Pesto Pizza 


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August 8  

This time of year, my basil plants always reward me with an abundance of leaves. Homemade pesto uses up a lot of those leaves, and it’s delicious on a pizza. You can certainly use pesto from the store on this pizza, too, or really any toppings you desire. The semolina flour gives this dough a great chewy bite. This recipe is enough to feed my family when five of our children are around the table; when our older three are home, I make a little more. Everyone delights in making their own little creations. Unbaked dough can be kept tightly wrapped in plastic in the refrigerator for up to two days. Bring to room temperature before rolling out.

Pizza dough:

  • 1 1/2 cups very warm water
  • 4 1/5 teaspoons (or 2 envelopes) active dry yeast
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 1/5 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 6 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 cups (plus more for dusting) all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup (plus more for pans) semolina flour

In the bowl of mixer fitted with the dough hook, combine water and yeast. Let sit for ten minutes. Add in sugar, salt, and olive oil. Gently mix. Add in both flours, and mix until smooth and springy. Sprinkle some reserved all-purpose flour on work surface, and knead into a ball. Place into a large bowl, drizzle dough with olive oil, cover with clean tea towel, and let rise for 45-60 minutes.

Pesto sauce:

  • 2 cups fresh basil
  • 1/3 cup pine nuts (you can also use chopped walnuts or pistachios)
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/3 cup freshly grated parmesan or pecorino cheese
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • kosher salt
  • freshly ground black pepper

In bowl of food processor, pulse basil and nuts 4-5 times. Add garlic and cheese; pulse again. Turn on processor and stream in olive oil until blended. Transfer pesto to a bowl, and season with salt and pepper.

 Preheat oven to 500˚

Assemble pizzas:

(Additional ingredients)

  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1-2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed garlic
  • 4-6 cups shredded mozzarella

In a small bowl, combine olive oil, garlic, and crushed red pepper. Set aside. Prepare pans by lightly sprinkling a little semolina flour over surface.

Take desired amount of dough, place onto floured work surface, and roll out to desired thickness. (We like ours pretty thin). Carefully place dough on prepared pan. Take some olive oil mixture, and (with your hands or a pastry brush) spread over dough, paying special attention to the outer crust.

Take pesto sauce and drop it by small spoonfuls randomly over the dough. (Make sure to leave a half inch or so for the crust). Cover pizza with mozzarella and place in the oven. Watch carefully for cheese to melt and become slightly golden; crust should feel crisp but not brown. This takes about 10 minutes, depending on your oven and the thickness of the crust.

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