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Author Notes: It all started out as, what I would call, another Mother Hubbard dinner. You might not be familiar with this term, (probably because I made it up - no, no......... not the nursery rhyme, just the dinner part) A Mother Hubbard dinner results from not planning, not even giving the evening meal a thought until the clock strikes FIVE! ................ and then scavenging through a somewhat desolate pantry, freezer and refrigerator trying to figure out what there might be to eat.I had one of these Mother Hubbard experiences one evening last week - I had a busy day and suddenly realized how fast the time had flown. I quickly looked to see what I might put together for dinner and this is what I found; one left-over pizza dough ball, some pesto (always in my freezer), a few bits of bacon and a small bag of arugula. My mind started whirling............. I grabbed an apple and some toasted pecans from the pantry and the next thing I knew, this Pesto & Applewood Bacon w/ Arugula-Apple Salad was evolving! .......................... oh my goodness, we LOVED it!
We've been eating pizza all week - you see,the problem is, when I have an idea for a new recipe, I just can't stop until I have it just right. So Monday night was pizza night, again on Tuesday, yep, you guessed it, Wednesday the same thing! Then I needed to make it one more time to get pictures! Oh dear, our waistlines might not ever be the same!
We've tested and tweaked the recipe and guess what? It's ready for YOU! I think you will enjoy it as much as we have - it's quite "fall-ish" - perfect after a lovely crisp walk, a long bike ride or maybe beside one of your first fires in the hearth! ENJOY!
- 2 ounces pecan halves, roughly broken
- 1/2 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 ball of pizza dough, purchased or homemade
- 3 tablespoons pesto
- 6 ounces fresh mozzarella
- 8 ounces each slicecut in 4 pieces and cooked until golden brown
- 1/2 medium crisp red or pink skinned apple
- 2 ounces baby arugula
- 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon good balsamic vinegar
- pinches sea salt
- a few grinds freshly ground pepper
- Place a pizza stone on a rack in the lower third of for oven and preheat oven to 350?F. Combine the 1/2 teaspoon olive oil and 1/4 teaspoon sea salt with pecans in a small pan. Toast until deep golden and aromatic, about 7-8 minutes. I recommend setting a timer (pecans are too expensive to burn and it happens quickly - trust me I know!) Set aside to cool. Increase oven temperature to 475?F.
- Sprinkle a piece of parchment paper, about the size of your pizza stone, lightly with cornmeal and place it on a pizza paddle or a large cutting board. Set aside.
- On a floured work surface, flatten the dough with your hands. Start at the center and work outwards, using your fingers to press and stretch the dough to a 10-12 inch circle. If the dough resists stretching, let it rest for a few minutes, this relaxes the glutens in the flour and makes the dough easier to work with.
- Fold dough in half, then in quarters and transfer to prepared parchment paper. Unfold dough and reshape as needed,
- Spread dough evenly with pesto and sprinkle mozzarella on top. Carefully open oven and slide parchment paper and dough onto the preheated stone. Bake for 5- 7 minutes or until golden brown. Check after 5 minutes and turn pizza if one side is getting too brown.
- While pizza is baking, make the arugula (rocket, if you're in England!) salad. Place arugula in a medium size bowl. Drizzle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar, add a pinch of sea salt and a couple grinds of pepper. Toss with two forks to coat leaves with oil and vinegar.
- Remove pizza from oven. Evenly distribute bacon, then arugula, apples and pecans. Cut and enjoy!