, and plenty of "ornaments."  If you're missing Christmas already, whip these up - or pin it for next Christmas.  They'd actually be pretty cute if you wanted to bring a couple to your New Year's Party.

Speaking of New Year's... whoa.  2015 was pretty terrible.  But it's ending on a high note.


pesto Christmas tree pizzas
from A Couple Cooks
makes 4 large trees or 8 small

1 pizza dough
1 red pepper
1/2 red onion
1/2 cup basil pesto
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
kosher salt


1) Place a pizza stone in the oven and preheat to 550 degrees.

2) Prepare the toppings: dice the red pepper.  Thinly slice the red onion, then rinse it under cool water and pat it dry to remove some of the bite (I never knew this!)

3) When the oven is ready, roll out the dough into a triangle shape, adding a small rectangle for a trunk.  Place the dough on a floured pizza peel.  Quickly assemble the pizza.  Spread a thin layer of pesto, then sprinkle with cheese.  Add decorations of red onions and peppers, and sprinkle with kosher salt.

4) Transfer the pizza to the oven on the pizza peel, and bake until cheese is melted, about 5 minutes.  Allow to cool slightly, then serve.

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