1 Loaf Dense Artisan Bread
1/2-3/4 C Pesto
1/3 C Grape Tomatoes
1/4 C Toasted Pine Nuts
1-1 1/2 C Shredded Mozzarella
Pear Balsamic Reduction:
1 C Balsamic Vinegar
Or For My Fresh Pesto:
1/2 C Toasted Pine Nuts + 1/2 C Raw Pine Nuts
4 oz Basil
6 oz Finely Shredded Parmesan
3-4 Cloves Garlic
1/2 tsp Pepper
1/2 tsp Salt
1 Lemon Zested
1 Lemon Juiced
1 1/4 C Olive Oil
Click HERE for printable recipe
Today started with some seriously gorgeous weather! – Which I have to pause and giggle about for a moment, because I JUST made chili this past week in hopes of willing in colder weather. Oh the irony! Anyhow, I was ready to plug my phone into my computer to save the 1,000+ photos of food off of it, but to my surprise my computer didn’t recognize my device anymore!! WHAT?! Long story short after a system restore, and trying my iphone on three separate computers (yes, we have three), my husband found out that the new update is no longer compatible with mock iphone chargers! After a trip to Radio Shack we now have an official iphone cable, one semi salty blogger, some truly first world problems, and plenty of room to take pictures of this caprese gone crazy. Moral of the story? I needed to vent ;)
Now that I have that off my chest, this recipe is super easy and extra cheesy! If you know me well, you know I am a sucker for everything related to cheese. So much in fact that I am pretty sure I will soon make the transformation from human being, into Parmigiano Reggiano wheel. I’m pretty excited about it, but my husband…not so much! Until that happens, we begin by pre-heating your oven to 400°, and slicing your pears into cubes. Add pears into a small pot, with your balsamic vinegar, and cook over medium high heat until pears become very tender. Use a potato masher, or slotted spoon, to press your pears down to leach out all of their liquid. Strain into a bowl, and put reduction aside for later use.
If you aren’t using store bought pesto begin by adding all of your pesto ingredients, besides your oil, into your food processor. Blend until mix is well combined.
Add in oil slowly, and then set in the fridge for a few minutes to cool. Feel free to eat a spoonful, or six, and then commence your afternoon workout as scheduled!
Now comes the tricky part…Slicing the bread! You will want to make sure you get a VERY dense bread, or you will have pieces of the top flying everywhere (which, if you too went through iphone-ocalypse this morning might be quite stressful). - Sips wine, takes a deep breath, and continues - Cut your bread into 1 inch cubes, and spread the pieces apart with your hands. Use a spatula to coat each of the sections with your pesto, and then cover the sides of your bread with foil. Place one more sheet of foil on top, and bake for 10 minutes.
Note: If your bread is still falling apart you can remedy it with adding extra cheese in those spots!
Next, slice your tomatoes, and proceed to toast your pine nuts.
Once your bread comes out of the oven put your pine nuts and tomatoes into the sections of your bread. Add in an excessive amount of cheese, and press everything into your bread with a spoon. With your foil top still removed bake again for 15-20 minutes.
Drizzle the bread with your balsamic reduction, and dig in!! I have found that this is the perfect comfort food, when you have ‘one of THOSE days,’ and being that you know now my truth I am off to devour this piece by piece!
*Note: This also looks beautiful when it's topped with fresh basil, and some of your leftover grape tomatoes. Adds a touch of color, and gives you a little extra goodie to eat! Yum!