Pistachio & arugula pizza

Pistachio and arugula pizza

Pistachio and arugula pizza

We were in the car for over 28 hours in the last three days, and we got home late last night. Today I feel as though I’d been hit over the head. I’m stupid-tired. I have a lot to do to catch up, of course, but this morning I spent some time sitting on the couch with Clio’s head on my lap, getting all weepy about Nina Simone singing I Wish I Knew How it Would Feel to be Free. I’m in love with this song! I’ve talked about it here at The Ordinary before (twice!), so I’m not going to go on and on telling you why I love it. I’m not going to tell you that the song was written by Billy Taylor for his daughter, that it became an anthem for the civil rights movement. I’m not going to share the fact that when Nina Simone sings it, it sounds to me as though it becomes about a sort of fundamental, elemental freedom. Freedom from anything that binds you by labeling you–freedom from race, nationality, faith–freedom almost from yourself. It’s about freedom to have a voice, and to trust your voice enough to be heard. It’s about the freedom to live with passion and creativity, the freedom to create what you need to create, to do the work you need to do. And to be free not just from the restrictions society puts on you according to the way that it labels you, but also from nagging self-doubts and fears. The song expresses a sort empathetic morality that really appeals to me, and which I’ve been thinking a lot about lately. I won’t tell you that I think the most beautiful part is that she knows! Nina knows how it feels to be free, you can feel it in her voice. And she says, “I sing because I know, I sing because I know.” I love that! Of course she knows and thank god she sings.

Here’s Billy Taylor playing the song.

Here’s Nina Simone’s version, with lyrics

Here’s a live performance by Nina Simone.

And here’s an absolutely remarkable extension of the song, also Nina Simone live.

pistachio and arugula pizza

pistachio and arugula pizza

This pizza has arugula pistachio pesto on it, and it has arugula and pistachios! It also has capers, cherry tomatoes and an herbaceous crust. I thought it was deeeeelicious. This recipe is enough to make two large pizzas just like this. If you want the second pizza to have different sort of toppings, you can half the pesto recipe, or make the full amount and eat the pesto in any other way you’d like.


(enough for two largish pies)

1 t yeast
1 t sugar
1/2 cup warm water
3 cups flour
1 t basil
1 t sage
1 t thyme
1 t oregano
1 t rosemary
1 t salt
1/3 cup olive oil

Combine the yeast, sugar and half a cup warm water in a small bowl, and leave in a warm place for about ten minutes to get foamy.

In a large bowl combine the flour, herbs, and salt. Make a well in the center and add the yeast mixture and the olive oil. Stir well, and add enough warm water to form a soft dough. You want it to be as wet as it can that you can still comfortably knead it. Knead for about 5 minutes until soft and elastic. Put about 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large bowl. Roll the dough in this so that it’s evenly coated. Cover the bowl with a damp cloth and set aside for two to five hours, till it’s doubled in size.


1 cup pistachios
2 clove garlic, roasted or toasted (in the toaster oven, you can leave the skin on, but be sure to pierce it so it doesn’t explode.)
4 cups arugula, washed
1/2 cup olive oil
2 t balsamic
drizzle of honey (to taste)
freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup water

Combine the pistachios and garlic in a blender or food processor and process until ground. Add the arugula, olive oil, balsamic and a drizzle of honey, salt and lots of pepper and process until smooth. Add the water and continue to process until completely smooth.


3-4 cups grated mozzarella cheese
6 T pistachios, roughly chopped
a large handful of arugula
4 T capers
1 cup cherry or grape tomatoes, halved


Lightly oil to pizza pans or cookie sheets. Divide the crust into two, and roll or stretch each to fit the pans…I tend to press down with my palms to flatten out the dough, rather than roll it out, for pizza.

Let the dough rest while you preheat the oven to 500.

Place the pans in the oven and cook for five or ten minutes till they’re still pale but they’re firm to the touch and they lose their shine.

Remove from the oven. Spread the pistachio-arugula pesto evenly over each crust, then scatter the cheese over. Top with pistachio kernels, handfuls of arugula, capers and tomatoes.

Cook until the crust is golden and the cheese is starting to bubble and turn brown–about fifteen minutes.

Slice and serve.


3 thoughts on “Pistachio & arugula pizza

  1. Pingback: Beet balls (made with semolina and ricotta) | Out of the Ordinary

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