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Food Column ATK Pesto Flatbread

This photo shows pesto flatbread with artichokes, olives and arugula. The recipe appears in the cookbook “Dinner Illustrated.”

Store-bought pizza dough makes this flatbread weeknight-friendly, and the perfect combination of salty and savory toppings plus a quick homemade pesto will make it a new staple in your rotation.

A hot water bath (120 F) brings the cold dough to room temperature quickly, making it easier to stretch and shape. If you have time, you can let the dough sit for 1 to 2 hours on the counter instead.

Parbaking the crust before adding the toppings ensures that it won't get soggy. Be sure to use fresh mozzarella packed in water, not low-moisture mozzarella.

Note that you'll need 1 cup of basil, so shop accordingly.

PESTO FLATBREAD WITH ARTICHOKES, OLIVES AND ARUGULA

Servings: 4

Start to finish: 1 hour

1 pound refrigerated pizza dough

1/2 cup oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, plus their oil

1/4 cup pitted kalamata olives

6 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese

3/4 cup jarred whole baby artichokes packed in water (4 ounces)

Salt and pepper

1 cup fresh basil

1/4 ounce Parmesan cheese

2 garlic cloves

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons pine nuts

2 ounces (2 cups) baby arugula

Adjust oven rack to lowest position and heat oven to 500 F. Place dough in zipper-lock bag and submerge in large bowl of hot water, squeezing periodically to warm through, about 10 minutes. Measure out and reserve 1 tablespoon sun-dried tomato oil. Pat sun-dried tomatoes dry and chop coarse. Cut olives in half. Slice mozzarella 1/4 inch thick and pat dry. Drain artichokes, pat dry, and halve.

Spray rimmed baking sheet with vegetable oil spray. Press and roll dough into 15-by-11-inch rectangle on lightly floured counter. (If dough springs back, roll into as large a rectangle as possible, then let rest on counter for 5 minutes before continuing to roll out.) Transfer dough to prepared sheet and press to edges of sheet. Bake dough until bottom is just beginning to brown, about 5 minutes.

Remove crust from oven and press flat any large bubbles with spatula. Brush dough with sun-dried tomato oil, leaving 1/2-inch border around edge. Arrange olives, mozzarella, artichokes, and sun-dried tomatoes over crust and sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.

Bake flatbread until mozzarella is melted and crust is golden around edges, 10 to 15 minutes, rotating sheet halfway through baking.

While flatbread bakes, pick 1 cup basil leaves. Grate Parmesan (2 tablespoons). Mince garlic. Process olive oil, pine nuts, 2 tablespoons water, basil, and garlic in food processor until smooth, about 1 minute, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Transfer to small bowl, stir in Parmesan, and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Transfer flatbread to wire rack and let cool for 5 minutes. While flatbread cools, transfer 1 tablespoon pesto to large bowl. Add arugula to bowl, toss to coat, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Dollop remaining pesto over flatbread to taste, then arrange arugula over top. Slice flatbread and serve.

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