Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Pizza with Basil Pesto, Black Olives n Pine Nut

Elisa, the name of the Pizza in Spizza's pizzeria chain in Singapore, from where i had tasted a pizza with these ingredients. This was sometime in 2004 when i used to live in Singapore, Gagan, a friend of mine, who also introduced me to many restaurants in Singapore, had brought this pizza at our house from the Club street outlet. At the first look green and dark. totally not appetizing to even taste it. (The picture on left is when i had made this pizza for the first time when my friends were coming over for lunch) I was only introduced to Indian style of pizza at that time. Then my flat mate Shilpi and her mom( who was visisting us then) really appreciated the taste, so i thought to taste it. so very reluctantly i i took the first bite, then second and then third then so forth.. i wa
s confused coz i had tasted the basil pesto also for the first time then only. the virgin oil had added to the taste. The other ingredient which was adding to the taste were pine nuts (chilgoza). I never had pine nut until then other than in winters or when they us
ed to come as part of Diwali's dry fruit trays. And then what! this became my most fav. pizza ever.

I then started visiting Spizza at Club street quite often, just for this and also their tiramisu. The head chef there was pretty cool. She hardly spoke English but allowed me to the procedure, how she used to make pizza. generally it was open counter there but standing there and staring was litle odd, without taking permission.
And when i shifted to Harbour front office. voila, they had a branch of Spizza in Harbour front tower. Whenever we had team lunches, or lunches with friends or when with people visiting me from India. I introduced
me this pizza to everyone and everyone just loved it! such a simple ingredients and awesome taste.. leaving a slice behind was like a sin! Also, with additional $1, we get extra olives.. yum!!!

When i went to Singapore this time, to have Elisa Pizza was on my top of the to do list. I went to Club street, with few friends who hadn't this pizza, i was
making them feel as if they had committed sin! and straight awa
y ordered the pizza. But, it had come with added Tomato sauce also. I was shocked and told them, i didn't order this and ordered something which is without Tomato sauce and told them i came there for 5 years and had same ingredients. But then the waiter told me that ever since he had been working there, they pizza had looked like this only. I asked him, Since when he was working there, he replied 3 years. I said ... aaah! what they change the ingredients, since i left. But as he was i was so surprised and really wanted the Old Elisa, he called the chef. The chef got little irritated i think. he said that was from other chef she has gone back to Italy now and i have done some changes in the menu. if u want i can bake that for u, but please check
menu first then order. I was like... aw man... i apologised to him and thanked a million times to get
me the pizza i wanted.

Well when the pizza arrived. it wasn't the same but still the same. i mean the amount of basil pesto was far less, but i thought i wouldn't complain and just eat.
And was telling my friends how it used to be before, And my friends were like .... Ashima!eat this without any further complaints, but they really liked it and could guess how the original would taste like!

(these pics are from my last visit to SPizza, Club Street, with friends, in my last trip to singapore in April 2011)

When i moved back to delhi in 2008, i didn't find something like that in any pizzeria, so thought to try on my own. But on my last visit to Sartoria Restaurant at Basant Lok Market, Vasant Vihar, New Delhi, in December last year i could find a pizza with same ingredients.


Pizza Dough (please find the recipe in earlier blogs)
1/2 cup Basil Pesto (recipe in previous Blog)
1 tbsp roasted roasted Pine nuts
1/2 cup Black Olives (chopped as rings)
1 tbsp extra vergin olive oil
100 gms mozzarella cheese ( u may choose other pizza cheese also if this is not available)
Parmigiana cheese (optional)


Preheat the oven at 230 degrees. if you have a terracotta stone slab or pizza stone slab or otherwise the oven try would also do, put it in the oven for preheat.

Mean while, Spread a little flour on kitchen slab or top, place the a dough bowl and press it with your finger first into disc type shape or roll it on slab with help of a rolling pin to create 9-10 inches circle.

In restaurants they have a tool with hold the pizza and put it in the oven, but at home we don't so, Before adding the other ingredients, Place the dough on preheated oven tray or any base.

First,Spread the Basil Pesto on the dough disc, then pine nut, black olives followed the cheese and few more olives (if you want) and lastly drizzle the extra virgin Olive Oil.

Place it in the oven for around 10-20 minutes. The heat and browning ability of the oven varies.So monitor it while baking, so that it is cooked evenly on the top and the bottom.

Remove from the oven, Sprinkle some Parmesan cheese if you want.

Variation: you may use sun dried tomatoes as an additional topping. Or use little tomato sauce as additional base sauce.

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