I love making pizza from scratch – it’s a great thing to do at the weekend when you’ve got loads of time to make the dough. It tastes and smells amazing, so if you haven’t ever made one, why not have a go this weekend? I usually make tomato sauce for the topping but spotted this recipe and just had to try it out. You could make it easier by buying pesto (and a pizza base if you like) but it really is worth the time and effort – I promise! 🙂
This recipe is taken from the July 2014 edition of BBC Good Food magazine, and I’ve used our tried-and-tested recipes for the pizza dough and pesto. The magazine says to use half a quantity of dough for 2 pizzas, so you could make some rolls with the rest of it or make thicker pizzas if you’d rather. It also says that you can cook this on a barbecue – but to be honest, living in Newcastle means that we don’t really get to have one very often…! So I’ve adapted this recipe to be cooked in an oven.
Ingredients (serves 4, makes 2 pizzas)
For the pizza dough
400g strong white bread flour
1 sachet quick yeast
1 tsp salt
2 tbsp olive oil
300ml hand hot water (150ml cold topped up with 150ml boiling water)
For the pesto
60g fresh basil leaves
50g pine nuts
1 garlic clove, peeled
130ml olive oil
Zest of an unwaxed lemon
Salt and pepper to taste
For the topping
1 small aubergine, thinly sliced lengthways
1 medium red onion, thickly sliced
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
75g/2 1/2oz firm goat’s cheese (I used Snofrisk goat’s cheese from Waitrose)
Chilli flakes (optional)
Basil leaves, to serve
1. To make the dough, mix all of the dry ingredients together in a bowl. Add the oil to the water before pouring over the dry ingredients. Mix together until a dough is formed and then knead for five minutes.
2. Leave the dough in the bowl. Wet a clean tea towel with cold water and wring out so that it isn’t dripping, before placing over the bowl. Leave to rise.
3. Whilst the dough is rising, prepare the pesto. Place the basil, pine nuts and garlic in a food processor. Add the olive oil and blitz until smooth, before mixing in the lemon zest. Place in the fridge (covered) until needed.
4. When the dough has at least doubled in size, ‘knock back’ and knead again for a few minutes. Roll it out to fit a large, greased baking tray (use a bit of olive oil to grease the tray). Heat the oven to 220°c/425°F/Gas mark 7 whilst preparing the topping.
5. Heat some olive oil in a pan and then cook the aubergines until browned on each side (you could do this on a griddle if you have one, but we don’t!). You’ll need to do this in batches, so placed the cooked ones on some kitchen paper to drain.
6. When the aubergines are cooked, add a little more oil to the pan and then cook the onion until softened. Spread some pesto onto the pizza base and then add the aubergine, onion and goat’s cheese (broken into chunks). Add some chilli flakes if you want a bit of a kick!
7. Bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes and then serve with the basil leaves sprinkled over.
The goat’s cheese that we used for the pizza worked so well with the other flavours – and apparently the goats are fed on mountain grass in the fjords, so they must be super happy goats! You might not need to use all of the pesto, but it keeps in the fridge for up to 5 days, so you could use the rest another time. If you’d rather have a tomato base on your pizza, try making your own low-fat tomato sauce!