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Walnut Pesto and Mozzarella Pizza

Walnut Pesto and Mozzarella Pizza

Crafting a pizza at home is an act of love for the pizza Gods.  The base of a good pizza is the dough-undulating hills of crispy,  pillowy pockets of air.  Once we've mastered the crust, the world opens to pizza nirvana, and soon you'll be crafting this delicious Vegetarian Walnut Pesto and Fresh Mozzarella Pizza. Today's Cooking Class-Pizza Dough, Cooking with Beer.

Course pizza
Cuisine American, Indian, Italian, Middle Eastern
Keyword pizza
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 17 minutes
Servings 8 Makes enough pizza dough for 2 medium-size or 1 large size pizza
Author David Ross

Ingredients

For the Pizza Dough-

  • 4 ½ tsp. dry yeast
  • ¼ cup warm water
  • ¼ tsp. sugar
  • 1 cup ale, warmed
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 3 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil for brushing on the dough before baking
  • 1 cup fresh baby mozzarella balls
  • cup grated parmesan cheese

For the Walnut Pesto-

  • 2 cups fresh basil
  • 2 tbsp. chopped walnuts
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil

Instructions

Make the Pizza Dough-

  1. Add the dry yeast, warm water and sugar in a small bowl and stir. Let the yeast bubble and "bloom," about 5 minutes.

  2. Pour the yeast mixture into the base of a mixer and add the warm ale.  With the mixture fit with the dough hook, add the salt and slowly add the flour, ½ cup at a time.  As the dough starts to come together during mixing, slowly pour in the olive oil. 

  3. Spray a large bowl with cooking spray and put the dough into the bowl.  Toss the dough to coat with the oil, then loosely cover the bowl with plastic wrap.  Let the dough rise in a warm place about 2 hours or until doubled in size.

    Pizza dough rising

Make the Walnut Pesto and Bake the Pizza-

  1. In a small food processor, add the basil, walnuts and garlic. Pulse a few times. Add the olive oil and parmesan and pulse again to combine the pesto.

  2. Pre-heat the oven to 550, which is the highest setting in most home ovens. If you have a pizza stone, place it on the middle rack of the oven before starting to pre-heat the oven.  The pizza stone should be hot in the oven when you put the pizza in.

  3. Take the dough out of the bowl and cut it into two large pieces to make two pizzas. Sprinkle some flour on the counter and dust your hands with flour.  We use two methods for our pizza dough.  First, with your hands stretch the pizza into a round shape about 10" wide.  Second, using a heavy rolling pin, roll the pizza dough to a thickness of about ¼".  The size and thickness of the pizza dough is up to you.

  4. Brush the pizza dough with olive oil. Spoon dollops of the walnut pesto on top of the pizza and scatter around the fresh baby mozzarella balls. Sprinkle the grated parmesan on top.

  5. Bake the pizza for about 6-7 minutes or until you see bubbly pockets of dough and the ingredients are cooked and bubbling.  We like to turn the broiler on for about 1 minute to get some crispy char on our pizza.

    Walnut Pesto and Mozzarella Pizza

Recipe Notes

Two kinds of flour work in our pizza dough recipe.  All-purpose flour is the standard and gives good results.  We prefer Italian "00" flour which is specially milled for making pasta.  "00" flour gives the dough more airy pockets and a softer, slightly more chewy texture after the dough is baked.  

For flatbread, just make the pizza dough and bake.  Now you have a clean flatbread to garnish and serve.