Summer-in-winter pizza with pesto, sofrito, chickpeas and artichoke hearts

Pizza with sofrito, pesto and chickpeas

Pizza with sofrito, pesto and chickpeas

You wouldn’t believe the vast system of pantries we have here at The Ordinary. It extends for miles, beginning above-ground, with spacious, sunny rooms lined with floor-to-ceiling windows. And then it tunnels under to form a vast network of cellars, ice houses, larders, butteries, and spences. And the shelves are lined with bottles and jars. Those in the light of the windows glow like stained glass. Those in the darkened cellars shine with their own internal light. In each bottle and jar – a perfect distillation of a moment from each season from the year. We open these, as needed, to help us navigate the year as it unfolds. When you’re melting in summer, you can uncork a clear, cold, cleansing january day. In winter, we have a vial containing the cool-warm smell of a June morning. We have a whole room stocked with falling things. A jar of late spring’s flower petals – confused, whirled in a tangle; a summer sun shower; autumn leaves, curling to the ground; and a soft, quiet, gentle December snow. Each one will serve to remind you of what you’ve seen and felt, the fragrances and tastes that you have known, and each will remind you as well of the cycle of the seasons which will bring each moment inevitably back upon you. In one room, of course, we have flavors…ripe plump tomatoes, bursting with the hot sunny abundance of August, refined into a flavorful paste. Bunches of basil, sweet, sharp, and intoxicating, concentrated into one pure flavor of summer. And that’s what we used to make this pizza.

pizza with sofrito, chickpeas and pesto

pizza with sofrito, chickpeas and pesto

What? You think I’m waxing hyperbolic? You think this is why I earned the name “hyperboClaire?” Well, it’s totally true!! Every word! Okay, so I’m really talking about the sofrito and pesto that I made with our over-abundance of tomatoes and basil at the end of the summer. I froze them, and at the time I thought…in the middle of winter, this will make a welcome meal! And then the power went out for ten days, and I was worried that they didn’t stay frozen. But they seemed frozen! And our kitchen felt very near freezing through the time. And we ate them on this pizza and everybody seemed fine!! I also added chickpeas and artichoke hearts. I have long loved artichoke hearts on a pizza, and chickpeas on a pizza – well, it just sounded good to me! And it was good! They got all roasty and flavorful. If you happen not to have frozen sofrito in the summer, you can easily make it from a can of tomatoes (Spanish-style sofrito! Recipe to follow). And pesto can be bought in most grocery stores, if you don’t have that lying around in your feezer!! Anyway – this was a good pizza. It did taste like summer, and reminded me of golden afternoons spent picking tomatoes and basil. Very welcome indeed as the temperature plummets.

Here’s Summertime by Jimmy Smith.

PIZZA DOUGH

3 – 3 1/2 cups flour
1 t. yeast
1 t. sugar
2 t. salt
black pepper
1 t. oregano
1 t basil
3 t. olive oil
1 1/2 cups warm water

Put the yeast, 1/2 cup warm water and sugar in a small bowl. Leave for 15 minutes to get foamy. In a large bowl, combine the flour with the salt, pepper and herbs. Make a well in the center. Add the yeast mixture and the olive oil. Start to mix, and then add about a cup of water. You want it to come together well and be a bit sticky, but still kneadable. Knead for about 5 minutes, slapping it down on the counter a lot. (I’ve read that this gets the glutens working, which is what makes things crispy, but this is not a scientific account, so I can’t guarantee that information.) Put a teaspoon of olive oil in the bowl, roll the dough all around in it. Cover the bowl with a damp cloth and leave in a warm place for an hour and a half to two hours. Punch down. Put back in the warm place for about another half hour or so. This is enough dough to roll or press or stretch out into huge rectangles and stretch across two big cookie sheets. You want to roll it quite flat, if you want a thin crust, as I do.

SOFRITO

1/3 cup olive oil
1 large shallot (or 2 small…) diced
2 large cloves of garlic – diced
1 heaping teaspoon Spanish paprika
1 or 2 teaspoons rosemary, chopped fine
dash of red pepper flakes
2 cups fresh or one can TOMATOES! chopped roughly
salt,pepper, butter, balsamic

Heat the olive oil over medium heat. in a large saucepan. Add the shallot, when it starts to brown, add the garlic and the rosemary and the red pepper flakes. When this starts to brown, add the paprika, and then IMMEDIATELY add the

tomatoes. (If you leave the paprkika in hot oil too long it will burn and get bitter). Let the tomatoes come almost to a boil, and then reduce heat and simmer.

Let them simmer on medium low heat for a long time. FIrst they’ll get very juicy, then they’ll dry out, then they’ll become more and more of a paste and less and less of a sauce. And at some point, they’ll separate from the oil, which will be a beautiful reddish saffron color. That’s how you know they’re done. It can take up to an hour. You don’t have to stir them constantly, but it’s a good idea from time to time, because you don’t want them sticking and burning. If you have to add a drop of water now and again, toward the end, that’s fine.

Season with salt and pepper, and a dollop of butter and a dash of balsamic, and use as you like!

Basil pesto (basil, pinenuts or almonds, garlic, olive oil, salt, parmesan)

1 can chickpeas, rinsed and very well drained

2 or 3 cups mozzarella, chopped

2 or 3 artichoke hearts, cut into about 6 pieces each

olive oil for the pans

Preheat the oven to as high as it will go. Mine goes to about 450.

Spread olive oil on two large cookie sheets. Break the dough into two big lumps, and roll, stretch or press them to fit the sheets. I generally press them with the palms of my hands towards the edges of the sheets, forming a ridge of dough on the very edges.

Put the pans in the oven and bake for about ten minutes, till just set and starting to brown.

Spread each pizza with a thin layer of sofrito, then a thin layer of mozzarella, then dollops of pesto.

Scatter the chickpeas over, and evenly distribute the artichoke hearts.

Bake for about fifteen minutes, till the crust is nicely browned and the cheese is bubbling. Slice and serve.

10 thoughts on “Summer-in-winter pizza with pesto, sofrito, chickpeas and artichoke hearts

    • Yeah – in real life we don’t have a pantry at all! We do have lots of kitchen cupboards, though, and if I kept them tidy there’d be space for everything, so I can’t complain!

    • I hope it turns out well for you! I was just thinking today that I have to stop putting smoked paprika in every single thing I make! Or I have to take it a step further and start putting it in cookies, cakes, ice cream…

  1. I so enjoy yr blog. The writing is brilliant ..everyday u produce a new subject and just roam on it. And the cooking is always so good and different ..and u do feelings so well. Thanks :-))))

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