Pear & Blue Cheese Pizza with Arugula and Hazelnuts

pizza, pear, blue cheese, chickpea flour

I have to confess something fairly serious. This whole food blogging thing? I kind of suck at it. I mean, besides the constant pressure of dreaming up new dishes to document at home, we are pretty much expected to tote our cameras everywhere and snap up every last crumb to cross our lips. Well, that might be an exaggeration, but it’s certain that a standard has been set. Thanks to food bloggers, it’s not uncommon to be eating in a restaurant and see the person at the next table photographing each and every plate to touch their table.

I’m not one to take photographic note of everything I eat out of my house, but I would absolutely make an exception when being invited to a special just-for-foodies pear themed dinner at one of my favorite restaurants in Boston. This explains why when I went to bed the night before, I made sure the memory card was in my camera, not the computer, and also why I dutifully took out my camera batter to charge it. There would be nothing worse than running out of battery halfway through the second course of pears carefully selected and prepared by chef Jody Adams herself.

Except forgetting your camera battery so you can’t take any pictures at all. See, I told you I’m a bad blogger.

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So instead you’ll just have to take my word for it. That Concorde pears, delicately shaved and tossed with a touch of bitter greens and blue cheeses makes for a better and more interesting salad than green garnished with pears. And that Bartlett pears, pickled and pureed, make an intriguing accompaniment to sweet and sour mackerel escobeche, finished with pine nuts and currants. If you’ve never taken a melon baller to a pear, you just might miss the sweet roasted Forelle pears amidst crispy brussels sprouts and bacon under a mustard-crusted braised chicken leg. And finally, how a dainty little Seckel pear becomes the perfect match for a deep dark chocolate tart after taking a bath in warm ginger.

All of this was the result of an invitation from the fabulously fun women at USA Pears to join them at an exclusive dinner at Rialto, where we not only learned about all the varieties of pears, but got to experience them in four uniquely separate preparations. The evening was filled with fun facts and good conversation. Fortunately, Megan was at my table and got some great shots, if you’d like to see what went down.

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I may not have come home with pictures, but I didn’t leave empty-handed either. Along with a fun swag bag, I left with an intense craving for – you guessed it – more pears. I quickly penciled in “pears” for every day of the following week’s meal plan.

We started off with this pear pizza. Pears and blue cheese are a fairly standard combination, for good reason: the delicate, sweet pear is the perfect contrast to the sharp, earthy cheese. I piled these on top of a rosemary-spiced chickpea crust along with some hazelnuts, and while it baked, tossed arugula with a quick vinaigrette made from cinnamon-pear balsamic vinegar (a fun treat from my Portland vacation.) The result was a deliciously sweet and savory pizza with just the right amount of bite from the peppery arugula and vinaigrette. I’m including extra photos, to make up for the  lack of pictures I took at Rialto. I wouldn’t want your pear cravings to go unsatisfied, trust me.

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Pear & Blue Cheese Pizza with Arugula and Hazelnuts

Yield: Makes a 12" pizza, serves 2

Ingredients:

Crust:
1/2 packet yeast (4gm)
1/2 cup warm water
3/4 cup (90gm) chickpea flour
2 teaspoons (6gm) vital wheat gluten*
3/4 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary
pinch of salt

Toppings:
1 teaspoon olive oil
1/2 of a large onion, thinly sliced
1/2 of a large pear, thinly sliced
2 oz blue cheese, crumbled
1/2 oz hazelnuts, chopped
2 cups arugula
1 tablespoon vinegar
2 teaspoons dijon mustard
1 teaspoon maple syrup
freshly ground black pepper

Directions:

Stir the yeast into the warm water and let stand for 10 minutes, or until foamy.

Combine the chickpea flour, vital wheat gluten, rosemary and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer; stir to combine. Add the yeast mixture and mix with the dough hook, until thoroughly combined. Spray a bowl with cooking spray and turn the dough into the bowl. Cover with a clean dish towel and let rise in a warm place for 30 minutes.

In a nonstick skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-low heat. Saute the onions until soft and lightly browned, about 8-10 minutes.

Preheat oven to 450ºF. Tear off a large rectangle of parchment paper and place it onto a work surface. Turn the dough onto the paper. Using a rubber spatula, gently spread the dough into a 12" circle. Carefully slide the parchment, with the crust, onto pizza stone or baking sheet. Scatter the onions, pears, blue cheese, and hazelnuts evenly over the crust. Transfer to the oven and bake for 15-20 minutes, until crust is crisp and lightly browned.

Meanwhile, whisk together the vinegar, mustard and syrup. Toss with the arugula in a large bowl.

When pizza is done, immediately top with the dressed arugula.

*Can be omitted to make the recipe gluten-free.

Nutrition Facts:

Servings Per Recipe: 2
Amount Per Serving
Calories 408.3
Total Fat 18.2 g
Saturated Fat 6.0 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1.1 g
Monounsaturated Fat 7.2 g
Cholesterol 21.3 mg
Sodium 823.9 mg
Potassium 328.6 mg
Total Carbohydrate 44.3 g
Dietary Fiber 10.5 g
Sugars 7.3 g
Protein 19.5 g

Cara Lyons, www.carascravings.com


This post is featured on Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays for 10/18/2011. Make sure to stop by for the roundup up (healthier) treats!Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Thanks for visiting Cara’s Cravings. If you like what you see and want more, subscribe via email or in a reader, follow me on Twitter, or visit me on Facebook.

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26 Responses to “Pear & Blue Cheese Pizza with Arugula and Hazelnuts”

  1. 1

    burnt.apple — October 17, 2011 @ 12:36 pm Reply

    One of my favorite pizzas!

  2. 2

    Janine — October 17, 2011 @ 1:05 pm Reply

    this sounds exactly like what I'd do – prepare my camera for a special occasion only to forget the memory card or battery! but I'm taking your word for it – the pizza looks delightful!

  3. 3

    Hannah — October 17, 2011 @ 2:04 pm Reply

    Such a sophisticated combination of flavors- Way to elevate the ordinary pizza! I especially like that you used chickpea flour in the crust.

  4. 4

    Kate — October 17, 2011 @ 2:16 pm Reply

    You're a liar – you're a FABULOUS food blogger.  Even if you don't tote your camera around like a third arm.

  5. 5

    Jennifurla — October 17, 2011 @ 3:19 pm Reply

    I need this in my lunch life pronto

  6. 6

    Kelly — October 17, 2011 @ 4:00 pm Reply

    I wouldn't say you suck at food blogging!  I think everyone has to make their own rules of what they do and do not want to do.  I personally decided early on I didn't want to tote my camera anywhere or take photos of my every meal.  Yes, I'll bring it along to things that are particularly noteworthy and when I don't think my photographing things will get in the way of others enjoying their experiences, but I'm not going to take pictures of EVERYTHING.That looks fantastic.  What a lovely get together.

  7. 7

    Emily — October 17, 2011 @ 8:37 pm Reply

    I'm going to start using YOUR chickpea crust recipes now. You've turned into quite the expert. I bet pears were perfect on this pizza!

  8. 8

    foodie @ Tasting Spot — October 17, 2011 @ 9:57 pm Reply

    i really like your food pictures and want to invite you to try out tastingspot.com. it's for anyone that just wants another place to submit photos and share it will other foodies. It’s still in beta version, but would love for you to start adding some photos and help get it going.

  9. 9

    DeliciousDish — October 18, 2011 @ 12:34 am Reply

    Aw. You could have used my photos. I wouldn't mind. But thanks for the link. :) This pizza is such a great idea, and I need to look for that cinnamon-pear balsamic. I think I would love it. I'm trying to come up with some pear things too. I feel so inspired by that dinner.

  10. 10

    Marla Meridith — October 18, 2011 @ 12:29 pm Reply

    Girl, you are a great blogger with or without the camera batteries…love the pizza and the hazelnuts are a great touch!

  11. 11

    Shannon — October 18, 2011 @ 6:55 pm Reply

    this sounds absolutely amazing!!  as does the pear dinner at rialto (i'm jealous)!  Definitely one to add to the list :)

  12. 12

    consciouscrumbs — October 18, 2011 @ 8:37 pm Reply

    Cara, this sounds fantastic. I love pear with blue cheese. We make pizza every Friday night at our house. I'm giving this one a try ASAP! Thank you. Pretty picture too–pizzas aren't always so photogenic.

  13. 13

    Maria — October 18, 2011 @ 9:21 pm Reply

    I love everything about this pizza!

  14. 14

    Sara — October 18, 2011 @ 10:15 pm Reply

    This looks really delicious!  Love all the flavors going on here…especially hazelnuts and pears…those go so well together! :)

  15. 15

    Islandvittles — October 18, 2011 @ 10:48 pm Reply

    Great looking pizza — your photos are fantastic!  Theresa

  16. 16

    janet @ the taste space — October 19, 2011 @ 12:09 am Reply

    I have long ago given up on taking photos at restos… what a tease ifi one is not in theh city and there is no recipe to duplicate it at home! Funnily enough, I've had this pizza! I went to a demo by USA Rice and they made the same dish. This was definetly my favourite of the bunch, though. Nice to see you making it at home. :)

  17. 17

    Amanda @ Coping with Frugality — October 19, 2011 @ 5:32 am Reply

    Cara, this pizza looks amazing!  I am stunned but I think I have all of the ingredients on hand so I will have to make it soon.  Found you through Slightly Indulgent Tuesday.  I would love it if you checked out my blog: http://www.copingwithfrugality.com

  18. 18

    Julia Davidson — October 19, 2011 @ 6:48 am Reply

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  19. 19

    Julia Davidson — October 19, 2011 @ 6:50 am Reply

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  20. 20

    Ranjani — October 19, 2011 @ 1:45 pm Reply

    Love this crust!! I am definitely going to try it soon – I've got so much chickpea flour in the pantry. Your pizza is beautiful!

  21. 21

    nanapp — October 20, 2011 @ 6:01 am Reply

    Any suggestions for an alternative to blue cheese for this pizza – I would love to make it for pizza party but I can't stomach blue cheese!

  22. 22

    Cara — October 20, 2011 @ 10:51 am Reply

    How about manchego? I think that would be good!

  23. 23

    grace — October 21, 2011 @ 8:43 am Reply

    i'm a little weirded out by the thought of pears and blue cheese in the same dish, but i've come to learn that your food instincts are very good.  the crunchy hazelnuts are a great addition!

  24. 24

    Roxana GreenGirl — October 21, 2011 @ 2:01 pm Reply

    when it comes to taking photos of the food I eat outside my dinning room I'm the worst food blogger. I almost never carry my camera with me. This pizza sounds delicious, love pears paired with blue cheese, yum!

  25. 25

    Hannah — October 21, 2011 @ 2:14 pm Reply

    So fancy! The combination of flavors sounds amazing, and it's definitely a few steps up from the standard sort of pizza.

  26. 26

    Christine — November 1, 2011 @ 10:45 pm Reply

    Hi Cara, Your Pear and Blue Cheese Pizza with Arugula and Hazelnuts recipe has been selected to be featured in a Recipe Guessing Game. Please share the following link with your friends and fans. To play, go here:  http://knapkins.com/guess_games/170?source=blog      Congrats again!! :)

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