Pesto Pine Nut Pizza

Before I get into this Pesto Pine Nut Pizza (and how much I love alliteration), let’s just talk about pesto, shall we?

 

There is a lot of hub bub about grinding your homemade pesto in a mortar and pestle instead of using a food processor to sort the situation out quickly. I’m here to tell you it’s fine either way. This first method, I’m just going to be honest, takes some time and muscle. I first heard about the mortar and pestle method on Salt Fat Acid Heat (Netflix, watch it)…and the word pesto translates roughly ‘to pound, to crush’ or so the interwebs tell me. When you make pesto this way, you first grind the pine nuts and garlic into a paste. With a good mortar and pestle that has a rough textured mortar and a heavy pestle, this is easy business. But once you throw the basil into the mix the task becomes decidedly more arduous. I may have broken a sweat. A sprinkle of salt at this point helps to break up the leaves a bit but no mistaken, it’s work. 

 

Here are the advantages and differences between the two. The M&P method (that we’ll call it from this moment forth) produces a chunkier, coarser textured pesto. All the different flavor bits are more pronounced and recognized when you taste the pesto. This makes it a bit of a flavor exploration when you bite into it, which is fun. Additionally clean up is a breeze. The latter method, using a food processor, is decidedly easier, non-traditional and produces a pesto that is smoother and more unified. You get all of the same flavor but not in bits. It’s more, dare I say, homogenized. 

 

I think we should all try both methods. Mostly just to get a feel for what those before us went through to get a meal on the table. And it’s fun to taste the difference between compiling all of the same ingredients but employing different methods. If you have the time take the road less travelled. If not, don’t sweat it and make the damn pesto however you can.

 

For this Pesto Pine Nut Pizza, I wanted to go for a traditional pesto: pine nuts, basil, olive oil, parmesan, garlic, lemon and salt. You can swap out different nuts (walnuts are a common choice) or greens (I’ve seen kale and carrot top pesto), but keep the other ingredients the same. 

 

Before We Get Started

  • DOUGH. For those of you that are used to my regular beer-crust pizza this is a wee different. I’ve started using more moisture in my pizza dough and I am LOVING the result. It used to be one beer in there, now we’re using one beer + some water. This will make your dough a bit stickier and difficult to deal with. When you are mixing the dough, it’s going to stick to the sides. If you’re using an electric stand mixer with the dough hook, you just need to persevere and eventually it will stop sticking to the sides and should only be sticking to the bottom. If it’s humid where you live then it will stick more and you’ll need to add in some additional flour, 1 tablespoon at a time. The longer this dough rests, the better it gets. You can make it in the morning and then let it sit out until the evening and then shape it. Again, if it’s really hot and humid where you live, you might need a different tack. This dough can be mixed, wrapped tightly and stashed in the fridge for days and it will just get better in terms of flavor and texture. I prefer it on day two or three of fridge time. If it’s hot and humid, you might want to try this or if you want same day pizza, just shorten that first rise until the dough has doubled. Additionally, this is great for when you want to mix your dough up on Wednesday and have it ready for Friday night. One last dough note… I discussed how high humidity impacts your dough and conversely so does low humidity. During the extended rest phase if the air is dry the top of your dough can develop a scab (so to speak). This is not great. When you put the dough in the bowl, turn it over to coat all of it in the olive oil. This can help. Covering it with a damp hand towel can help as well. One last tip: simmer some water on the stove to put some moisture in the air. …who knew I had this much to say about humidity?
  • BEER. I like to use mild beer for my pizza. Corona is one of my favorites…Budweiser. Don’t waste your money on something fancy. It’s not worth it. If you don’t want to use alcohol, then just substitute water 1:1. 
  • PESTO. I noted above how to make the pesto with a M&P but stopped around the basil step. Once you get the leaves crushed, you mix in the oil and parm and it’s a piece of cake at this point. The instructions in the recipe will tell you how to use the food processor. If you don’t have a M&P nor a food processor, you can use a blender or you could even just finely chop everything and throw it all together. 
  • TOPPINGS. I like to keep it simple: some more pine nuts (toasted), small tomatoes left whole and sometimes I’ll add in some lemon rind (or whole Meyer lemons thinly sliced…heaven. But this is your pizza, so build it how you want it. I’ve given some topping ideas below in the ingredients section, let your conscience be your guide.

 

Let’s get our Pesto Pine Nut Pizza on, shall we?

 

Pesto Pine Nut Pizza

Pesto Pine Nut Pizza

Pesto Pine Nut Pizza

 

Pesto Pine Nut Pizza

Makes 3 Pizzas

INGREDIENTS

For the Dough

  • 12-ounce (355 ml) bottle of warm beer or water
  • 4-ounces (118 ml) warm water
  • 3 teaspoon dry yeast
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil, plus more for the bowl
  • 4 cups + 2 tablespoons (561 g) all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting your hands and workspace
  • 1 tablespoon sea salt

For the Pesto

  • 1/4 cup (32 g) Diamond of California Pine Nuts
  • 1/2 small garlic clove, smashed
  • 2 ½ cups (65g) fresh basil leaves, packed
  • 1/3 cup (75 ml) olive oil
  • Squeeze of 1/2 a fresh lemon and some zest (maybe 1 tablespoon)
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup (15 g) freshly grated Parmesan

 For the Toppings
Any combinations of the below ingredients would be fab!

  • Fresh mozzarella
  • Grape tomatoes
  • Lemon rind
  • Parmesano Reggiano
  • Fresh basil
  • Diamond of California Pine Nuts, toasted

INSTRUCTIONS

For the Dough

  1. In the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment add the beer, water, yeast, honey and olive oil. Let them mingle and get frothy for about 5 minutes.
  2. Once they are foaming up, add in the flour. Sprinkle in your salt. Knead for 15 minutes on medium until a ball has formed that isn’t sticking to the sides of the bowl but the dough will be slapping the sides. It also might be sticking to the bottom of the bowl. (You could also just use your hands to knead the dough together on a floured surface…this dough is loose and sticky, fyi.) Sprinkle the dough with flour to help when getting it out of the bowl.
  3. Pour a light glug of olive oil in a large bowl and swirl it all around. Place your dough in here, rotate the dough to cover the top in oil as well, then cover loosely with plastic wrap. Let the dough rise at room temperature for at least 2 hours, ideally 6-8 hours.*

*See note above about letting your dough rest longer in the fridge.

 For the Pesto

  1. Add the pine nuts, garlic clove, basil, olive oil, lemon juice + zest, salt and pepper to a food processor fitted with the blade* and pulse until everything is chopped and combined, but there’s still some texture. I don’t like my pesto to be completely smooth. Add in the Parmesan and pulse a few times more. Pour into a lidded container, cover with a layer of olive oil (this helps keep the color bright and fresh) and stash in the fridge until ready to use.

*See note above about another option for assembling your pesto.

To Assemble

  1. Place an upside down baking sheet in the center of your oven (or baking steel or pizza stone); preheat oven for at least an hour to 500 F. Separate the dough into three balls and let rest under a damp towel for 30 minutes.
  2. Tear off sheets of parchment paper about the size of the pizza you want to make. Lightly dust them with flour. Shape your pizza and place on the parchment paper. You can can gently stretch your pizza, toss it in the air or use a rolling pin lightly dusted in flour. You want it relatively thin, but not paper thin. Try not to work your dough too much.
  3. When ready to bake, smear some pesto over the top, add on your desired toppings (I like simple toasted pine nuts, pesto, fresh mozzarella and tomatoes) and transfer the pizza on the parchment paper to the baking sheet in the oven. Leaving the pizza on the parchment will make it easier to transfer to and from the oven. Bake for 10-15 minutes or until the top is bubbly and charred in spots. Let cool for several minutes before cutting (so the cheese has a minute to firm up).
  4. Thank you so much for making this Pesto Pine Nut Pizza! Be sure to tag @displacedhousewife #displacedhousewife so that we can see your gorgeous pizza! 

This Pesto Pine Nut Pizza was created in collaboration with Diamond of California. A big thank you to them + you for supporting the brands I work with! xo

On My Mind

Sending heaps of love to you!

R xoxo

 

 

7 Comments

  • Ven 2019/09/15 at 12:09 PM

    Best pizza dough EVER! Made this yesterday as well as today and it turned out great. I wasn’t too sure at the beginning because I had to add at least five heaped tablespoons of flour. Plus, my dough rose very quickly and almost escaped the bowl despite sitting in the fridge. But: It worked! And the fact that you can take out a portion of dough whenever you feel hungry makes it super convenient. Thanks for the recipe!!

    Reply
    • Rebecca Firth 2019/09/19 at 9:24 PM

      Hey Ven!!
      Thank you SO MUCH!!! I love hearing this!!! I am so happy you liked it!!
      R xox

      Reply
  • Kim 2019/07/16 at 3:01 AM

    Made tonight with store bought dough, 4 cups mozzarella cheese, 1 pint grape tomatoes. Very delicious. Thank you.

    Reply
  • Elizabeth 2019/05/19 at 1:30 AM

    I made this tonight and it was amazing! Thanks for the great recipe.

    Reply
    • Rebecca Firth 2019/05/19 at 9:17 PM

      I am SO HAPPY you loved this!! Thank you for making it!!! xoxo

      Reply
  • Morgan 2019/05/07 at 9:27 PM

    This is speaking to me in a BIG WAY!!! I can’t wait to make it!

    Reply

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