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Fancy Green Pizza

[Note: Post written by my lovely wife, Morgan Mills. She also developed the recipe and baked it.]

There’s nothing particularly difficult or even time-consuming about this pizza, but I always feel fancy when I pull it out of the oven. If you’ve struggled with from-scratch pizza in the past, give this dough recipe a try. No special equipment or weird oven maneuvers required. I used three different flours for my dough, but the recipe is forgiving of substitutions and experimentation. The cornmeal makes a big difference in the taste and texture of the dough, so it’s worth keeping some stocked. For the pesto, use whatever nuts you have on hand – almonds and pecans also work well.

Pizza Dough
Ingredients
:

  • 2 ¼ teaspoons (or one packet) yeast
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup unbleached flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • ½ cup cornmeal
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes

Kale Pesto
Ingredients
:

  • 2 cups baby kale
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • ¼ cup pine nuts, toasted
  • ¼ cup walnuts, toasted
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 450°.
  2. Make the sponge for the pizza dough. Mix the yeast, sugar, and warm water* in a bowl and let sit for ten minutes until frothy.
  3. Make the pesto. Combine all of the ingredients in a food processor and pulse until smooth.
  4. Once the sponge is ready, make the dough. Add the remaining ingredients to the sponge. Fold in with a spatula or use your hands to mix until dough forms and the flour has all been incorporated. Depending on the mixture of flours used, the dough may be fairly wet. Let the dough rest for five minutes.
  5. Knead and roll out the dough. Knead in flour until dough is smooth and not sticky. Form dough into ball before rolling out into a circle. Transfer dough to oiled pizza pan.
  6. Spread pesto on pizza and add desired toppings. For this pizza I chose sautéed onion, cremini mushrooms, and broccoli with Pecorino cheese.
  7. Bake 1520 minutes. Crust edges and bottom should be lightly browned.

*If you’re new to yeast dough, it’s important to use water warm enough to activate the yeast, but not so hot that it kills the yeast. You’ll know your sponge has worked if there’s a soft dome of bubbly yeast in your bowl – like a slimy soufflé. If you kill your yeast, there will be discrete blobs of yeast and it won’t look fluffy.