The first time I was introduced to a spicy pesto sauce was during my trip to Louisiana to experience Tabasco first hand. Chef Alon Shaya, of Domenica in New Orleans made Crispy Eggplant with whipped feta & a spicy jalapeño pesto.
I immediately knew I had to recreate that delicious pesto and what better way than to make a fresh pizza with pesto instead of pizza sauce.
For this recipe, however, I bought pizza dough from our local bakery. I decided about an hour before dinner that I wanted to make pizza and I didn’t have enough time to make the actual dough.
Fresh Campari & Mozzarella Pizza
w/ Spicy Basil Pesto
Whole Milk Mozzarella
6-7 Campari Tomatoes
For the pesto:
4 drops TABASCO® brand Green Jalapeño Pepper Sauce
2 cups packed fresh basil leaves
2 cloves garlic
1/4 cup pine nuts
2/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
First, let’s make the pesto:
Combine the basil, garlic, TABASCO® brand Green Jalapeño Pepper Sauce and pine nuts in a food processor and pulse until coarsely chopped. Add 1/2 cup of the oil and process until fully incorporated and smooth. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer to a bowl.
Next, it’s time to get the pizza going:
Note: For this recipe, I used a baking stone which I find to be really helpful. Because we will be putting the oven to 450f, make sure the stone has time to warm up before putting the pizza on it. By achieving this trick, it’s easier to put a piece of parchment paper down on a cutting board and make the pizza on that while the stone is heating up in the oven. To transfer it, you just transfer the parchment paper & pizza directly onto the stone by sliding it off the cutting board. Easy as pie. Pizza pie.
1. I sprinkle a little corn meal on the parchment paper, I like the crispiness it gives the pizza dough. Putting a little olive oil in my hands, I play with the pizza dough (I can’t spin it all fancy like) until it makes a perfect circle. It’s easy if you play with it, stretch it and if you tear it, just pinch the holes and keep going.
* Because we are heating up the stone, we won’t really need to heat up the dough. Once it hits the stone, it will start cooking immediately.
2. Pour the pesto onto the dough.
3. Cut the mozzarella into circles (if it’s not already) and place circles around the dough. Leave enough space to place the tomatoes on the pizza as well without doubling up on the layers.
4. Place the tomatoes onto the pizza and any other toppings you want to add such as olives, sun dried tomatoes, peppers, onions, pepperoni.
Cook your pizza until brown, this will take anywhere between 15-25 minutes. Just keep an eye on it and if you need to, move it from the stone and place it directly on the rack for the last few minutes. Enjoy!