Pizza

Mediterranean Pesto Pizza

DSC_3572_2I have tried making pizza a few times now, and I think that this is definitely the closest I have gotten so far to the perfect crust. This crust is crispy on the outside and chewy on the inside. The only downside was that it was not particularly good cold the next day, and I love cold pizza so that was a bit of a bummer. Next time I will think of some way to tweak it so that it really is THE perfect crust. I think I nailed it as far as hot pizza goes though.

I am usually a pretty straight forward pepperoni pizza kind of girl, but I like to change it up a little bit when I am making my own just to keep things interesting. My husband suggested a Mediterranean pizza with pesto, and I was a little bit skeptical at first. This turned out to be the most incredible flavour combination ever for a pizza though. I would not change a single thing about the toppings that we used. It was pretty easy to make, and you could definitely just use a store bought crust or even just a loaf of ciabatta bread cut in half to make this.
DSC_3575_2Pizza Dough
1 cup warm water (105 degrees F)
1 (1/4 oz) packet rapid rise (instant) yeast
1 Tablespoon olive oil
2-3 cups unbleached bread flour
1 ½ teaspoons salt
Yellow cornmeal and cracked black pepper, for sprinkling the pizza stone or baking sheet

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook (you can also do this using your hands and lots of kneading) combine the warm water, yeast, and olive oil by stirring. Let the mixture sit for about 5 minutes until it is foamy.

Add 1 ½ cups of flour and the salt. Turn the mixer on medium speed until all of the flour is incorporated. Continue to add flour until the dough is smooth but still a little bit sticky. It should come away from the sides of the bowl and form a ball (it took about 3 minutes). I ended up using just a teeny bit more than 2 cups of flour to get it right. If it gets too dry, just add some more water.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and form it into a ball with your hands. Place it into a bowl that has been coated/brushed with olive oil. Cover with plastic wrap or a hand towel and place in a warm place for about 2 hours until it is doubled in size. The dough will look sort of bubbly on top.
DSC_3558_2Punch the dough down a couple of times and then turn it out onto a lightly floured surface. Shape into a rectangle or circle or however you want your pizza. I tried to make it fairly thin, but it is up to you! If you have a pizza stone, heat it up in the oven at 400 degrees F for about 30 minutes before you bake the pizza.
DSC_3567_2Mediterranean Pesto Pizza
½ cup Basil Pesto (Recipe here)
2 large boneless skinless chicken breasts
2 teaspoons oregano
½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon parsley
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
½ teaspoon salt
¼ cup sundried tomatoes, cut into strips
¼ cup kalamata olives, sliced
½ cup feta cheese
2 cups Monterey Jack cheese

Combine the oregano through the salt in a small bowl to make a rub and coat the chicken with it. Grill the chicken over medium-high heat until cooked through. Let sit for 5 minutes before cutting into strips.

Take a preheated pizza stone out of the oven (per instructions above) and sprinkle some cornmeal and cracked black pepper over it. Place your already shaped pizza dough on top. You can also just put the pizza on a baking sheet and put it in the oven if you don’t have a pizza stone. It is not entirely necessary to heat it up ahead of time, but it will make your crust crispier. I also would not recommend putting the toppings on the pizza and then trying to slide it onto the pizza stone because I have had zero success with that.

As quickly as you can, spread some pesto over the top of the dough and top it with the cheese and remaining toppings. You don’t really have to pay attention to the amounts above either. Just add however much you like!

Bake at 400 for 15 to 20 minutes or until the cheese is all melted and bubbly, and the crust is starting to brown.
DSC_3565_2

Mediterranean Pesto Pizza
Total time: 
Serves: 4
 
Ingredients
  • Pizza Dough
  • 1 cup warm water (105 degrees F)
  • 1 (1/4 oz) packet rapid rise (instant) yeast
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 2-3 cups unbleached bread flour
  • 1 ½ teaspoons salt
  • Yellow cornmeal and cracked black pepper, for sprinkling the pizza stone or baking sheet
  • Mediterranean Pesto Pizza
  • ½ cup Basil Pesto (Recipe here)
  • 2 large boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 2 teaspoons oregano
  • ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon parsley
  • ½ teaspoon garlic salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ cup sundried tomatoes, cut into strips
  • ¼ cup kalamata olives, sliced
  • ½ cup feta cheese
  • 2 cups Monterey Jack cheese
Instructions
  1. Pizza Dough:
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook (you can also do this using your hands and lots of kneading) combine the warm water, yeast, and olive oil by stirring. Let the mixture sit for about 5 minutes until it is foamy.
  3. Add 1 ½ cups of flour and the salt. Turn the mixer on medium speed until all of the flour is incorporated. Continue to add flour until the dough is smooth but still a little bit sticky. It should come away from the sides of the bowl and form a ball (it took about 3 minutes). I ended up using just a teeny bit more than 2 cups of flour to get it right. If it gets too dry, just add some more water.
  4. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and form it into a ball with your hands. Place it into a bowl that has been coated/brushed with olive oil. Cover with plastic wrap or a hand towel and place in a warm place for about 2 hours until it is doubled in size. The dough will look sort of bubbly on top.
  5. Punch the dough down a couple of times and then turn it out onto a lightly floured surface. Shape into a rectangle or circle or however you want your pizza. I tried to make it fairly thin, but it is up to you! If you have a pizza stone, heat it up in the oven at 400 degrees F for about 30 minutes before you bake the pizza.
  6. Mediterranean Pesto Pizza:
  7. Combine the oregano through the salt in a small bowl to make a rub and coat the chicken with it. Grill the chicken over medium-high heat until cooked through. Let sit for 5 minutes before cutting into strips.
  8. Take a preheated pizza stone out of the oven (per instructions above) and sprinkle some cornmeal and cracked black pepper over it. Place your already shaped pizza dough on top. You can also just put the pizza on a baking sheet and put it in the oven if you don’t have a pizza stone. It is not entirely necessary to heat it up ahead of time, but it will make your crust crispier. I also would not recommend putting the toppings on the pizza and then trying to slide it onto the pizza stone because I have had zero success with that.
  9. As quickly as you can, spread some pesto over the top of the dough and top it with the cheese and remaining toppings. You don’t really have to pay attention to the amounts above either. Just add however much you like!
  10. Bake at 400 for 15 to 20 minutes or until the cheese is all melted and bubbly, and the crust is starting to brown.

 

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