Not From Concentrate

Shrimp and Pesto Pizza

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Pasan and I have a new tradition that we picked up from some of our good friends here in Orlando called Pizza Thursdays. The reason we decided to settle on one day a week was partly so that we would have something to look forward to and partly so that we would only have pizza one time per week. Remember in elementary school when the teacher would ask what your favorite food was? I remember all the kids in my class saying classic things like hamburgers and tacos and macaroni and cheese (incidentally those are all in my top 5) but I always said pizza. And even now that I’ve been able to have some of the best food that this world has to offer, my favorite is still pizza! I could literally eat it every day.

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So with that in mind, I figured it’s time to start nailing down some pizza recipes of my own to save money and control the ingredients. The crust recipe comes from Bobby Flay (which I found on the Food Network Website.) The rest is really simple. For this pizza, we went with shrimp and pesto.

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My cousin gave me a really nice pizza stone recently and I’ve been really excited to try it, so I went ahead and dove in without researching how to properly make homemade pizza using a pizza stone. Up until now, I’ve been using it for heating up DiGiornos, which seems a little sinful now that I know how it’s really supposed to be used. But when I made this pizza, I rolled out the dough and placed it directly on the stone, and then put on the toppings and popped it in the oven. FAIL! Yes, this was a foodie failure.

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We pulled the pizza out of the oven and it was almost completely stuck to the stone. After scraping it off in one piece (with some difficulty), it did turn out to be really yummy! Lesson learned and the correct way to make pizza using a pizza stone is included in the directions. This dough is pretty easy and it makes two quantities, so I froze one for later (which did turn out well and will be up soon!)

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These shrimp are lightly sautéed with salt and pepper. A few of these little guys may or may not have found their way to my mouth because they were just too delicious. Another lesson I learned from making this pizza: leave about 2 centimeters around the entire edge of the pizza with no toppings. Seems obvious but I definitely forgot all about that step this time.

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The shrimp and pesto pizza makes for a fun and unique twist to traditional pizza. I usually order the exact same pizza anywhere we go: whatever the meatiest option is. And it always has red sauce. Pasan likes to experiment with different pizzas so that’s where this idea came from. And it was quite tasty!

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Shrimp & Pesto Pizza

Ingredients

3 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp sugar
1 envelope dry yeast
2 tsp kosher salt
1 1/2 cups warm water
2 tbsp olive oil
1 lb cleaned and sautéed shrimp
1-2 cups mozzarella cheese
8 oz. pesto

Dough

1) Mix together flour, sugar, yeast, and salt. Add water and oil while mixer is running.
2) If dough is too sticky, add more flour (one tablespoon at a time) and if it’s too dry, add more water (one tablespoon at a time).
3) Turn dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead into a smooth ball.
4) Grease a medium mixing bowl lightly with olive oil and add dough. Cover and let rise for one hour.
5) Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and split into two pieces. Let sit for 10 minutes.
Storage: Plastic wrap in refrigerator. This recipe makes two quantities of pie dough.

Pizza

1) Roll out one pizza dough to about 10 inches
2) If you’re using a pizza stone: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and heat pizza stone in the oven for 10 minutes. Remove the stone from the oven and sprinkle with flour before placing the dough directly on the hot stone. Immediately cover the pizza with the pesto (leaving 1-2 centimeters all around the edge with no topping), mozzarella, and sautéed shrimp.
3) Put the pizza stone back in the oven for another 10 to 12 minutes* (if the cheese begins to brown, remove the pizza from the oven.)
4) If you’re using a regular pizza pan**: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Place the pizza dough inside the pan and top with pesto, mozzarella, and shrimp. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes.

*Some draining from the pesto is normal due to the olive oil content.
**I have not tried this recipe using a metal pizza pan, so the time listed is an estimate. Keep an eye on the pizza as it cooks to make sure the cheese does not burn and the crust cooks through.