Sunday, July 5, 2015

Pizza Grilled Cheese

This grilled cheese. This made me no longer want to bake a cake. It was so good, so complexly flavorful and exciting and fun to make that I lost desire to throw myself into making a cake.

I also lost stomach capacity.

But not to worry! Cake will be back soon.

This recipe is brought to you by the struggling basil plant on our back porch, pine nuts the people we're subletting from (our superletters?) left behind, and parmesan cheese nubs. It's also brought to you by good, crusty bread.

Shoutout to my sister-in-law's dad, who subtly packed up leftover bread after a 4th of July BBQ and handed me the bag on my way out. I have been the beneficiary of their kindness and food many times--some kale from their garden made its way into my eggs the other day, too!

Anyway. This grilled cheese is brought to you by the letter A, as in mozzArella, which I never know how to spell. It's brought to you by the glory of butter sizzling in a skillet. By the power of a bit of olive oil and a lot of heat to bring out extraordinary sweetness in otherwise ordinary tomatoes.

Another single meal, but easily adaptable to however many mouths there are to feed. FYI: I plan to put the extra pesto on pasta tomorrow night, then put the pasta in a frittata the following night. It's a piggyback kind of return on investment. Knock yourself out!

Pizza Grilled Cheese
Yield: one sandwich, easily multiplied


  • a bunch of basil
  • olive oil
  • salt
  • a garlic clove
  • a few tablespoons grated parmesan
  • a scant quarter cup pine nuts
  • 1 small tomato
  • 5 or 6 small balls of fresh mozzarella, or a few slices of a big ball
  • two slices crusty bread
  • butter
  1. Roast tomato: slice it up, put on a sheet pan (foil makes clean up much easier!). Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with salt, and put under the broiler. Keep an eye on it while you make the pesto, below. Roast until soft, with browning edges. Take out and set aside.
  2. Make the pesto: [Note: I used a mortar and pestle but this can easily be adapted to a food processor.] Pound the garlic clove with a pinch of coarse salt until it's entirely broken down into a paste. 
  3. Toast pine nuts for a few minutes in a skillet on the stove, then add to the mortar. Grind up. Add the cheese and grind again. 
  4. Then, coarsely slice the basil, add, and grind more. Drizzle in olive oil and keep grinding until its consistency is to your liking. Taste, add salt/pepper, cheese, etc.-whatever you think it needs.
  5. Heat a skillet over medium-low heat. Butter one side of each slice of bread, then layer on the pesto, cheese, and tomatoes. Cook for a few minutes, until golden brown
    and starting to melt, then flip. If your cheese looks like it needs some help melting (though putting hot tomatoes on it helps that along a bit), throw a lid on the pan while the second side cooks to capture heat.
  6. Cut and serve. Pick your jaw up off the table so you can keep chowing down!
Inspired by Food52 and Joy the Baker.

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