When we dine together, we don’t order our own entrée, instead we order an array of appetizers, salads, and entrees, which we share. Oh yeah, sometimes dessert too. These are the best girlfriends to go out and eat with. It’s more fun to taste a little of everything, rather than eat a lot of one dish.
Today, my best friend Gina and I met for lunch at The Sunset Restaurant in Malibu. We absolutely love The Sunset Restaurants’ beachfront location, panoramic ocean view, and trendy beach decor. Sitting upstairs and enjoying the ocean breeze, along with our incredible view, we started lunch off with a refreshing ahi tuna tartar that sat on top of fresh avocado with a hint of lime, and topped with a wasabi crème fraiche. Then we shared The Sunset Restaurant’s house specialty homemade lobster ravioli with a saffron-cream reduction sauce and the fish tacos with fresh guacamole, tomato salsa, julienned cabbage topped with smoked chipotle aioli and lime-cumin crème.
Wow! Our taste buds were beyond thrilled with this amazingly delicious lunch. But we both agreed that our favorite part of lunch, besides the gorgeous view and most excellent service, was the arugula and pesto flatbread. On a grilled flatbread with a layer of vibrant pesto sauce, sits thinly sliced roma tomatoes, melted mozzarella, fresh arugula tossed in lemon-olive oil dressing, and shaved Parmesan. Part pizza, part salad – simple, yet so scrumptious and full of flavor. Unfortunately, we were so full that we didn’t save room for dessert. Next time I go back to The Sunset Restaurant, I’ll be sure to save room for dessert.
If you live in Los Angeles and haven’t been to The Sunset Restaurant yet, then I strongly suggest that you take that scenic coastline drive along PCH, stop and have an upscale meal of pasta, seafood, steak, or tacos there. However, if you are unable to get to Malibu soon and are dying to try the arugula and pesto flatbread, thanks to the restaurant’s Owner Franco Simplicio, and Chef, Massimo Gasparini, you can now make Sunset Restaurant’s arugula and pesto flatbread pizza at home.
Making this flatbread was a lot of fun. The dough, actually pizza dough, was quick and easy to make. When Massimo provided me with the recipe, the ingredients for the dough were in grams, so I went out and purchased a food scale. I’ve wanted to buy one for so long, but this recipe really gave me the incentive to go out and get it. I’m so glad I did! Luckily, I provided the converted measurements for you.
I used my cusinart mixer, fitted with the hook attachment, to mix the dough into a ball. Then allowed the dough to sit for 10 minutes before rolling it out into an oblong shape. I had never grilled pizza dough before and honestly was a bit scared in thinking it was going to stick all over my stove top grill. To my amazement, the dough did not stick at all, and it cooked so quickly. From now on, I’m going to start grilling all of my pizza dough before adding the toppings.
Prior to making the dough, I prepared a quick pesto sauce of fresh basil, toasted pine nuts, garlic, Parmesan cheese, and extra-virgin olive oil. The pesto sauce is lightly spread onto the grilled flatbread, so you will have lots of pesto left over. Perfect for making a quick caprese later in the week too!
I can’t wait to have Gina over to enjoy more of this yummy arugula and pesto flatbread with me (pictured above in the white pants). Gina is my one girlfriend who I feel that I can be my total self with. She’s so fun and easy to be with. No need to feel that I need to impress her or live up to her expectations, or go out of my way to please her. And I so love her for that!
- 3 tablespoons pine nuts
- 3 to 4 garlic cloves, peeled
- ½ cup packed fresh basil leaves
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ cup extra-virgin cold pressed olive oil
- ¼ cup finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
- Heat the oven to 325 degrees. Spread pine nuts on a baking sheet and toast in the oven for 8 to 10 minutes, until lightly browned. Let cool.
- In a food processor, add toasted pine nuts, garlic cloves, basil, and salt. Pulse a few times. With the food processor running, slowly drizzle in the olive oil and add the Parmigiano-Reggiano, mixing well to incorporate.
- You can store pesto in a jar topped with a little olive oil, in the refrigerator for up to 5 days, or freeze for 3 months.
- 3½ cups (loose) all purpose flour
- ⅓ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 cup warm water
- 4½ teaspoons ( 2 packets) rapid rise yeast
- 500 gr all purpose flour
- 75 gr olive oil
- 1 tbs salt
- 250 ml warm water
- 10 gr fresh yeast or 15 gr granulated yeast
- Melt the yeast in warm water and mix everything. Let it rest for 10 min, after with a rolling pin make a thin dough, you decide how thick you want it. We usually cut it 16" by 5".
- Note: I split dough in half and made 2 flatbreads.
- Once you have it cutted mark it both sides on a flat top or grill, basically you par cook it so it won't need to stay on the oven too long.
- Flatbread dough - prepared above
- 2 roma tomatoes, thinly sliced
- 2 fresh mozzarella balls, shredded or thinly sliced
- ½ lemon
- extra virgin olive oil
- salt to taste
- Once you have grilled the flatbread, spread some basil pesto to cover it (not too much, pesto is strong) some sliced tomatoes, shredded mozzarella and then go on the oven 5 min at 400 degrees F.
- On the side dress some wild arugula with oil and lemon juice and once the bread is ready you will spread it over the flatbread. Some shaved parmesan and you are done!