While you stem the basil, bring a medium saucepan of water to a rolling boil. Fill a medium bowl with ice and cool water. Plunge the basil into the boiling water for 10 seconds, until wilted and bright green, then plunge into the ice bath. When cool, squeeze the dickens out of the basil to remove the water. (Alternatively, leave the basil fresh if you plan to use up all the pesto within a day or two.)
Place the basil (blanched or noin a food processor with the pine nuts, garlic and cheese. Puree until fairly smooth, adding some of the olive oil if you need to help the mixture blend. With the motor running, drizzle in the olive oil until the mixture reaches the consistency of a thick paste, then season to taste with the salt.
If storing the pesto, place it in a jar and cover with a thin layer of olive oil (this will help prevent it from oxidizinand place in the fridge for up to a week or two, or in the freezer for up to several months.
Make the socca batter:
Place the chickpea flour in a medium bowl and gradually stir and whisk in the water little by little until smooth. Stir in 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, the garlic, and the salt, and let sit for 1 hour.
Meanwhile, position a rack 8 inches from the broiler and preheat. (My broiler is mere inches from its fixed rack, so I baked the socca in a 500ºF oven until firm, then crisped it up under the broiler.) Place a 10" oven-proof skillet under the broiler/in the oven to preheat for a few minutes.
When the batter is ready, remove the pan from the oven, swirl in 1 tablespoon of olive oil in the bottom and up the sides of the pan, then pour in the batter. Cook the socca under the broiler or in the oven until firm, golden, and cracked on top, 5-8 minutes in the broiler, or longer in the oven. (If baking it in the oven, stick the socca under the broiler for a few minutes to brown the top.)
Finish the pizza:
Reduce the oven temperature to 425ºF.
Top the socca with the cheese slices, then the tomatoes, and sprinkle with a bit of salt and olive oil. Bake the pizza until the cheese is bubbly and melted, 8-10 minutes. Remove the pizza and spread with a few tablespoons of the pesto, a drizzle of olive oil, and some fresh basil leaves. Let cool for a few minutes, then cut into wedges and serve warm.
Minimally adapted from The Homemade Flour Cookbook by Erin Alderson.The socca batter will be very liquid, but will firm up into a soft bread in the heat of the oven. It's firm enough to pick up and eat with your hands, but feel free to use a plate, knife, and fork instead.Below is our go-to pesto recipe, which we snagged from the late mother of our good friend Katherine, Covie. We take the extra step of plunging the basil into boiling water then shocking it in an ice bath which helps it retain its bright hue in the finished sauce. We usually make a double or triple batch at the start of summer and use it daily on eggs, sandwiches, and pasta, or this delicious pizza.Nutritional values are based on one of two servings.