September 29, 2010

Mozzarella and Pesto Pizza from scratch...

Our herb garden is almost ready to go south for the winter. By south I mean almost ready to die or hibernate in the freezer. I decided to make pesto with some fresh basil from the garden. I had all of the ingredients except pine nuts, but when I saw them at the store I was shocked. Bulk Barn has them listed for $8.00/100 g and $45/pound! I thought pesto was a fairly common thing to make, but apparently I was greatly misinformed.

I brought my bag up to the cashier and she said, "that's going to be $8.00. Is that alright?" It was as if the cashiers had been trained to calm down the irritated pine nut clientele. I took my little bag of ridiculously expensive nuts home and thought to myself, "this pesto better be damn good."

pine nuts

I used this recipe here. Basically, put basil, olive oil, parmesan cheese, garlic and pine nuts in a blender/food processor and voila, pesto.


(blended basil = pesto)

The pesto tasted amazing with the fresh basil and much better than store bought. Then I made my pizza dough (yeast, flour, olive oil, rosemary) and let it sit to rise for 1 1/2 hours under a kitchen towel. 

(Shhh, it's sleeping)

After I let the dough nap for a little while, I rolled it out into a flat circle. I like my pizza European-style with a thin crust. 

Now, here's the tricky part. A good pizza is all about the layering. This isn't one of those times where you plop everything on without thinking. There has to be careful layers of sauce, veggies and cheese. Here's my process:

Layer 1: Spread the pesto over the dough. The pine nuts didn't quite blend, but I didn't really notice them when I was eating the pizza. 

Layer 2: Spread the pizza sauce over the pesto. It's alright if the two sauces blend together a bit. 
Layer 3: Grate some mozzarella cheese over the sauce. 
Layer 4: Add veggies, like zucchini, tomato, onion or anything you'd like. 

Layer 5: Grate more mozzarella cheese over the veggies. This is so the veggies will be in between the melted cheese and won't slide around on the sauce. 
Layer 6: Drizzle a little bit more sauce and pesto over the top. Season with salt, pepper and a little bit of parmesan cheese. 

I loved the colour of the pesto and veggies together and I was quite proud of my creation. Even after all of that, I managed to accidentally overcook the pizza. 

It looks awful, but it still tasted amazing. Fresh pesto is my new favourite thing and I have learned to accept pine nuts into my life. 


  1. It sounds amazing. I have come to love pesto, so now I will have to try homemade. Hopefully my hubby doesn't have heart failure at the checkout. Love your posts!!

  2. I often find that ugly food often tastes AMAZING. Like honeydews. The uglier they are on the outside, the sweeter they are on the inside. Or oatmeal. Not pretty, but delicious!

  3. @Grimmy I only used a little bit of pine nuts because I want to make the bag last. I had no idea they were such a gourmet item!

    @Sarah I love ugly food sometimes too, especially oatmeal. As long as it tastes good, it doesn't matter what it looks like sometimes, lol.


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