Pesto Pizza with Homemade Ricotta, Heirloom Tomatoes & Pecorino
Makes one 10-inch Pizza
6 ounces of Pizza Dough (recipe follows)
All-purpose flour, for dusting
Extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon Homemade Pesto (recipe follows)
3 tablespoons Homemade Ricotta (recipe follows)
½ cup fresh mozzarella, cut into small cubes
1 tablespoon grated pecorino cheese
Makes 1½ pounds of dough, enough for four 10-inch pizzas
1 package active dry yeast
1 teaspoon honey
2 ½ cups all-purpose flour, plus more for kneading
½ cup whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for the bowl
1Preheat the oven to 500 degrees. Put a pizza stone or a baking pan on the middle rack and preheat it along with the oven for at least 20 minutes.
2To prepare the pizza, dip dough into a little flour, shake off the excess, and put the dough on a clean, lightly floured surface. Stretch the dough with your hands, turning the ball as you press down the center. Continue spreading the dough into a 10-inch circle either with your hands or a rolling pin. Don’t worry if it is not perfect; it should look homemade and rustic. Leave the dough slightly thick so the toppings do not seep through.
3Dust a pizza paddle with flour and slide it under the pizza dough. (If you don’t have a paddle, use a rimless cookie sheet.) Lightly brush the outer edge of the dough with oil to create a sheen on the outside part of the crust. Take care not to get ANY oil on the pizza paddle, or else when you try to slide the dough off, it will stick.
4Place the pesto on the pizza and spread it around with the back of the spoon. Scoop the ricotta, evenly spaced, around the pizza and sprinkle the mozzarella evenly, leaving about a ¼-inch rim around the outside. Distribute the tomato evenly and sprinkle with the pecorino.
5Slide the pizza onto the hot baking stone and bake until the pizza crust is nicely browned, 10 to 12 minutes. Transfer the pizza to a cutting board. Cut into slices with a pizza cutter. Serve immediately.
1Combine the yeast, honey and ¼ cup of warm water in a small bowl; stir gently to dissolve. Let the mixture stand until the yeast comes alive and starts to foam, about 5 to 10 minutes.
2In a mixer fitted with a dough hook, combine the flours and the salt. With the mixer running on slow speed, add the oil, the yeast mixture, and ¼ cup of water and mix until the dough comes cleanly away from the sides of the bowl, 3 to 5 minutes. (Alternatively, the dough can be made in a food processor.)
3Turn out the dough onto a clean work surface and knead by hand for just 1 to 2 minutes. The dough should be a little sticky. Gather the dough into a ball and place in a lightly oiled bowl, turn it over to coat with the oil. Cover the bowl with a clean, damp towel and let it rise in a warm spot until doubled in size, about 30 minutes.
4Knead the dough gently on an unfloured surface and divide into 4 equal balls; they should be about 6 ounces each and the size of large tangerines. Roll the ball under the palm of your hand until the top of the dough is smooth and firm. Cover the dough with a damp towel and let it rest for 15 to 20 minutes. The balls can now be wrapped in plastic and refrigerated for up to 2 days, or wrapped and frozen for up to 2 weeks.