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Homemade Pizza with Mozzarella, Cherry Tomatoes and Pesto

First Posted: 10/27/2011 4:55 pm Updated: 08/31/2012 10:48 am

Homemade Pizza with Mozzarella, Cherry Tomatoes and Pesto

Homemade Pizza with Mozzarella, Cherry Tomatoes and Pesto
Ray Kachatorian
Provided by:
total prep


  • 12 cherry tomatoes with stems
  • 1 T extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 1/2 bunches fresh basil leaves (about 1 1/2 cups lightly packed)
  • 1/3 c freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/3 c pine nuts toasted
  • 1/3 c extra-virgin olive oil
  • all-purpose flour (for dusting)
  • 2 balls 8-ounce pizza dough (store-bought)
  • 6 ounces buffalo mozzarella cheese
  • 4 T freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 c fresh basil leaves
  • 4 t extra-virgin olive oil
  • salt
  • black pepper freshly ground


  • Place a large baking stone on the bottom shelf in the oven and position the second shelf in the upper third of the oven then preheat the oven to 475°F.
  • Heating the baking stone well in advance will allow enough time for it to become very hot before baking the pizzas on it.
  • Baking on the very hot stone will create pizzas with crisp crusts.
  • Lay the tomatoes on a nonreactive baking sheet and drizzle lightly with 1 tablespoon of olive oil.
  • Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  • Set the baking sheet on the second shelf in the oven and roast the tomatoes in the oven until they are tender and begin to brown about 10 minutes.
  • Remove from the oven and set aside.
  • To Make the Pesto:
  • Using a Bump and Grind or another large mortar and pestle smash the garlic into a coarse puree.
  • Add 1 1/2 bunches of the basil and pound until it is coarsely chopped.
  • Add the pine nuts and smash to break them up.
  • Mix in 1/3 cup of the Parmesan cheese.
  • Slowly mix in 1/3 cup of the olive oil.
  • Season the pesto to taste with salt and pepper and set aside.
  • To Prepare the Pizzas:
  • Lightly dust the work surface with flour and press 1 ball of dough on the work surface into a circle.
  • Continue to press and pull the dough into a thin irregularly shaped disk that is about 10 inches in diameter being careful not to over work the gluten in the flour by over kneading it.
  • Lay a silicone baking mat on a pizza paddle then lay the pizza dough on the mat.
  • Spread 1/4 cup of the pesto sauce in a thin layer over the pizza dough leaving a 1/2-inch border around the edge.
  • Arrange half of the roasted tomatoes over the pizza.
  • Tear the mozzarella into long stringy pieces and scatter half of them over the pizza.
  • Sprinkle 2 tablespoons of the Parmesan cheese over the pizza.
  • Immediately slide the pizza (still on the baking mat) off of the paddle and onto the hot baking stone in the oven.
  • Bake the pizza for about 12 minutes or until the bottom is crisp and deep golden brown and the cheese has melted and become pale golden on top.
  • Using the pizza paddle remove the pizza (still on the baking mat) from the stone then slide the pizza off of the mat and onto a cutting board.
  • Scatter half of the basil leaves over the pizza. Drizzle with 2 teaspoons of olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  • Using a pizza wheel or large sharp knife cut the pizza into pieces and serve.
  • Repeat to make a second pizza.
  • After the second pizza has finished baking turn the oven off leaving the baking stone in the oven to cool slowly.
  • Visit


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