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Kitchen Mailbox Countdown to Dinner Dining
Green Pizza smells and tastes better than it sounds

Thursday, October 15, 1998

Rebecca Sodergren, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

This week's Countdown to Dinner entree fills the house with aromas of garlic and basil.

Swisshelm Park resident Wendy Bennett, who restores works of art, and her cartoonist husband are both self-employed. Kept busy with work and her three children, she says she still loves to cook.

She submitted this "green pizza" recipe. I think the name of it scared my husband. I made it for his last meal at home before he left for a month-long assignment on an Air Force base, and he must have thought I was trying to shoo him out the door all the faster. But once he saw it, smelled it and tasted it, he was convinced. "Super!" he proclaimed more than once. I think he wants it for his first meal when he gets back.

I made this in a blender with food-processor functions like "grind" and "grate" because I don't own a food processor. It took me 35 minutes from the start to the table, but that's because I had to add the pesto ingredients to the blender more slowly than you'd add them to a large food processor. With a food processor, this could easily be made in under 30 minutes.

I used a thin-crust Boboli and added some mozzarella along with the feta.

A word to the wise: I used two cloves of garlic, and the pizza was quite garlicky. If you use four cloves, you'd better not be visiting the dentist afterwards.

Pesto Feta Pizza a.k.a. "Green Pizza" Prepared pizza crust, such as Boboli Pesto (recipe below)

Feta cheese to taste Pesto ingredients:

2 cups fresh parsley or basil, firmly packed
3/4 cup Parmesan or Romano
2/3 cup olive oil
2 to 4 cloves garlic
1/3 cup pine nuts or walnuts

Preheat oven to 400.

Place basil and garlic in food processor bowl and blend until smooth. Add nuts and cheese and continue blending. While processor is running, add olive oil until creamy. (Pesto can be stored up to three months in refrigerator if covered with a thin layer of olive oil, or it can be frozen.)

To assemble pizza: Use pastry brush to add a thin coat of oil to pizza shell (can omit this step). Spread pesto over shell. Sprinkle feta over top and add thinly sliced and quartered tomatoes, if desired.

Bake 10-15 minutes. Serve with a salad.

Do you have an entree, salad or vegetable side dish recipe (no desserts, please!) that can be made in 30 minutes or less from six ingredients or fewer (not counting water, salt and pepper)? Share it with Countdown to Dinner.

The PG tests all recipes and if we select your recipe for publication, you'll receive a free selection from our cookbook grab bag of current releases.

Send your recipe to Countdown to Dinner, Post-Gazette Food, 34 Blvd. of the Allies, Pittsburgh, PA 15222, or fax to 412-263-1313. Please include your name, neighborhood and daytime phone number. Or e-mail to: nanderson@post-gazette.com. Questions? Call 412-263-1760.

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