I’d like to be able to say that I made this pizza totally according to plan. That there was a ton of leftover pesto because I had the foresight to make extra to be tossed with pasta for a quick meal later in the week. That the cheese ended up baking to a golden brown because that’s how I like it. That I ate my first piece piping hot from the oven with a nice glass of wine at a reasonable dinnertime.
But that would be lying.
What really happened is that I forgot to chop the greens and remove the stems before throwing them into the food processor. And then I got into some discussion on entropy over FaceTime and forgot to check on the oven. And then a friend of mine called, and we were chatting for quite awhile, and I tried to spare her the pleasure of hearing me eat into the phone.
So I ended up with a container of leftover pesto and a cold, overcooked pizza that I finally dug into at 1 in the morning.
The pizza still ended up being great, especially after I reheated that second slice. Now I have a head start on dinner for later in the week. And I got to talk to two of my favorite people instead of hovering over the stove for an hour.
Kitchen fails happen. A lot of times, they’re not so serious that you can’t make the best of them.
Ingredients (makes one pizza):
- 1 ball of pizza dough (you can use the frozen, store bought kind too)
- 1 bunch of collard greens
- 1 bunch of kale
- 2- 3 cloves of garlic
- 1 large ball of fresh mozzarella (it really makes the difference)
- 4 tablespoons of grated pecorino or parmesan
- 2 tablespoons of walnuts
- 1 teaspoon of red chili flakes
- 5 - 6 tablespoons of olive oil (plus extra to make the pizza dough)
- 1/2 teaspoon of salt
Make the pizza:
Make the pizza dough. After it has nearly doubled in size in the bowl, preheat the oven to 400 degrees and spread the dough out onto an oiled cookie sheet. Cover the dough with plastic wrap and let rise on top of the oven for at least fifteen to twenty minutes. You may need to spread the dough out again so that it has risen evenly in the pan.
Remove the plastic wrap, put the pan in the oven and bake the dough for about ten to fifteen minutes.
Meanwhile, chop the garlic and wash the greens and slice the mozzarella.
You might want to remove the ribs or stems from the greens, but I left them in because I forgot. They get chopped up when you are making the pesto.
Add two tablespoons of olive oil, the garlic and the red chili flakes to a large pan and cook over medium-low heat for five minutes.
Add the greens and the salt and cook for at least five to ten minutes, until the greens have wilted.
Add the greens, along with all of the remaining oil, garlic and chili flakes to a food processor. Blend for a few minutes along with three to four tablespoons of olive oil and the walnuts. As the greens transform into a pesto, they will become a little bit lighter in color and be very finely chopped.
Remove the dough from the oven. Spread the pesto over the dough. Any pesto that’s leftover can be tossed with pasta for a quick dinner tomorrow.
Top with the slices of mozzarella and sprinkle the grated cheese over the top and return to the oven.
Bake at 400 degrees for twenty to thirty minutes, or longer if you’re distracted or just like your pizza well done. Leftovers can be frozen for another time.