Rooting Around

A friend mentioned recently the jar of fennel root and orange pesto that was living in her cupboard.  What a brilliant combination!  Why hadn't I thought of that myself?  Never one to rest on someone else's accomplishments, I decided to one-up that jarred wonder.  This flavorful pizza is my contribution this the party. 

But there's more!  Caramelize that fennel and use it as a dip, a spread, a side vegetable, with eggs for breakfast... add some red bell pepper and onions, serve with fish or poultry and you've got a special meal.

Fennel Root and Orange Rosemary Pizza
Serves 4-8

1 crust, rolled thin
1 fennel root, sliced thin
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
Zest of one orange, divided
Juice of half an orange
2/3 cup ricotta
1/3 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
1 - 2 tablespoons olive oil
Nutmeg, salt, pepper
Several sprigs of fresh rosemary, removed from stem
1/2 cup basil pesto
Handful of pinenuts
1 1/2 cups mozzarella, shredded
1/4 cup Parmesan, grated
Crushed red pepper

Melt butter with olive oil over low heat in large pan; add fennel root and allow to slowly caramelize. When fennel is soft and golden, remove from heat and season with salt, pepper, and half of the orange zest.

Combine ricotta, 1/3 cup of Parmesan, orange juice, olive oil, and remaining zest; season liberally with nutmeg, salt, and pepper. Spread ricotta mix over raw crust; sprinkle rosemary over cheese. Parbake in 425 degree oven, about 15 minutes, or until crust just starting to crisp and brown. Remove from oven.

Spread pesto over ricotta crust; add fennel root, pinenuts, and cheese. Return pizza to oven and bake until done, another 15 minutes or until cheeses melt.
Serve with plenty of crushed red pepper.


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