Lemon, Fennel + Olive Pizza

I can’t even tell you how excited I am about this pizza – it was an experiment gone very, very right!

The creamy ricotta, sweet fennel, briny olives, and tart lemon are perfect together. The flavors are crisp and bright, yet the pizza is substantial enough to be a satisfying winter meal. One bight and it skyrocketed to favorite status; another bite and it became an instant classic.

I’m working with Pillsbury this month to create new recipes using their refrigerated pizza dough. Some will be pizza and others will use the dough in different ways, but I definitely want the recipes I develop to be unique. (More “deep dish pizza with brussels sprouts and bacon” and less “salami and chile pepper pizza” if ya know what I mean.)

I’m not even entirely sure how the final concept for this pizza came about. I was sitting at my desk thinking about winter and citrus and how maybe lemon oil would be nice on pizza… the next thing I knew I was in the kitchen topping pizza dough with caramelized fennel and slices of lemon. At the last second, I decided that I needed another bold flavor to tie everything together. I thought anchovies might be nice but, considering I hate them and don’t exactly keep them in the house, kalamata olives made a nice stand-in.

All in all? Pretty perfect if you ask me! Go ahead and give it a try – let me know what you think!

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 Lemon, Fennel + Olive Pizza

Serves 8

Prep Time: 10 minutes; Total Time: 25 minutes

Be sure to cut the lemons as thinly as you possibly can. Paper thin. (You can see in the photo above how thin we’re talking.) I actually started using a mandoline, but couldn’t get the slices thin enough. I ended up using a sharp knife, which worked perfectly.  Thin slices will ensure that the rinds get nice and soft as the lemons roast and you won’t get a huge mouth full of tart, bitter flavor. Next time, I think I’ll also cut the lemons into half moons instead of circles just to make the pizza a little easier to eat.

You also want to be sure to use part skim ricotta here. Full fat is too greasy and  will leave puddle of oil and a soggy crust. 

Ingredients

  • 1 can (13.8 ounces) Pillsbury® Refrigerated Classic Pizza Crust
  • 2 tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 1 medium bulb Fennel, cored and very thinly sliced
  • 3/4 cups Part Skim Ricotta
  • 1 small Lemon, very thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons sliced Kalamata Olives
  • 1 teaspoon chopped Fresh Parsley (optional)

Preparation

  1. Heat oven to 400F. Grease baking sheet. Unroll dough; places on greased sheet. Bake 10 minutes, or until crust begins to brown.
  2. Meanwhile, in 10-inch skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Cook fennel in oil 10 minutes, stirring frequently, until soft and golden brown.
  3. Spread ricotta over partially baked pizza crust. Top with caramelized fennel, lemon slices, and olives. Bake an additional 15 minutes. Sprinkle with parsley, if using, prior to serving.

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I was compensated by General Mills/Pillsbury for my time creating this recipe. All opinions are my own. 

Comments

  1. Lemon and fennel make one of my favourite salads so why not combine them with the salty olives for a special treat.

  2. How inventive! I love the sound of this pizza. I am bookmarking it for Summer – there is something about it that makes me want to sit outside and munch it with a cool glass of Chardonnay!

    • It would be perfect under the sun with a glass of chardonnay! Don’t wait for summer to try it though – the burst of citrus is really nice in the cold weather too, almost like bringing the sunshine inside. :)

  3. Ooo I’m so intrigued by this! I wouldn’t have thought the lemon peel would be so delicious but it does sound great!

    • Yeah, I wasn’t sure if it would work until I took the first bite but we use lemon peel all the time as zest, right? Definitely use small lemons though since they have thinner skin and less pith (and slice them as thin as you possibly can!). Meyer lemons would be great, but they’re hard to find.

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  5. What kind of cheese can you use if you can’t have dairy? and you can’t have soy. Any goat cheeses that actually melt? How does feta fare with pizza making?

    This looks like a delish recipe!

    • Well that’s a tough one! I think feta would be nice in terms of flavor, but the amount you would need for this recipe Might be overpowering. Soft goat cheese might work well, but since it’s not as moist as ricotta you might want to spread the dough with a little olive oil first, before you add the cheese. Skipping the cheese entirely and using a white bean puree might also be nice on this. That’s probably the route that I would go myself.

      I also did a quick google search and found a few recipes for homemade ricotta using goat milk, so that might be an option for you as well. Making cheese might sound intimidating, but I’ve done homemade ricotta before and it’s actually really simply and pretty fool-proof.

      I hope that helps!

  6. Thanks so much!!! Wonderful ideas.

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