Focaccia con la Zucca, Ricotta, Pancetta e Pesto di Coriandolo e Zenzero
Focaccia with Pumkpin, Ricotta, Bacon & Coriander +Ginger Pesto
"Pumpkin Pizza!" I hear you say... "....clearly the man's insane! No- wait a minute.. there's bacon on there..." Indeed! All that and more good stuff! Including the remainder of the huge bunch of cilantro that I picked up on Saturday... we all know how that stuff doesn't hold up so well... and neither do I without a good supper!
I guess this is a pizza of sorts, as it was assembled on a pizza base... but apart from the small amount of Parmesan cheese used- this is far from anything any sane Italian would serve you! But hey- I am Sicilian, was born in England and live in Germany- get over it and grab that pumpkin!
I cut the pumpkin- a Hokkaido of course, into thin slices, popped it onto the steam rack in my little saucepan and gave it a 5 minute steam bath, until it was a deep orange color and slightly translucent. I then turned the oven up to its highest setting and after 10 minutes, pre-baked my pizza base for 5 minutes to get it firm enough to flip... which gave me plenty of time in the meantime to prepare the rest of the toppings.
For the ricotta and cheese base, I added a little grated parmesan to some fresh, soft ricotta, with a little olive oil and a hint of crushed garlic. I stirred it together until everything was soft and creamy, added a little pepper and called it a day... easy!
For the pesto, I took the cilantro and chopped it as finely as I could, grated a small piece of ginger, some lime zest and a little garlic, and put this all into my little mortar and added a little olive oil, sesame oil, lime juice, salt, pepper and sugar... and ground, ground, ground it into a smooth, pulpy, delicious paste. No cheese or pine nuts here as with a traditional pesto Genovese, this had a decidedly Asian touch to it, which was great in combination with the pumpkin.
So- assembly time! I spread the base with the ricotta/cheese mix and laid out the pumpkin slices on top. I seasoned them with sea salt and coarsely ground pepper and then laid out a few slices of cherry tomato on top and a sprinkle of finely chopped bacon and pine nuts. A little extra cheese on top and that baby was ready for baking! Again, at the hottest setting for 10-15 minutes, until golden brown, crispy and delicious... and it was all of those things! Especially with the tangy pesto on top! Go on- be brave! Give it a go and you will love it every bit as much as I did... You know you can trust me by now! ;-)