Pizza with Pesto Sauce (and Other Stuff)

Sunday afternoon I felt the irresistible urge to make pizza dough — just because — even though I was making gumbo for dinner that night, because I knew I would want some delicious homemade pizza real soon.  As it turns out, that was a good decision.

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I made a batch of dough using the formula and method in my earlier post, Pizza Party Recipes, which makes enough for three 12″ pizzas.  Two of the dough balls I froze for later, and one I kept in the fridge to let those flavors percolate for a couple extra days.  At least an hour before you’re ready to bake, pull the dough out of the fridge and let it come up to room temperature.  If you’re using frozen dough, obviously you’ll want to thaw it first — it’s a little hard to shape if it’s still hard enough to crack someone’s noggin.

Before you start assembling anything, remember to put your pizza stone in the oven and let it heat up to the 450-475 range for at least 30 minutes — you want that bad puppy to be rippin’ hot when that pizza crust hits it so you get a beautiful crisp bottom.

There’s actually not much complexity to this pizza recipe — more an example of how yummy things can be with just a little spontaneity and creativity.  For my sauce base, which was made up totally on the fly, I used the following ingredients:

  • 2 ounces prepared pesto
  • 2 ounces olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced

I normally use store-bought jarred pesto, not because it’s hard to make, but because it’s easy to buy and store until you need it, and there are plenty of good brands readily available.  I used Barilla tonight, for example, but Delallo also makes a nice jarred pesto.  Another consideration is the cost of homemade — pine nuts are not cheap, in case you were wondering.

In any event, mix these ingredients in a bowl and smear it over your stretched pizza dough, leaving about a half-inch margin around the edge.  For the rest of tonight’s toppings I used:

  • 2 oz. sliced red onion
  • 1 roma tomato, sliced
  • 4 oz. ricotta
  • 4 oz. whole mozzarella, sliced
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil, coarsely chopped
  • sliced pepperoni to taste

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I almost forgot to add the pepperoni, and had to throw it on after the pizza was already on the stone — obviously I hadn’t had enough to drink yet, so I immediately set about to remedy both of those little oversights.  Long day at the office, and all that.

Anyway, once it’s in the oven it should only take 12 to 15 minutes to bake that crust to a beautiful crunch and melt whatever needs melting.  When it looks yummy to you, pull it back out with your pizza peel, slice it up, and munch it down with a big happy grin on your face.  I mean, seriously folks, does it get much better?  Until next time:  Eat well, my friends!

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