To be honest, broccoli has to be one of my least favorite vegetables in terms of personality. I imagine it as the mundane, spiritless type. No charisma. Not the vegetable you'd like to have over for dinner. To give this cruciferous vegetable some spunk, I decided to turn it into a pesto. It does, after all, bring its beautiful green color to the table and most importantly offers a wealth of vitamins, minerals, and fiber to this pizza.

Pesto couldn't be a better example of something so simple and rustic that comes together to create an explosion of flavor. Other than the addition of broccoli and the substitution of walnuts, this pesto is like any other. I combine the broccoli and walnuts with garlic, lemon zest, basil, freshly grated parmesan, and olive oil.

The great thing about pizza is there are no limitations. This dough can be the foundation for anything that is leftover in your fridge. And in my opinion, it should always be topped with a perfectly runny yolk. Just put an egg on it.



For the crust (adapted from Local Milk)-

1/2 cup buttermilk (room temp)
3/4 cup water, almost hot to the touch (about 125° F)
2 tablespoons dry yeast
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon honey
3 cups all purpose flour (sifted, if you're into that)
3/4 teaspoon salt
olive oil for oiling the bowl
cornmeal or flour for dusting

For the pesto-

1 head of broccoli
2 cloves garlic
1/2 cup walnuts
1 cup loosely packed basil
1/4 cup parmigiano reggiano
zest from one lemon
1/4 cup olive oil

For assembly-

1 yellow squash
goat cheese
eggs, optional 
crushed red pepper, optional
baby greens, optional

Make Crust:
In a small bowl, mix together the buttermilk, olive oil, honey, and water. Sprinkle in the yeast. Stir once, and let sit in a warm place until it's nice and foamy, about 10 to 20 minutes.

Mix the flour and salt well. Stir in the foamy yeast mix with a wooden spoon quickly, dispersing clumps as much as possible at this point. You will have a wet dough.
Dust a work surface liberally with flour and knead the dough. The dough will stick at first but just add little bits of flour and keep kneading. Start with about 1/4 cups but add less  as you continue to knead. You want to end up with a dough that is "just past sticky" and is "threatening to stick to the work surface". Knead for about ten minutes until you have a smooth, silky dough (not a dry, tough dough).

1st rise. Lightly oil the bottom of a large bowl with the olive oil. Form dough into a ball. Place the dough in the bowl, and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Place the bowl in a spot that's room temperature, neither warm nor cool. In 2 hours or so, the dough should double (or triple) in size.
While the dough is resting, prepare the pesto.

For the pesto:

Prepare a large bowl of ice water in order to cool the broccoli.

Bring a large pot of water to boil. Cut the broccoli into florets and add to the boiling water. Blanch for one minute. Strain and immediately shock in the ice water to stop the cooking. 

Add the blanched broccoli, garlic, walnuts, and basil to a food processor. Run until the mix is fairly smooth, but still has some texture. It should not be a puree. Remove and add to a bowl. Pour in parmesan, lemon zest, and olive oil. Stir to combine. Add salt and pepper to taste. 

For assembly:

Pre-heat oven to 500 degrees.

Using a mandollin, slice the squash thinly and set aside.

Cut the dough into 4 quarters and shape the pizzas on a floured surface. Stretch the dough with your hands or roll with a rolling pin until the desired shape and thickness has been reached.

Once formed, make sure each pizza isn't sticking and add flour beneath them if they seem to be. Cover them with a towel and let them rest again for a minimum of 10 and a maximum of 60 minutes.

 Add cornmeal or flour to the baking pan or pizza stone and transfer the dough. Spread a generous amount of pesto onto the dough (remember that this will be the only sauce) leaving a border for the crust. Arrange the squash around and top with goat cheese. 

Place into oven for 10-15 minutes or until the dough is cooked through and the crust and cheese have browned. 

If using eggs, complete the steps above and place into oven for 5 minutes. Remove and crack egg(s) onto the pizza. Place back into oven for 5-7 minutes or until the white is cooked through. 

Remove and add fresh greens, crushed red pepper, and freshly shaved parmesan.

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