Root to Top Carrot Pizza
This carrot pizza uses the whole bunch, with the tops whizzed into a creamy pesto for the base, and strips of carrot root laid on top for a beautiful, jewel-toned presentation.
Makes: 1 (12-inch) pizza
For the pesto
- ½ cup pine nuts, slivered almonds, or chopped walnuts
- 1 cup roughly chopped carrot tops tightly packed
- ¾ cup baby spinach tightly packed
- ¼ cup fresh mint leaves tightly packed
- 1 large garlic clove
- 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
For the pizza
- 1 to 1½ pounds multicolored heirloom carrots scrubbed and cut into long, thin strips (⅛ to ¼ inch thick)
- ½ cup cream cheese
- 1 (14- to 16-ounce) ball pizza dough
- Extra-virgin olive oil
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped carrot tops
To make the pesto:
In a small skillet over medium-high heat, toast the nuts until they are fragrant and just starting to brown in parts, about 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove the skillet from the heat.
Combine the toasted nuts, carrot tops, spinach, mint, garlic, lemon juice, salt, and pepper in a food processor. Pulse until everything is finely chopped, then turn the processor to low or medium speed. With the processor running, gradually stream the oil through the feed tube and continue processing until the mixture looks smooth and creamy. Set the pesto aside (you will have about 1¼ cups).
To make the pizza:
In a small bowl, stir together the cream cheese and a scant ½ cup of the carrot top pesto.
Stretch or roll out your dough to a 12- to 14-inch circle or whatever shape you like (I stretched mine into a long oval shape), then transfer it to a parchment-lined baking sheet or a lightly floured pizza peel (if using a baking stone/steel).
Spread the cream cheese–pesto mixture on the dough, leaving a ½-inch border of dough all around. Depending on the size of your stretched/rolled-out dough, you might not need all of the pesto mixture. (Pro tip: It is delicious as a dip for raw veggies.) Lay the long carrot slices on top of the pesto mixture in a single layer. Brush the tops of the carrot slices with olive oil, then sprinkle with a big pinch of salt and a grind or two of black pepper.
Transfer the pizza to the oven and bake until the crust is golden and the carrots are easily pierced with the tip of a sharp knife—18 to 20 minutes.
Remove the pizza from the oven. In a small bowl, toss together the lemon zest and chopped carrot tops. Sprinkle this mixture over the pizza, give it a light drizzle of olive oil, and sprinkle with a little more salt and pepper if desired. Slice and serve.