Food, Recipes from the Heart

Pesto Pizza with Arugula

PESTOPIZZA-1

If you have a sweet basil plant growing ridiculously out of control somewhere on your corridor, the easiest way to preserve all that precious delicate basil leaves is to make a pesto sauce out of it. And no, pasta isn’t the only thing you can make with that pesto sauce. One of my favourite dishes to make with the pesto sauce is actually pizza. It’s unconventional, but trust me, it’ll make your home made pizza experience a mind blowing one.

You could use store bought pizza crust, or simply a loaf of bread lying around somewhere in your pantry waiting to be used. No one is judging you for using store bought stuff! We’re not The Pioneer Woman raising cattle on a farm with no convenience store within 2km. But if you do decide to spend some time making handmade pizza dough, this recipe adapted from Laura Vitale is my go-to recipe. Again, don’t feel pressured to make your pesto from scratch. Jamie Oliver’s pesto sauce is the best alternative to a freshly made pesto.

Pizza Dough (Adapted from Laura Vitale)

3 ½ cups of All Purpose Flour
2 tsp Salt
1 tsp Sugar
2 Tbsp of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 1/3 cups of Warm Water, 30deg
1 Envelope of Yeast

  1. In a mixing bowl, add yeast, sugar and water. Mix lightly with a fork and set aside for 10 to 15 mins to allow the yeast to activate.
  2. Add flour and knead until it comes together slightly.
  3. Add in olive oil and salt, and continue kneading until everything comes together.
  4. Using a dough attachment, knead using a standing food mixer for about 15 minutes on medium. Alternatively, you can hand knead for about 20 to 30 minutes.
  5. Form dough into a ball, then place it in an oiled mixing bowl before covering using a plastic wrap or cloth. Let the dough rest for 1 hour.
  6. In the mean time, you can prepare your pesto sauce.
  7. Preheat oven to 200deg.
  8. After an hour, divide the dough into 2, and shape into a ball before rolling the dough out into 8 inch rounds.
  9. Cover with the used plastic wrap or cloth, and let rest for 15 minutes.
  10. Assemble the pizza by slathering the pesto sauce onto the pizza base and adding cheese of your choice. You could use vegan cheese to make this pizza entirely vegan.
  11. Bake in oven for 10 to 15 minutes, until the crust is browned and cooked.
  12. Serve with fresh arugula which has been rinsed and dried with a kitchen towel to remove excess water.

Pesto Sauce

2 cups fresh basil
4 cloves garlic
1/4 cup toasted pine nuts (or any nuts of your choice – almonds and walnuts are nice too)
1 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
1 cup extra virgin olive oil

  1. In a food processor, add all ingredients and pulse.
  2. Blend until all the ingredients are fine and well combined.
  3. Keep in a jar and seal the pesto with a layer of extra virgin olive oil, or freeze into cubes for easy access to cooking.
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