Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Pesto Pizza

I'm a marinara lover all the way.  Even up to a year or two ago, I wouldn't have even considered having a pizza without marinara sauce.  This butternut squash pizza changed my tune slightly but then I pretty much went back to making regular red sauce pizza.

Maybe this pesto pizza is a testament to how our food tastes have changed and broadened for the last two years but more likely, I was just looking for an easy and tasty midweek meal.  I already had our favorite pizza dough in the freezer -- I simply put it in the fridge the night before and then the next afternoon let it sit on the counter for a hour or two to come to room temperature.  I also had the pesto made and frozen (I freeze it in ice cube trays which my husband laughs at but I think is pretty smart!) so that was just a quick thaw, too. 

We really liked this! I thought the pesto gave a wonderful flavor but wasn't overwhelming.  We also heaped the pizza high with plenty of cherry tomatoes, olives, crisp prosciutto and bell pepper.  It made a fabulous Tuesday night meal along side a simple salad.
Pesto Pizza with Prosciutto (say that three times fast)
Serves 3-4
  • pizza dough for 1 pizza (here's the recipe I used)
  • 1/2 cup + of homemade or store-bought basil pesto (here's the recipe I used)
  • 1 cup+ mozzarella, shredded (I used part-skim but I bet fresh mozzarella would have been wonderful!)
  • 1/4 cup parmesan, shredded
  • 1/2 cup grape or cherry tomatoes, cut in thirds
  • 2-4 tablespoons kalamata olives, sliced
  • 3 slices prosciutto, cut into small squares
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, chopped
  1. Move one oven rack to directly under the broiler and move the second oven rack to the second from the bottom. If using, place pizza stone on rack second from the bottom. Preheat broiler.
  2. Arrange squares of prosciutto on a baking sheet and place on the top oven rack.  Broil for about 1-3 minutes, until prosciutto is crisp (I check every 30 seconds).  Remove from oven .
  3. Preheat oven to 450 (for best results with the pizza stone, preheat it for 30 minutes).  
  4. While oven is preheating, roll out the pizza dough. Once preheated, transfer pizza dough to pizza stone or a baking sheet.  Cook the dough alone for about 7 minutes (for me, this helps to prevent soggy pizza).  
  5. Then, while the pizza is still in the oven, spread the pizza dough evenly with pesto, then top with mozzarella and parmesan cheeses, tomatoes, sliced kalamata olives, prosciutto and chopped red bell pepper.  Cook for 7-10 more minutes until bottom is crisp and cheese is fully melted.
  6. Remove pizza from oven. (If using a pizza stone, be careful because it gets hot.  Make sure you have the proper oven mitts.)  Let cool for a few minutes before slicing and serving.


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