I always did – and always will – love the rhythm of life in Spain. Getting up late, staying up even later, eating very late – no problem for me. So when my husband decided to go back to coaching soccer and I was faced with the fact that at least twice a week he would not be home for dinner before the time some folks already hit the sack, I was, let’s say, pleasantly motivated.
This meant that I would have to come up with late night meals for just the two of us, suppers that could be prepped ahead of time and finished off at the last minute. Dinners that taste wonderful, that make one feel welcomed, that remind one how good life is. What a wonderful little challenge to throw myself into!
So when the beautiful beets I had bought at the market caught my attention while rummaging through the fridge on one of those recent soccer days, and the ridiculously tiny left over of pesto (note to myself: find out who leaves that little and protest next time you see him!) showed up at the same moment, I decided to fix a beet salad accompanied by a pesto focaccia that night. Ha.
While the beets were cooking I suddenly realized that a) there weren’t as many as I originally thought there were and b) the amount of pesto was so minimal that I would have to fix more – which was not my intent at that moment – in order to make it a pesto focaccia. So why not combine everything, make it a happy ménage à trois, and call it a beet focaccia?
The answer came during the hours the cooked beets were cooling off: What if I added what I call “the best feta ever” – a one of a kind, über fluffy, fresh cheese made of sheep & goat milk? Our dinner then would become more like a beet pizza. Beet pizza? Beetsa!
True, it took me long to “design” dinner that night. I even reinvented the dish while it was baking in the oven and decided to throw the handful or two of arugula over the Beetsa once it would come out of the oven. We ate very late. But so what? They do this in Spain, too. And we like it. And we loved that dinner, we really did.
Pizza with Beets, Goat Cheese, Arugula and Pesto
(makes 1 sheet pan sized pizza)
- 1 lb pizza dough (home made or store bought)
- 1 1/2 lb beets (one or various colors)
- 3 tbsp pesto
- 4-6 oz good quality fresh goat and/or sheep milk cheese, or a good feta
- 1-2 handfuls arugula
- salt and pepper
Wash beets, remove the stalks and cut off the tips.
In a large pot, add 1 inch water, then put a steaming basket in the pot and add the beets. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and cook until beets are softened, about 45 minutes. Transfer beets into a colander and let them cool.
Peel beets and cut into thin slices.
Cover a baking sheet with parchment paper and pull dough thinly into shape so it covers the sheet.
Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
Spread the pesto onto the dough evenly. Cover with beet slices, slightly overlapping, if you wish.
Crumble or cut the cheese into chunks and top the beets with it.
Sprinkle the pizza with freshly ground pepper and salt as you please.
Bake in the preheated oven until the crust is brown and the cheese starts browning, about 20-30 minutes.
Top with the arugula, let stand 5 minutes and then enjoy!