Loaded with vibrant pesto, fresh tomatoes and mozzarella, these pesto pizzas scream summer.
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To me, a good pesto pizza should have bold pesto flavor. I don’t want it to taste faintly of basil, garlic, Parmesan and olive oil—I want those flavors to bowl me over. The key is to spread a generous layer of pesto over the pizzas before baking, and then top them with more pesto when they come out of the oven. Not only do these pizzas taste very “pesto-y,” they also look gorgeous and feel a little more special than your typical pizza pie.
I’ve given instructions for homemade pizza dough below but don’t feel obligated to make it; store-bought pizza dough works beautifully and makes this recipe totally doable on a weeknight. Same goes for the pesto — if you want to make it from scratch, use this recipe, but store-bought works well, too (I like Mama’s pesto from Whole Foods).
What you’ll need To Make Pesto Pizza With Fresh Tomatoes & Mozzarella
For The Pizza Dough
For the Toppings
How to make Pesto Pizza with Fresh Tomatoes & Mozzarella
Step 1: Make the Dough
In a mixer fitted with the dough hook (or a large bowl if you’d like to make it by hand), combine the flour, yeast, salt, olive oil, and water.
Mix until the dough comes together.
Increase the speed and knead for about 5 minutes, until the dough is smooth and elastic.
Flour your hands if necessary, and transfer the dough to a lightly oiled large bowl.
Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, 1 to 1-1/2 hours.
When the dough has risen, punch it down.
Place the dough on a lightly floured surface.
Cut it in half and roll each part into a ball.
Cover the dough balls with a damp kitchen towel and let rest for 15 to 20 minutes — the dough will rise a bit.
Lightly dust a work surface with flour, and then pat and stretch the rested dough into two 12×8-inch rectangles. If the dough is sticky, dust it lightly with flour.
Place the two pizza doughs side-by-side on the prepared baking sheet. Then press the dough out again so that it almost touches the edges of the pan.
Step 2: Assemble and Bake the Pizzas
Cut the tomatoes crosswise into 1/8-inch-thick slices and place on a paper towel-lined plate or cutting board to drain the juices.
Spread 1/3 cup of the pesto evenly over the pizzas, leaving a 1-inch border.
Bake the pizzas on the bottom rack for 4 minutes. (I do this so the crust has time to crisp up; if you add the cheese from the get-go, it gets too brown before the crust is fully cooked.)
Remove the pan from the oven; and then top the pizzas with the mozzarella cheese, followed by the tomato slices, Parmigiano-Reggiano, salt and pepper.
Place the pizzas back in the oven and bake until the crust is crisp and golden, 6 to 8 minutes more.
Transfer the pizzas to a cutting board and drizzle with the with remaining pesto.
Sprinkle with fresh basil, then cut into slices and serve. Enjoy!
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