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Pesto Foccaccia or Pizza and Other Variations

I liked the basil and pine nuts and garlic in traditional pesto, but sometimes find those flavors dulled by too much cheese or oil.  This topping is simpler and keeps the emphasis on my favorite flavors.

Per 8-9 inch round pizza or foccaccia equivalent

1-3 tablespoons fresh basil leaves, stemmed and chopped coarsely or torn into 1/2 inch bits

1-2 cloves garlic
, briefly microwaved* before peeling and dicing

2 tablespoons grated cheese (about 1/2 to 1 ounce, grated) (I like a mixture of pecorino toscano, parmesan, and dry jack, depending on what's in the cheese drawer)
2 tablespoons cottage cheese or mozzarella (optional, if you want a more substantial topping)

1 tablespoon pine nuts

1 teaspoon good-tasting olive oil

Mix the basil, garlic, and cheeses together.  Spread over the shaped pizza or foccaccia just before baking.  Sprinkle with the pine nuts, and spray or drizzle the olive oil over all.   Bake per recipe for the base pizza or foccaccia dough.

*The microwaving helps mellow the flavor just a bit.  Depending on the power of your microwave, 20-30 seconds per clove is enough.  The first time you try this, peel some extra cloves, check them often, and discard any that become hard in the middle or otherwise scorch.

Some other suggested variations

Walnuts, onions, and some strongly flavored cheese:  parmesan, dry jack, pecorino, with a drizzle of olive oil

Walnuts, onions, and rosemary with or without a bit of cheese

Pine nuts, garlic, oregano, olive oil with or without a bit of cheese

Almonds, fennel, and sugar

Thinly sliced potatoes or eggplant, a bit of herbs and salt

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