Pesto Pizza Party Palooza!

28 May

Pizza with Pesto & Fresh Mozzarella
Recipe by

Friday nights are usually pizza night and while I prefer to make classic Roman and Napolitana recipes, my daughter and wife have a special taste for pesto. My wife and I spent time in Liguria on our honeymoon and had a chance to enjoy pesto from where it was originated and while I’m not a big fan, I have to say it was really good. Since then I make pesto fairly often (as my Pesto Genovese recipe attests) but my daughter really loves pesto pizza and I love putting a smile on her face so today I’m sharing my Pesto Pizza recipe to get your pesto-on!

Pesto Pizza recipe from Paggi Pazzo

I prefer the indoor oven for making pesto pizza as the pesto bakes nicely on top of the dough. Now if you don’t want to make your own dough feel free to buy one at the store but look for dough’s that are not prepared with unnatural oils or unhealthy ingredients. If you plan on making your own here’s a homemade dough recipe I use often and feel free to make it the night before and keep in your fridge – or days before and freeze – or even that day but let it rest for a minimum of 4 hours before using. For the pesto I prefer authentic ingredients like Pecorino Sardo and Grana Padano with garlic, fresh basil, and pine nuts (Italian or European). If Pecorino Sardo and Grana Padano are not available substitute with Reggiano Parmigiano and Pecorino Romano. I use a food-processor to mix all of the ingredients as it’s much faster and easier but the traditional Ligurian way is to muddle them together. Now that can take a while and I have children, so waiting is not really an option.

Spread your dough and generously apply the pesto across then add chunks of fresh mozzarella on top with an extra sprinkle of grated Pecorino Sardo (or Romano). Now I cook the the pizza in a Roman style 495 degrees to give the bottom a nice crunch but you have to keep an eye on it as it will cook fast! After about 8-12 minutes the cheese and bottom will begin to brown so be ready to remove from the oven and then let it rest for 5 minutes before cutting. I prefer red wine with this pizza so if you want to stay Ligurian try Colli di Luni which comes from Sangiovese grapes or go with a nice table wine like a Chianti or a Montepulciano d’Abruzzo. There you have it, Paggi Pazzo’s Pesto Pizza recipe– it’s Pesto Palooza time and now You know what to do!

Preparing Pesto Pizza from Paggi Pazzo

Pizza with Pesto and Fresh Mozzarella Recipe

Prep time: 3 hours
Cook time: 5 min
Total time: 3 hours 5 min
Yield: 8 slices


  • 3/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup grated Pecorino Sardo
  • 3/4 cup grated Grana Padono
  • 3-4 full cups fresh basil
  • 5 garlic cloves
  • 1/2 cup Italian or European pinenuts
  • 1 Pizza dough
  • 4 ounces fresh mozzarella

Cooking Directions

  1. To make dough, click here
  2. Grate Pecorino Sardo and Grana Padano into a bowl. If cheeses are not available, substitute with Pecorino Romano and Reggiano Parmigiano
  3. Add tablespoon of olive oil to pan and add pine nuts, cooking for 5 minutes then let sit for another 5 minutes
  4. Add fresh basil into food processor (but make sure basil is not wet after cleaning as the dryer the better for the pesto sauce), pine nuts, garlic, black pepper, salt, and 3/4 cup of olive oil
  5. Use pulse option in Food processor for 10-20 seconds until pesto starts to cream then add grated cheese and remaining olive oil and then purée for 10-20 seconds
  6. If pesto begins to take on a creamy consistency, then pesto sauce is ready. If still thick, add a little more olive oil and stir
  7. Roll out dough and generously lay pesto across
  8. Cut fresh mozzarella into small chunks and spread across pizza and then sprinkle with a handful of Pecorino Sardo (or Romano)
  9. Set oven to 495 degrees and add pizza. After 8-12 minutes when cheese and bottom of pizza begin to brown remove from oven
  10. Let rest for 5 minutes then slice and serve

Pizza with Pesto and Fresh Mozzarella recipe

5 out of 5
stars based on 2 ratings

Click here for Pesto Pizza Recipe and all other Paggi Pazzo recipes.

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