Introduction: The Perfect Grilled Pesto and Veggie Pizza Date Night
This instructable is not only an instructable about making an INCREDIBLE grilled pesto pizza with caramelized shallots and grilled veggies; it is also an instructable about creating a wonderful evening to be shared with friends and loved ones.
You will need:
1.) A recipe for your favorite type of pizza dough. We used this one for a honey whole wheat crust: http://vegetarian.about.com/od/vegetarianpizzarecipes/r/wheatcrust.htm, or you can use white dough or even frozen dough from the grocery store.
2.) Pesto (ours was a delicious homemade recipe) or store bought will work
3.) Vegetables of your choice to grill; we used yellow squash, zucchini, and red bell pepper (one of each will leave you with extras to snack on)
4.) Shallots or onions
6.) Shredded cheese (We found a pizza blend that is very tasty)
7.) A BBQ
8.) Rolling pin (or sturdy cup)
9.) Fresh basil leaves (optional but delicious)
Step 1: The Dough
If you make your own dough, be sure to allow enough time for the dough to rise. Once made (or purchased), roll the dough out to the desired size. We used half of the dough and rolled it thin for a thin crust, but you could opt for a thicker crust if you'd like.
Put this on a cutting board or pizza board, and set it aside.
Step 2: The Veggies
Start by slicing the shallots thin. Toss them in a frying pan over medium heat with butter to begin caramelizing.
Next, open the wine and pour everyone a glass. This is essential to creating a the perfect atmosphere in the kitchen.
Slice up the rest of the veggies into large enough chunks to go on the grill. Coat them with some olive oil, salt and pepper, and a little garlic powder. You can also opt to cut the veggies into bite size pieces now and use a grilling basket or skewers. We opted to grill and then slice.
Once the grill is hot, toss the veggies on and grill until tender, being sure to cook them on both sides.
Don't forget your shallots are still caramelizing!
Once the veggies are done, pull them off the grill and slice them into topping size chunks. Take the shallots off the heat and set aside.
Step 3: Grill the Dough
The first time we tried this, it was a little worrysome, but fear not, the dough cooks wonderfully and quickly and doesn't stick to the grill.
After all the veggies are off the grill, give it a once over with the grill brush. Carry the dough out on the cutting board and place it towards the center of the grill. After just a few minutes it should begin to bubble and stiffen up enough to be flipped easily.
Flip the dough once it is stiff enough. Cook the other side longer than the first side and remember to place the less done side down, when it goes back on the grill. You can use a spatula or two to assist in the flipping.
Once the dough has baked, pull it off and bring it back in for the toppings.
Step 4: Sauce and Top
Bring the now baked crust back in and apply the pesto to the side that cooked longer, leaving the less done side down. We applied the pesto with a silicon basting brush which works nicely.
Cover with a layer of cheese, and then distribute the veggies, shallots, and basil leaves to your liking. Cover with a little more cheese if you so desire.
Step 5: Back to Grill
Once the crust it sauced and topped to your liking, take it back to the grill and place it in the center. Close the lid and grill until the cheese is melted.
Be sure to continue enjoying your wine through this entire process.
Once the cheese has all melted, used a couple of spatulas to remove the pizza from the grill. Bring it inside, cut it up, and get ready to serve.
Step 6: Wine, Dine, Enjoy!
Refill your glasses or perhaps even open another bottle of your favorite vino. If it's nice out, DEFINITELY eat outside. Mood lighting and good wine are a must, especially if this is a date night. A little music in the background certainly couldn't hurt either.