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    Mozzarella and Basil Pizza

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    Mozzarella and Basil Pizza

    The star of this delicious pizza is the Mozzarella, so getting hold of the best is vital. "Only use the genuine buffalo-milk variety, with its exceptional softness, peculiar elasticity and distinctive tang," says chef Anthony Morrison of new London pizza restaurant, Fire & Stone. Here is the rest of his tempting recipe.

    • Vegetarian
    • Preparation time: 1 hour, plus rising
    • Cooking time: 25 minutes
    • Total time: 1 hour 25 minutes, plus rising 60 minutes 25 minutes

    Serves: 4

    Ingredients

    • Dough
    • 500g '00' pasta flour
    • 1 tsp salt
    • 1 tsp fast-action yeast
    • 1 tsp sugar
    • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
    • Pesto
    • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
    • 100g pine nuts, toasted
    • Pinch of coarse salt
    • 2 x 25g bags basil, leaves only
    • 100g grated Parmesan
    • 100ml extra virgin olive oil
    • Topping
    • 400g can chopped Italian tomatoes
    • 1 tbsp tomato purée
    • 2 balls buffalo Mozzarella, sliced

    Method

    1. To make the dough, combine the flour, salt and yeast in a large bowl. In a jug, measure 275ml hand-hot water and stir in the sugar and oil. Pour the liquid into the dry ingredients and mix to form a soft dough. Turn on to a lightly floured surface and knead for about 10 minutes, until smooth and elastic. Place in a large, lightly oiled bowl. Cover with clingfilm and leave in a warm place for 1-1½ hours or until doubled in size.
    2. Meanwhile, make the pesto by blitzing all the ingredients together in a processor. (You could use ready-made pesto to save time).
    3. Put the chopped tomatoes into a wide pan with tomato purée and simmer gently for 15 minutes or until you have a thick paste. Season.
    4. Once the dough has risen, flour your fist, and punch down the dough to knock out all the gas. Turn on to a moderately floured surface and knead lightly. Roll the dough out into a circle, about 30cm in diameter. Using the rolling pin, lift the circle of dough carefully and transfer it to a baking sheet. Leave to stand again until doubled in size (about 40 minutes). Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 200°C, gas mark 6.
    5. Spread the pesto on to the dough base, leaving a rim of about 1cm around the edge. Spoon the tomato sauce on to the pesto and top with slices of Mozzarella. Bake in the preheated oven for 20 minutes or until the crust is crisp and golden. Use a palette knife to lift the pizza from the baking sheet to check the dough is crisp underneath. Serve in wedges.

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    Variation

    Slip Waitrose's new Buffalo Mozzarella & Basil Pesto Pizza (£4.79/375g) out of its sleeve and into a hot oven. Minutes later, when the cheese is bubbling and the crust has turned a golden brown, remove the pizza and drizzle the enclosed sachet of basil dressing all over it.

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