Appreciations to Jeanine of Love and Lemons - I was inspired by her ripe for Fig & Ricotta Flatbread Pizza posted earlier this month. Especially with the inclusion of pesto, since I made a delightful herby green sauce that I've used several ways. It's pesto-esque, but since there is no cheese or nuts, it's not a true pesto. So first off, the sauce:
Herby Green Sauce
4/5 a bunch of cilantro, stems included
Heaping handful of fresh basil leaves (about 20 leaves)
3 tablespoons roasted, salted sunflower seeds (pepitas would be nice here too)
2 cloves garlic
Juice of 1/2 lemon
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
Place herbs, sunflower seeds, garlic and lemon in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until combined. With the processor running, pour the oil in through the spout to combine. Taste the sauce and add salt and pepper to taste. If it's a little thick for your preference, add in water by the tablespoon until desired consistency is reached.
If you plan on using this a few different ways, you may want to leave on the thicker side so you can thin as needed for additional uses. I added in a tablespoon of freshly roasted Hatch chiles to use on top of grilled chicken and rice - nice kick!
Grilled Fig, Ricotta and Arugula Pizza
1 pound pizza dough (mine was purchased fresh from the pizza counter at the grocery store. You can also buy frozen dough or make your own!)
4 tablespoons herby green sauce OR store-bought pesto
16 ounces ricotta cheese (I like buying good quality ricotta from the specialty section of the store, full fat. But, follow your heart on this one)
5-6 ounces fresh arugula
1 pint fresh figs, sliced
2 ounces pancetta, crisped up and then chopped
Balsamic vinegar for drizzling
Salt and pepper to taste
Divide dough into two balls. Stretch first dough ball on a floured wooden cutting board - get this as thin as possible without tearing the dough. Prick the dough a few times with a fork to prevent bubbles when the dough cooks.
When grill is hot, flip the dough onto the grill. Close the top and let grill 1 1/2 - 2 minutes. Flip it over (there should be some nice grill marks. Let cook another minute on this side. Quickly spread 2 tablespoons herb sauce/pesto over the dough and half of the ricotta cheese. Let dough cook another 30-45 seconds, then pull off the grill. Repeat with second dough ball.
Top pizza with arugula, figs and pancetta. Putting your thumb over the top of the balsamic bottle, lightly drizzle the top of the pizza. Season with salt and pepper. Cut each pizza into 6-8 pieces and enjoy!
Note: If you don't want to grill, you can easily replicate this in the oven. The cast iron method would work well.