Arugula Pesto Pizza

Luckily, I had this in my archives.  Due to my virus, I haven’t cooked anything more complicated than a boiled egg in the last week, and I’ve been popping ibuprofen and acetaminophen like candy.

I think the worst is over, knock on wood.  The high fever seems to be gone, and I’m left with a headache now.

I am the WORST sick person EVER!

Whenever I get sick, I am convinced I have some deadly disease.  It’s horrible.  I’ve always been like this, ever since I was a little kid.  That’s why I’m so terrified of pandemics.  And the worst part is, that two years ago, I went to outpatients with what I thought was a chest infection and ended up finding out I had lymphoma.  I’m glad it was picked up on so I could get treatment, but at the same time, it validated my irrational fear.

Being sick and living alone is also the worst.  It’s nice to have someone there to bring you juice, make you food, buy you more ibuprofen and popsicles, and rush you to the hospital if need be.  I was lucky Michael was around for part of the week, but the last few days I’ve been on my own.  I’m starting to feel better, but I’ve decided I definitely don’t like being sick and alone.  I’m so lonely and bored.  I can’t wait to go back to work.

And I don’t like the interruption to my life.  I hate calling in sick, because I know it’s difficult to get my shifts covered and I hate other people having to work extra for me.  I missed going on a pub crawl Saturday night.  And my apartment is in shambles!  I missed my “get sh*t done day” because of the damn fever so my apartment is desperate need of a cleaning and I’m running out of clean underwear.

So if you’re not sick, and in the mood for pizza, give this a try.  It’s one of my favorite pizza recipes!

Arugula Pesto Pizza
Herby Whole Wheat Pizza Dough (see below)
1/2 cup Arugula Pesto (or you could use basil pesto, homemade or store bought)
1/2 – 1 pkg mushrooms, sliced (I used mini portobellos this time, but I’ve made it with white mushrooms in the past)
1 large tomato, sliced
Mozzarella cheese, grated
Preheat oven to 375º. 
Saute mushrooms in a frying pan over medium heat in a non-stick frying pan until browned.  I suppose you could use oil if you wanted to, but I didn’t.
Spread dough out on pizza stone or in pizza pan.  Top with pesto.  Top with sautéed mushrooms.  Then spread with mozzarella cheese.  Top with tomato slices.  Sprinkle with a spoon or two of parmesan.
Bake for 25-30 minutes until crust is golden.
Herby Whole Wheat Pizza Dough
(adapted from Lacey Hubbard’s Homemade Pizza Dough in one of those community cookbooks)
1 cup white flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 tsp sugar
Pinch of salt
1 tbsp yeast
1 cup water
2 tbsp olive oil
1 1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 tbsp onion flakes
1 1/2 tsp dried basil
1 1/2 tsp dried parsley
1 1/2 tsp dried oregano
Heat water in microwave until slightly warm (like 20 seconds or so).  Stir in the sugar until dissolved.  Add yeast and salt.  Let sit until foamy and yeasty (about 10 minutes). 
Pour yeast mixture into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook.  Add oil, all of the whole wheat flour, 1/2 cup of white flour, and the herbs.  Mix on speed 2 for a minute.   Add the rest of the flour and mix on speed 2 until the dough forms a ball and the planetary action of the mixer cleans the sides of the bowl, just like the shopping channel said it would (about 2 minutes).
Place dough in an oiled bowl, covered with a damp towel in a warm place and let rise for 30 minutes.

Tomato and Ricotta Spaghetti with Basil

I had some leftover ricotta cheese and basil to use up.  I also needed a quick and easy lunch after yoga, before going to work.

Internet search for recipes to the rescue!

What did people DO before the internet?  How did anyone find out anything?  I guess they used books and the library.  But it’s so much easier to type in a few words in a search box and badda bing badda boom – results!

I like to browse on  It’s one of the first websites I started looking at when I first started embracing my love of cooking.  I typed in “ricotta” and “basil” and found a potential recipe.  I read the comments and made a few adaptations of my own.

And here you have it… lunch or supper!

Tomato and Ricotta Spaghetti with Basil
(adapted from Allrecipes)
1/8 tsp red pepper flakes
1/2 cup ricotta
1 clove garlic, grated
28 oz can diced tomatoes, drained
1 tbsp Epicure Margherita sauce mix (if you don’t have, try 1 tsp oregano)
6 basil leaves, chiffonaded + more for topping
2 tsp parmesan
Spaghetti (enough for 2-3 people)
3-4 pieces of bacon, cooked and crumbled
Boil water in a pot, add spaghetti.  Cook until el dente.  Drain.
Meanwhile, heat 1 turn of pan EVOO on medium-low heat, add garlic.  Saute until golden.  Add tomatoes, chilli flakes, Margherita spices, pepper.  Simmer for a few minutes.  Add 6 leaves worth of basil.  Stir in ricotta until heated through.
Toss spaghetti with sauce.  Plate.  Top with additional basil, parmesan, and bacon (I’m sure diced pancetta would work too, if you had any of that left over).
*  There’s no bacon in the picture because I added it to the leftovers the next day.  I highly recommend the bacon!  Takes this dish from good to great!