Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Pesto Pizza

As I mentioned the other night when I made pesto from my overgrown basil plants, I had leftover pesto at the end of our pasta dish. Here’s a simple pizza dough recipe that goes great with leftover pesto and mozzarella to make delicious homemade pizza in just about the time it takes Domino’s to deliver.

Ingredients for two regular crust or three thin crust pizzas
1 package (¼ oz.) active dry yeast (I use Fleishmann’s Rapid Rise.)
About 4½ cups or 560g all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups or 355ml warm water
Olive oil
Leftover pesto - homemade or otherwise
Mozzarella cheese - amount will vary with taste and number of pizzas you make

In a large bowl, combine yeast, 2 cups of flour and 1 teaspoon salt. In a microwaveable measuring pitcher or a saucepan, heat water until very warm (120 ºF - 130 ºF – it should be pretty hot but you should be able to hold your finger in it for a count of 10 without pain.) With mixer at low speed, just blend water into dry ingredients. At medium speed, beat two minutes, occasionally scraping bowl with rubber spatula. Beat in ½ cup of flour to make a thick batter.  Beat two minutes more. Stir in about 1½ cups of flour to make a soft dough.  Knead dough by hand or with a bread hook for a few minutes.  Pour a little olive oil in the bowl and put the dough in to rest for 15 minutes (if using Rapid Rise yeast) or to rise for 30-45 minutes (if using regular yeast – but then all promises of a 30-minute delivery are off.)  If using Rapid Rise, at this point preheat your oven to 450ºF or 230ºC.  (If you have one, put your pizza stone in while the oven is still cold.)

Ready to rest for 15 minutes
Risen and ready to punch down and roll out
Your dough is now ready to punch down and roll out to top and make two 12-inch pizzas! (Or three, if you like the crust thin.)  My usual instructions say to make sure to oil your pans first, to make the bottom bake up crunchy but I tried something new this time.  Finally, I have a kitchen item that I have been wanting: a baker's peel.  I bought it online at the Bakers’ Catalogue, which is connected to King Arthur flour and this was the first time I would attempt to use it.

I added flour to the counter top and rolled the pizza dough out, 

then I transferred it by the rolling pin to the peel, which I had sprinkled with cornmeal. 

At this point my able assistant added the pesto and spread it around. 

Then she added the mozzarella liberally to the top.  

Very liberally
With a quick flick of my arm, I quickly transferred the pizza to the baking stone that was in the preheated oven and baked for 10-15 minutes.

If you don’t have a peel but would still like to use a baking stone, put your rolled dough on the greased underside of your baking tray so it is on a completely flat surface. Add your toppings and pop the whole thing in the oven on top of the stone.  After just a few minutes, perhaps as many as five, you can remove the tray from the oven and run a long knife around under the pizza to make sure it is loose, then slide the pizza off the tray straight onto the baking stone.

Cecilie's pizza
My pizza - we actually made three - one for my mother as well.

The pesto pizza was delicious and I will certainly make this again. 


  1. What a wonderful pizza! I'd love to try some

  2. Always a winner, this is my kids' favourite pizza, they make it every other week! Love your pics!

  3. It was a great change from tomato sauce, Paola! Do try it!

  4. We have made it several times since then, Lin, and you are right! Always a winner!

  5. Soni/Soni's Food for ThoughtSeptember 21, 2012 at 6:00 PM

    Love pesto and this looks super delish!! Need a bite right now :)

  6. It was delish, Soni! Thank you!


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