Pesto Pie ft. the St. Lunatics

pestoWhen I was in college, I was superrrr jealous of my friends that didn’t have to work because they were focusing on their studies. I hope you read that out loud in a whiny, judgy voice with your eyes rolling. Because I sure did.

But to be honest, I absolutely loved my college gig. And I don’t mean the internships that gave me “real life” experience in the field that I would eventually start my career in – and eventually end up hating. I’m talking about spending my days and nights serving tables at Vincenzo’s Ristorante in Lincoln, Nebraska. #GBR

That was maybe the most invaluable experience I’ve ever had. For many, many reasons.

Yes, it taught me how to handle pressure, how to multitask and how to continue to be nice to others when they clearly think you’re beneath them. It showed me the true value of hard work and that only I controlled my success during each shift. Vincenzo’s also brought some of the very best people into my life – a roommate, a bridesmaid, and many, many true friends.

Vincenzo’s also had the best Italian food I’ve ever had in my life. They’re all about St. Louis style Italian. Whatever that means.

After moving to the Lou (I’m not even going to pretend that made me sound cool), I soon realized that they have an entire Italian neighborhood called The Hill. It’s adorable. All of the houses look like they belong to your grandparents. As long as your grandparents proudly displayed massive statues of Catholic saints and Italian flags in their front yard.

So, St. Louis has more than Nelly. Who knew?

Anyway, this is one of my go-to dinners that I would snack on in between waiting on tables. It’ll never taste as good as the kitchen guys made it, but it’s darn well worth the try.

Chicken Pesto Pie

You’ll Need:

  • ½ lb chicken breast, chopped
  • Italian seasoning
  • ½ TBSP coconut oil
  • 1 ultra thin pizza crust – apparently that’s a staple for STL-style pizza.
  • About ¼ cup pesto
  • About ¼ cup Alfredo
  • 1-2 TBSP pine nuts
  • ½ can artichoke hearts, chopped
  • Red pepper flakes to taste
  • Provel – again, this is a STL pizza staple but mozzarella will work fine.

Here’s what you do:

  1. Heat the coconut oil over medium high heat until melted.
  2. Add the chopped chicken and season generously. Cook until no longer pink and remove from heat.
  3. Add the pesto and Alfredo sauce to the pizza crust. Note: You won’t necessarily need all ¼ cup of each. It really depends on how “saucy” you  like your pizza. Just add in a 1:1 ratio.
  4. Top with pine nuts, artichoke hearts, chicken and red pepper flakes. Sprinkle with cheese.
  5. Cook using the instructions on the back of the crust package. Note: My crust always cooks faster than expected, but I like crispier crust. If you don’t, put it in for about 5 minutes (thin crust cooks fast!) and then continue broiling. That should help the cheese brown a little faster as well.
  6. Throw on some Nelly (I prefer Ride Wit Me) and enjoy. Just don’t rap with your mouth full. That’s gross.

Pesto3.jpgYou’ve probably already noticed by now, but this isn’t necessarily a “healthy” dish. But it is pretty stinkin’ fantastic and well worth it on days when you just need some ‘fredo and a mound of cheese.

If you’re still feeling guilty, Jillian can always yell at you until your remorse is gone. I cried through her Killer Buns and Thighs prior to shoving half of this pizza into my mouth – trust me, it was well deserved.


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