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PESTO AND GARDEN TOMATO CAPRESE PIZZA

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Ingredients

Pizza Dough:

2 tablespoons olive oil (plus 2 teaspoons to oil the bowl)

1 tablespoon honey

1 ½ cups warm water (115 degrees)

1 packet yeast

2 teaspoons salt

3 ½ – 4 cups flour

 

Pesto:

3 cups basil leaves, packed

3 cloves garlic, rough chopped

¾ cup good parmesan cheese, grated

½ cup pine nuts or walnuts

¼ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon black pepper

½ – ¾ cup olive oil

 

Toppings:

3 large ripe garden tomatoes

1 ½ cups shredded mozzarella cheese

2 tablespoon olive oil

Instructions

To make the pizza dough, place olive oil, honey, and water into the bowl of a stand mixer.  Stir to dissolve honey into the water (so it doesn’t stick to the bottom of the bowl). Sprinkle the yeast on top of the liquid mixture, stir, and let sit for 5-10 minutes until yeast becomes foamy. Add salt and 2 ½ cups of the flour. Mix using the dough hook attachment. Gradually add as much of the remaining flour as needed until a ball forms.  Empty dough onto a floured countertop and knead for 10-15 minutes until dough is smooth and elastic adding flour as needed if sticky.

Place dough in a greased bowl and cover with a clean kitchen towel.  Let rise in a warm spot for 1 hour until doubled in bulk.  Knead dough briefly and divide into 2 equal parts and form balls. Let rest for 30 minutes under a clean kitchen towel.  If you are not using both balls, refrigerate each ball in a plastic bag sprayed with cooking spray for up to 5 days.

To make the pesto, combine the basil, garlic, parmesan, nuts, salt, and pepper in the bowl of a food processor.  Pulse multiple times until the basil is broken down and the ingredients are combined.  Put the food processor on low speed and drizzle the olive in through the tube until a loose paste forms.

Place pizza stone in the oven and preheat oven to 425 degrees for 20 minutes (you can also make pizza on a sheet pan, but a stone makes the crispiest crust).

Shape the pizza dough into a 12-14” round.  Spread cornmeal on a pizza peel and arrange the dough on top (or on a baking sheet if you do not have a pizza stone).

Top the dough with ½ cup of the pesto leaving about 1” of crust exposed around the edge.  Cut the tomatoes into ½” thick slices and arrange on top of the pesto in a single layer.  Top evenly with the mozzarella cheese.  Brush the exposed edges with the olive oil and drizzle any remaining oil over the top of the pizza.

Bake for 12-15 minutes until browned and bubbly.  If you can stand it…. Let the pizza rest for 15 minutes before cutting.  DEVOUR!!

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