Basil Pesto Pizza with a Smile
We are lucky ladies and have a pizza oven at home, but these pizzas are easily made with a pizza stone right in your oven. Follow the directions for your pizza stone, and bake accordingly. A trick is using the corn meal underneath the dough as that helps to prevent sticking!
Basil Pesto Pizza
Serves: 4 pizzas
1 tablespoon sugar
1 cup water, warmed (110-115 F)
1 envelope (¼ ounce) active dry yeast
3 ¼ cups bread or unbleached all purpose flour or combo
1 teaspoon of salt
¼ cup of extra virgin olive oil
In small bowl dissolve sugar in warm tap water. Sprinkle yeast over water until dissolved (1 minute) should be smooth beige color mixture. Let stand about 5 minutes. In a heavy duty standing electric mixer with flat beater attached: combine 3 cups of the flour, salt, yeast mixture and oil. Mix at the medium speed for 1 minute.
Replace beater with dough hook and knead at medium speed until dough is smooth and elastic (about 5 minutes). If sticky, add some of reserved flour. If dough is dry and crumbly, add 1 tablespoon warm water at a time until it is smooth and elastic. Shape dough into a ball and place in well-oiled bowl, turn to coat on all side. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and set to rise in draft free warm space (75-85 F) until doubled in size, about 45 minutes.
With fist, punch down dough. Shape into ball, pressing out all bubbles cut into 4 smaller balls. If using right away place balls in nest of flour. Let sit for10 minutes. (You can punch this dough down up to 4 times before separating into the smaller balls and continue to place in oiled bowl then cover with plastic wrap if not using right away.)
Roll out with rolling pin. Pick up and turn over several times as you go. Lay dough on corn meal dusted pizza peel, top with the pesto and your preferred cheese and bake as soon as possible.
3 cloves garlic
1-cup pine nuts
4 ounces Parmesan reggiano cheese
4 ounces basil leaves removed from stems
½ cup olive oil
Salt to taste
Process all but olive in blender until a paste forms, stream in olive oil until blended. Pesto should be smooth and creamy. Add salt to taste
Variations- Basil can be replaced by any leafy green vegetable like kale, Swiss chard or spinach. If using kale or chard, blanch leaves in boiling water for a minute first, then plunge into cold water. Squeeze excess water from leaves before adding. Nuts can also be replaced. Kale works well with almonds. If you need to make a nut-free variation, pepitas (pumpkin seeds) a good replacement.
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